About Elbasan

City of Elbasan


Elbasan is one of the largest cities in Albania and geographically located in its center. Elbasan, lies on the right side of the “Shkumbin” river spill. Being located at the intersection of the North – South and East – West roads, it has served as an important turning point and as an important station, referred to as urban, military and episcopal centers.

The city is quite connected to the Egnatia road. During ancient history, the city of Elbasan changed its name often. In the second century the city was named “SKAMPA”, later with the name is called “SKAMPINI”.  Scampisi was a typical Roman castle built in the 3rd century BC.

Changing the name from Skampin to Elbasan seems to have happened with the Turkish invasion. In 1466 Sultan Mehmeti II rebuilds the fortress, which collapsed by the Romans, the Emperor Justinian, and later by the tribes Bulgarians.

The rapid development took the city of Elbasan in the 17th century as an important strategic, administrative, military and economic center of the Middle East,

“The Codex of Tablet Esnafs”, May 15, 1658, is considered among the oldest in the Balkans.

Elbasan is recognized as a powerful educational and cultural center. Post byzantine Art, is represented by the master and the great painter of Onufri of Neokastra (Elbasan), who created the culminating art where with great strength lies the splendid fusion of genius with the local tradition.


Elbasan Castle Gate 

As his work, inherited to the present day, are the frescoes and icons of Shelcan and Valsh churches of the mid-nineteenth century. XVI. Continuing Onufri’s work, he mentions Kostandin Shpataraku.

In the movement of the Albanian National Renaissance, Elbasan has an important place.

Its citizen Kostandin Kristoforidhi is author of the Albanian alphabet, which is considered the father of the Albanian language.


Old church wall carving

Some of the cultural heritage references of this city include a number of cult buildings such as churches, monasteries, mosques, and hamams (public baths); Skampis Castle (Diocletian period, 284-305). Via “Egnatia” (146-120 bc), Royal Mosque (1492), the Castle of Saint Mary Church inside the castle and was rebuilt in 1833, women’s Hamam dating back to the late 16th century, clock Tower (XVII) and was erected in 1899, etc.

Today, Elbasan is one of the cities with representatives of economic, social, cultural and national development. “Aleksander Xhuvani” University is an important university in Albania, and very frequented.

Every 14th of March, is celebrated the “summer day” a pagan celebration that has been celebrated since ancient times in the city of Elbasan. This popular celebration dominated by flowers, but also by its “ballakumet”, characteristic cake. It brings together people from all over Albania, enjoying the renewal of the universe, the magnificence of nature, the continuity of life, and while today they are celebrated throughout Albania.


City of Elbasan by Night

The city of Elbasan welcomes every autumn, hundreds artists from Albania and world. Every year in the autumn, there take place the International Contemporary Theater Festival, under the framework “Skampa”.  It was born on the eve of the exchange of centuries and constitutes the largest theater manifestation in the country. Albanian and world theater artists meet together to share the experiences and ideas, to present main trends in Albania and international scenic practice and to create a space for intercultural dialogue.

The Festival has achieved continuity: now, it is well known beyond of Albania, and it has become an institution with a very well defined personality and culture.