If you want an overview of the history of Albania, this is the place to come as it covers the whole history of Albania from the earliest settlement by the Illyrians to post Communist times and Mother Theresa. For more information and exhibits of Illyrian and Roman times, the archaeological museums in “Durres”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/place/174508-review-durres or “Apollonia”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/day_five/five_five/index.html are better. To find out more about Skanderbeg there is the “Skanderbeg Museum”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/albania/day_eight/eight_one/index.html in Kruje which is very much a shrine to the C14th National Hero who led the resistance to the ottoman Empire.
The museum is a large building on three floors with different display areas for the different periods of history. Artefacts carefully displayed and information in both Albanian and English. It helps to have a basic understanding of the history before visiting as there is so much information to absorb. To do it justice needs several hours and there are few seats provided for tired legs. The ground floor covers Illyrian and Roman history with examples of pottery, glass, jewellery, weapons and a mosaic.
Upstairs covers the middle ages with covering feudal disputes and Skanderbeg’s resistance to the Ottomans. There are examples of household goods and costumes. There is a beautiful gold embroidered tomb cover, two silver reliquaries and a separate gallery of icons.
There is a copy of the Act of Independence signed in “Vlore”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/place/174510-review-vlore in 1912 ( the original was burnt) and a large display with a lot of written information about Independence, the interwar years and King Zog’s departure at the start of the Second World War. The section on the Second World War also covers the Partisan antifascist movement and the involvement of the British SOE. There is a gallery covering the rise of Enver Hoxha, the Communist period and the persecutions. This has a lot of information about people killed during the regime as well as their blood stained clothes and personal belongings.
The small shop sells a lot of books, post cards, replica Roman oil lamps and Albania costumes.
We had a guided tour which very much hit the high spots. By the end my brain was rather whirling as there was so much to see. This is probably the kind of place you need to visit several times and just concentrate on one section of history each visit.