#206 ALBANIAN CASTLES
The castles of Albania are little known and seldom photographed. If you can make it to their lofty perches, chances are you’ll have the them all to yourself. Location is everything, and these battlements command lofty ridges where snow and lightning are frequent companions. Also, some of these castles are very old – many having been built between 400-800 AD. Colorful modern cities often cover the plains below the castles, adding an amazing contrast.
Lezhe Castle, with a history dating back six millennia, is a series of walls and arches on ridges high above the Drin River. Surrounded by high mountains the place is a moody conjunction of history and mystery. The castle is open most of the time and easy to find. Gjirokaster Castle is in much better shape, built on a prow-like ridge far above the surrounding mountains and the modern city of the same name. Records date the Castle back to 500 AD. This castle, like Lezhe, is surrounded by mountains on the west and east, with both ranges available at the appropriate times for clouds and spotlighting. The original purpose of the castle as a place of safety, places it in a position for great photography. Both of these castles have opening and closing times that might fit with the good light (especially in winter), and I had no trouble entering the sites with tripods.
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