Upon entering Shkodra, the city reveals itself at once, with its imposing Rozafa Castle, heavy with history and its heartbreaking legend, sitting atop the high hill behind it and the turquoise-colored Buna River below. The center of the town forks into two separate boulevards where the traditional old houses from the 1800s beautifully intermingle with the new ones. On the right, the traditional houses line up along the street to create a museum in the open air, one including the oldest neighborhood in town. These Venetian-style, two-story houses create a distinctive atmosphere within this famed northern city, one that is equal parts Albanian and universal.
Just a few meters short of 1 km, the town promenade extends to about 800 m, entirely paved with decorated cobble stones. Newly renovated, this promenade recalls the architecture of olden times, when it took a certain amount of time and patience to build things of lasting beauty. In turn, this promenade reflects this time, beauty and quietude on the ones who tread on it.
The Promenade has become one of the most alluring touristic attractions in the country in a very short time. Much like in the promenades of many European old towns, here, too, the old and the new seamlessly unite. Locals and tourists walk along the promenade to the rhythms of the music, their constant companion. Actually, this particular street has always been one of the most populated, since its construction during the 20th century. Perhaps it owes its peculiar beauty to Kolë Idromeno, its creator as well as the most renowned painter from Shkodra. This talented artist painted the town Venetian while leaving many of the traditional local elements in place. As a student in Venice during the 20th century, he became fascinated with the glowing, alluring atmosphere of Venice and decided to bring some of that magic to his hometown. Today, the pleasant low rise buildings, pretty gardens, decorated windowsills, narrow cobble-stone alleys, and the glow of the evening lamps, all combined cause quite the intense sensory experience and leave a satisfying aftertaste.
The promenade connects the city center with the Museum of History. This road is filled to the brim with street artists as well as art and photography shops and studios. Among them, you will see the impressive, newly redesigned Marubi National Museum of Photography, a beautiful object of modern architecture which contains the oldest, most exhaustive collection of Albanian photography in the country, including the first-ever photograph of Albania, taken in 1858 by Pjetër Marubi. In addition to the history of the famed photographers, the Marubi family, the museum hosts stunning contemporary exhibitions.
Ultimately, this Promenade is an artistic journey through space and time. Albania, Venice, new and modern art and architecture, music and people. Walking in this street, you are at once everywhere and precisely here, in the Promenade of Shkodra.