KRUJA is one of the towns with the richest history in Albania. It is easily accessible from the capital since it is located only 32 km away. The name and significance of Kruja is related to the deeds and activity of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg), who led the fight against the invading Ottomans in the 15thcentury.
Kruja was Skanderbeg’s capital and its castle turned into an invincible stronghold of resistance against the Ottoman threat, repelling Turkish attacks for the better part of 25 years thus becoming famous in Europe.
The name of Kruja derives from the Albanian word krua, meaning 'water spring/fountain'. In Byzantine times it is mentioned as an Episcopal centre. The first Albanian feudal state was created there circa 1190.
Later it fell under the rule of the Topia feudal family. The first Ottoman occupation occurred in 1396 but then they withdrew for 20 years. In 1430 it became the centre of the uprising led by Gjon Kastrioti, Skanderbeg's father. However, Kruja reached its zenith on the 28th of November 1443 when the Kruja castle was taken by Gjergj Kastrioti, who then organized the long anti-Ottoman resistance.
From this time on, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, Kruja repelled three Ottoman sieges in 1450, 1457 and 1466. Only ten years after the death of Skanderbeg, in 1478, were the Ottomans able to capture the castle and destroy the town. They called Kruja Akçahisar (The White Fortress). The part of the population that survived converted to the Muslim faith. Today the town lies on the side of the Kruja Mountain, about 600 metres above the sea level, commanding a panoramic view. From the Kruja town one can clearly see the Adriatic Sea.