3E Cultural Routes

The Castle of Ishmi

The Castle of Ishmi is built on a hill to the east of the village of Ishem, 15 km west of Kruja and 26 km north of Durrës. It controls the passage along the river, which was navigable in the Middle Ages. The castle is located 5 km from the mouth of the Ishmi in the sea, where in the Middle Ages there was a small pier where local ships stayed and foreign ships docked.

The castle was erected in a populated area, where rebellions were frequent. In addition to controlling the province, its purpose was to stop Venetian smuggling, which, according to the documents, had reached alarming proportions. Its construction was carried out under the supervision of Mehmet Bey, a native of this province. After the construction works that started in the summer of 1572 and ended in 1574, the
castle was equipped with cannons, and a garrison of 410 soldiers was placed in it. The castle has the shape
of a slightly arched rectangle with dimensions of 140×45 m, a perimeter of 320m, and a surface area of 0.55 hectares. Its walls are 7 m high and 1,2-1,5m wide, which shows that it was not calculated to be protected by artillery. The walls are reinforced by 5 towers located 50-70m apart. The towers are quadrangular, with the exception of the southeast tower with a circular plan.

*This monument is part of the sites restored by the EU4Culture program, financed by the European Union and implemented by UNOPS in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.

Photo credits: Aurel Doda