Skanderbeg – Albanian national hero

It is necessary to plunge into XV century in order to understand the history of George Castriotti. That epoch is inextricably linked with the name of the Skanderbeg, one famous Albanian hero. He was skillfully supervising over the state, actively taking part in the struggle against the Ottoman conquerors, who kept in fear the entire territory of the south-eastern part of Europe.
Skanderbeg – Albanian national hero photo 2

This talented commander was born May 6, 1405 and descended from the powerful ancient family Castrioti. As a child, he was given as a hostage to the Ottoman Sultan, so he brought up in the spirit of strict Muslim traditions. He showed extraordinary courage in military campaigns against Serbia and because of that he was named “Iskander-bey” after Alexander the Great (in the Albanian transcription – Scanderbeg).

After the death of the father, the Castrioti family lost all its estates, which caused Skanderbeg to leave the Ottoman army in order to restore his possessions, capturing the fortress Kruja. After renouncing Islam and adopting the Christian faith, Skanderbeg led an uprising against the Ottomans. Successful battles and a military-political alliance with Venice allowed him to launch a full-scale war against the Ottoman Empire.

The subsequent battles took place with the support of the Hungarian King Vladislav and Transylvanian Governor Janos Hunyadi, what allowed Skanderbeg to advance its offensive through the territory of Macedonia to the Thracian lands. Despite significant losses the Albanian commander refused a possible peaceful settlement of the conflict, thereby continuing the offensive against the Ottomans. Under his leadership Albanian troops managed to seize a large number of Ottoman fortresses, liberating their own country. For a long 24 years, the Albanian people stubbornly reflected all Ottoman attacks.

In addition to military talents, Skanderbeg was a great politician he could cleverly overcome political conflicts caused by separatism of the Albanian landowners, by strict policies of the Venetian rulers and the Holy See. George Castriotti served the people and did not spare his own life.

All his thoughts and feelings he subordinated to the only goal – to fight the Ottoman Empire, showing generosity and cunning, flexibility and firmness.

Nowadays in Albania the Order of Skanderbeg is established, the main square of Tirana (the capital of Albania) bears his name, a monument in his honour is erected.

Skanderbeg is a protagonist of numerous folk tales and legends of the best Albanian writers. The image that they used expresses the spirit of the Albanian people, its enduring and indestructible character, tempered by centuries of national liberation struggle.

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