50 Facts about George Kastrioti Skanderbeg life, the Albanian National Hero

In fact is in the limits of myths, happens very rarely that a small country like Albania have such a greate figure as George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. Not just for 25 years he turned the country into a safe barrier against the Ottoman armies, but he also became a barrier to the Ottomans to not  progress further in Europe. For this purpose, Europe recognizes Skanderbeg as an "Athlete of Christ", a king and a warrior, who, if he did not existet, the religion of continent would be changed. Yesterday was the day of death of our national hero, thus we are publishing 50 events and facts from the life of the hero, summarized events.


1. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg was born in Debar on May 6, 1405. Died in Lezha, January 17, 1468. He lived 62 years, 9 months and 12 days. Skanderbeg is the most prominent figure in the history of Albania and among the prominent figures of Europe.

2. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg holds the National Hero title since 1965, the highest title that an Albanian holds because of his values and image.

3. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg was the youngest son of John Castriota, Prince of Northern Albania. George was the last child among 4 boys and 5 girls.

4. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg married Donika Araniti from Vlora and had a boy, Gjon, whose name laid in honor of his father. In honor of his father, the son of Gjon took the name of George Castriota Skanderbeg.

5. The highest national values of his image is because for 25 years he held far Albania the Ottoman Empire army, breaking it in almost every battle. Numerous battles were won by Skanderbeg along with his army.

6. Skanderbeg values ​​are international, as he became captain of the barrier in preventing Ottoman to invade Europe and convert it in Islam religion.

7. Scanderbeg belonged to the Christian religion. He was convertet by force in Islam when made him a janissaries. He left Ottoman army and then came back again in Christian. Christianity was the largest religion in Europe at that time.

8. By foreign dignitaries and from foreign history, he has taken such epithets as "Athlete of Christ" and the "Mastermind of the First Euro-Atlantic Alliance" These epithets raises far above the figure of our national hero.

9. Is thought that George Kastrioti Skanderbeg was cobby, burly and very powerful. The sword which he used was difficult to be used by an ordinary man because of its heavy weight.

10. Nowadays George Kastrioti Skanderbeg's name is held by multiple sites in the most important capitals of the world, ranging from Tirana, Pristina, Zurich, Paris, Rome, Chicago, Skopje, etc.

11.Skanderbeg's busts and statues are located in London, Spain, Buones Aires, New York, Canada, Kosovo, Tirana. In all artwork, National Hero stands on horseback symbolizing the unbeaten warrior.

12. His helmet carryies a goat, a symbol borrowed from Pyrrhus of Epirus and Alexander the Great legends. It is in white metal with a belt (ruban) in gold wash.

13. There are two swords of Skanderbeg. One was donated to him by the Pope on Christmas Day in 1466 and is straight, 85.5 centimeters long and 5.7 wide, weighs 1.3 kg. The second is the Turkish model, 121 cm and weighs 3.2 kg.

14. Skanderbeg horse is another symbol that has accompanied the hero. According to Barletius, the horse was white, a choosen breed. After the death of Skanderbeg, the horse refused to be ridden by another man and died.

15. At a young age along with his three brothers, Skanderbeg was taken hostage by Sultan Murad II, as punishment for war declared to Sultan by John Kastrioti, Skanderbeg's father, and settled in Edirne, today Turkey.

16. Because of his bravery and ability in martial arts he showed during battles in Ottoman army during Asia Minor battles, Skanderbeg took by sultan the title of General. Skanderbeg studied martial arts in Istanbul, knew Ottoman language, Latin and Albanian, as well as he had a born oratory, his pen was good also. Balkans and Asia Minor were some of his military duties after school, being distinguished for his bravery.

17. Kastriotis family had a small principality in the mountains between Mat and Dibra, on the northern border, in Topiaj possessions. Constantine Kastrioti began ruled over this principality in 1383.

18. During his lifetime, George Kastrioti Skanderbeg had 30 battles, 29 of which were won and lost only one. Battles led by Skanderbeg were the strongest and most bloody.

19. Two are the uniforms used by Scanderbeg. The first war was uniform, with a helmet and a harness. While the other mentioned by Barleti is the Albanian traditional uniform with fez and jubleta.

20. Skanderbeg body was exhumed by Ottomans after the fall of Kruja in 1480, 12 years after his death. His tomb, which is in the Church of St. Nick in Lezha, were violated and his bones were taken as a talisman by Ottoman soldiers.

21. Skanderbeg stated that, "I am a descendant of Pyrrhus of Epirus", Marin Barleti in his work says.

22. Pope Pius II asked twice to come to Albania with the goal of crowning Skanderbeg as a King. In the archives of the Vatican are documents that reveal that Scanderbeg were to be crowned by Pope as King of Epirus.

23. The name of Skanderbeg is held by at least 10 buildings and institutions. Three streets in Tirana, Durres and Kruja; a museum in Kruja, a village,, an alcoholic drink - cognac - , the football team of Korca, the military university, is a high title, "George Kastrioti Skanderbeg Order" and a square in the capital.

24. Skanderbeg's name was proposed by Sami Frashëri to be set to nation's capital. In 1889 in his book "Albania: what was, what will be," Frashëri thinks this way.

25. Skanderbeg's first biographer was Barleti Marin, in 1504, with the work "History of life and deeds of Skanderbeg", published in Latin. While in Albanian by Fan Noli, Sabri Godo and Frashëri Christo.

26. Kastriotis family had a small principality in the mountains between Mat and Dibra, on the northern border, in Topiaj possessions.

27. About 60 square kilometers and a castle was gifted to Skanderbeg by the King of Naples, Alfonso, in a sign of gratitude for the help Skanderbeg gave to him. This place today is owned by the descendants of Skanderbeg.

28. Lek Zaharia, Moses Golem, Hamza Kastrioti, Muzaka John, Paul Angel, George Araniti, Andrea Topia, Vrana Earl, were the closest collaborators of Skanderbeg. Although both of them betrayed him.

29. The most important of his speeches is the one when he arrived in Kruja town. The words "I haven't gave you the freedom, but I found it among you," has literary value and thought even today.

30. For George Kastrioti Skanderbeg Longfelloë writer wrote the poem, opera by François Rebel and François Francoeur and another written by Antanio Vivaldi, the great painter, Rembrandt, made ​​his portrait.

31. To figure of Skanderbeg and his character are written about 600 books all over the world, among them novels, historical books and stories, even legends.

32. Three are the greatest treasons agains Skanderbeg: His nephew, Hamza Kastrioti, prince Moisi Golemi and the betrayal at the Berat Battle, this battle is the only one he lose. Ballaban Pasha was the Turkish General that met most Skanderbeg in battlefields. Ballaban was Albanian and the only one who knew the art war of Skanderbeg. He killed 8 of Skanderbeg's top commanders.

33. The city of Kruja, wich was the center of Skanderbeg, was besieged thrice by Ottoman forces. Sultans besieged it twice and once the top Turkish general, Evrenos Pasha. But under the protection of Skanderbeg the city never fell.

34. Both sultans came in Albania itself to punish Skanderbeg. Murad II, who reportedly died from grief of losing in his way back, and his son, Mehmet, who left in the middle the siege of Kruja.

35. At three Kruja sieges Skanderbeg had to face an army many times larger in number. 100 thousand troops by Sultan Murad and the same number by Sultan Mehmet and his generals.

36.  The title Skanderbeg "Iskander Bey" or "Alexander the Great", was given by Sultan Murad II, after the victories of battles in Asia. Also was given the title "Sanxhakbej" over the Albania area in 1437-1438.

37. Around five thousand is thought to be the largest number of soldiers lost in the battles headet by Skanderbeg. Turkish historians say that the battle of Berat was the biggest failure of Skanderbeg.

38. Once Skanderbeg  had temporary peace with Sultan Mehmet after the Turkish military defeats. Historians have different opinions, but Barleti says that the Ottomans needed little time to deal with Skanderbeg because of the wars in Bosnia and Asia.

39. In 1443 Skanderbeg abandoned the Ottoman army. Sent out by Sultan to defeat the Hungarians led by Janos Hunyadi, Skanderbeg with his loyal soldiers leave the battle and managed to Albania.

40. On November 28, 1443 was proclaimed the recovery of principality of Kastriotis. This happened after Skanderbeg with a series of measures captured Kruja and raised the red and black flag.

41. Cavalry fight was one of Skanderbeg's talents. Cavalry equipped with light weapons was one of the most used, causing many casualties to the ranks of the enemy, making them to retreat quickly.

42. After 25 years of war, in January 1468 ,Skanderbeg called another assembly with Albanian Princes. Barleti says the those days Skanderbeg were seriously ill and was never recovered.  

43. After the Skanderbeg death there was several hypotheses. In his, Barletius say he died at the age of 62, without any natural cause.

44. League of Lezha is the first Albanian union to Ottoman occupation. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg was the organizer of this historical connection from where it started resistance of Arber.

45. John, the only son of Skanderbeg, went in Naples after his father's death, where he received the titles "Duke" and "Count". He married Irene Brankovic Paleologos, the last descendent of the Byzantine imperial family and had many children with her. They moved to Lecce, in 1700.

46. George Kastrioti Skanderbeg grandfather, John, started ruling Kruja in 1439, but is said that Venice declared him enemy and beheaded in Durres, in 1402. After him came his son, Gjon, father of Skanderbeg, who took Kruja again and gradually spread its rule over Tirana, Mat, Debar and Mirdita, from Prizren to the east, to the Adriatic Sea to the west.

47. From 1407 until 1430, John regularly fought with the Ottomans, was defeated three times and was forced to accept poor conditions of peace. After losing in 1421, he had limited control in his principality.

48. After the 1443 Assembly, Skanderbeg, on March 2 1444, held the following  Assembly  at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Lezha. This was the first National Assembly of Albanian nobles and princes of the XVth.

49. The earliest portrait of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg dates back to 1466. Gentile Bellini, in 1466 when the Hero city visited Laguno city in Italy, painted it ordered by Venetian authorities, according to the author Friedrich Kenner. Is thought that the portrait was left-side.

50. Another fact of his life is the encyclical papal initiative to wordly honor Skanderbeg. On his initiative the Pope of Rome thought to give this high title to our National Hero, that was one of the biggest ratings in that time.
50 Facts about George Kastrioti Skanderbeg life, the Albanian National Hero  50 Facts about George Kastrioti Skanderbeg life, the Albanian National Hero Thursday, July 17, 2014 Rating: 5
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