A city with a future guaranteed
The city of Lezha, the legal center of the district by the same name, lies in north-western Albania near the Adriatic Sea. Records show that that Lezha has been inhabited without interruption since at least since the 8th century B.C. by an Illyro-Albanian population. However, it has been said that the city was founded on 385 B.C. by Dionis of Syracuse. The name "Lisso" or "Lissus" is an adaptation of the old Illyrian name for the town, "Lisi." Even before it was a Greek colony under Dionis, there is evidence of Lezhe being settled by the Illyrians What is undisputed is that throughout history, Lezha has played a distinct role in the broader Illyro-Albanian history.
The geographical position of the city and its surroundings dictated its importance as a commercial and political center of the region. Through the nearby port of Shengjin, (Saint John of Medua), the merchants and inhabitants of Lezha had a lively interaction with the world, in different economic and cultural fields, thus building a highly developed society. The city as a hub close to the sea meant that it was, over time, the scene of several events of great national importance such as "Lidhja e Lezhes" (the League of Lezha) in 1444 and "Kuvendi i Arberit" (The Arber Council) in 1703. Because Lezhe was at a crossroads between Shengjin and the rest of the Balkans on the road to Kosove, Kukes and Zadrima, it thrived economically.
After a Roman occupation Lissus was named as "Municip", having the same military and economical importance as a naval base on the Adriatic. The name of the city was recorded by different Greek and Latin historians who lived before Christ. It was also named in the Venetian chronicles when the city was under domain of the Republic of San Marco. But, the city did not gain it prominent status in history until the 15th century A.D., when Skanderbeg brought together the Albanian princes in Lezhe to create an alliance against the Ottomans. During this glorious period Lezha was the diplomatic capital of Albania. In the year 1468, Gjergj Kastrioti "“ Skanderbeg - died and was buried here. The memorial at his burial place is now a center of pilgrimage visited every year by thousands of tourists from all around the world. Today Lezha has a population of thirty five thousand that is continually growing from the influx of immigrants from the inner mountainous areas of northern Albania. Because of its historical and cultural importance, there is great potential for tourism in Lezha. Of special interest is the Medieval Castle, imposing on the hill above town. Current archaeological excavations around the castle and inside the Illyrian walls expose new value to these monuments each year. The Franciscan Convent, founded by Saint Francis from Assisi himself in 1220 represents another point of interest in town that is both cultural and educational. The river Drini flows through town and empties into the sea, a mere 3 kilometers downstream.
Once, at the city center near the current Skanderbeg Memorial, there was a river port that served as a transit point for goods from locations abroad. Lezha"s Mediterranean climate, with its above average number of sunny days, makes the region known for its agricultural products, especially vegetables. Certain products such as Kallmet wine, Lezha raki and the Zadrima turkey are all well known both nationally and abroad. There is potential for the agro-industry and agro-tourism of the area to expand throughout the area, specifically in the fields of Zadrima and Bregu i Matit. Near town is the attractive coastal national park of Kuna and Vain, which has a surface area of 1800 ha. The park is well known in the Mediterranean for its rich flora and fauna. It is a good place to take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, watch for one of the many species of birds or engage in hunting or fishing. Currently Lezha is a city undergoing continuous change. Today in the city of Lezha there are more than 600 hundred private building activities. It easy to see with a glance that it is a city growing quickly. However, Lezha also maintains its status as a place with a strong social ethic and community feeling. Foreigners living and working in Lezha feel comfortable and are very well accommodated.
Today the city remains a transportation node as it connects major national highways, railways and the port of Shengjin. Lezha has good connections with Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosova. Currently national highways under construction will add to the accessibility of the region. In addition to buildings and roads, the educational, cultural and sport sectors are also under development. There are six functioning kindergartens, three public and three private, in addition to three public elementary schools and two public secondary schools (one functions as a professional school). Construction of a new secondary school is underway and a private American academic center just opened in town. In order to better understand the multidimensional growing of this city we invite you to come and see for yourself. Welcome to our city "welcome to Lezha"!