Ethnographic Museum of Krujë – Krujë, Albania - Atlas Obscura

Ethnographic Museum of Krujë

Explore a traditional Albanian dwelling that pays tribute to the region's rich history. 


Located on the grounds of Krujë Castle, this original house was constructed in 1764 by Ismail Pashë Toptani as his family home. Built on the mountainside with fantastic views from the windows, the house reflects the architectural style of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Albania for most of the period between the late 14th and early 20th centuries.  

The ground floor contained a stable for animals and a workshop where tools were sharpened, olive oil was made, and flour was ground. Traditional wool hats crafted by hand, as well as pottery were all created on the ground floor. It was safer during the period to have everything under one roof rather than a separate barn for animals and supplies. 

The main family rooms are upstairs, and usually, a ladder was the main way to get inside. It could be pulled up quickly for safety in case of attackers, thieves, or maybe an Ottoman invasion. Upstairs are rooms dedicated to women and men featuring clothing, elaborate frescoes, and weapons. In total, the house plays host to 15 rooms, all of which highlight life in the town of Kruja and its history. 

There was also a sauna-like bath in the house that could be enjoyed by residents and guests.

Know Before You Go

There's an option to grab a paper English translation that will tell you the important facts about the rooms you explore to be returned at the end of your visit. 

If you just take a bus to Krujë you will find the museum. The tiny town only has one main street that leads you right to the castle and the museum is inside the castle complex.

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