Carnavals of Shkodra

Shkodra is a pleasant town a couple of hours from Tirana, well known for its bicycles.

Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival. But, few people know that these masks originate from the northern town of Albania, Shkodër. Today, people come from all over the world to attend private and public masked balls in Shkodra. The music and dancing go on day and night, and there are theatrical performances. The local entrepreneurs that export masks to Venice have made it possible for the people in Shkodra to experience in their door step The Venetian Carnival.

Shkodra is a pleasant town a couple of hours from Tirana, well known for its bicycles.

The genesis for the carnival celebration came from the historical connection between Shkodra and Venice, Italy. The other important influence revitalizing the festival has been the support of a local businessman who founded a factory that manufactures hand-made, Venetian-style masks for export to Italy and points beyond. The masks are absolutely beautiful.

The opening ceremony, which occurred on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies, included speeches by local and visiting politicians, a live band playing covers of North American songs that were popular a few years ago, and some fireworks. The vibe was upbeat and wholesome, kind of like a high school pep rally, but with masks.

The older youths' costumes were quite elaborate. They all seemed so proud to have been chosen to play an important role that they were not bothered by the cold.