The third siege of Krujë by the Ottoman Empire took place in the summer of 1467 in Krujë in Albania.

Third siege of Krujë
Part of Albanian–Ottoman Wars (1432–1479)
DateSummer 1467
Krujë, Albania
Result Albanian-Venetian victory
Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
1,000 soldiers garrisoned[1] Unknown

The destruction of Ballaban Pasha's army and the siege of Elbasan during the previous siege of Krujë forced Mehmed II to attack Skanderbeg again in the summer of 1467, only 2 months after the latter's victory in the previous siege.

Mehmed sent troops to raid the Venetian possessions (especially Shkodër and Durrës, which was also besieged and bombarded for a short time) and keep them isolated. He then besieged Krujë for a few days, but upon realizing that a direct assault wasn't practical, he decided to retreat.


Mehmed II probably intended to send a fleet against the Venetians in 1467, targeting regions such as the Morea or Euboea. Consequently, he initiated the construction of new ships to support this endeavour.[2] However, Skanderbeg's successful liberation of Krujë in the second siege, together with the demise of Ballaban Pasha and heavy losses for the Ottomans, marked a notable shift. Mehmed II was forced to abandon his plans for a naval expedition and attack Skanderbeg again.[3][4]

Subsequent news of Mehmed's renewed march towards Albania caused concern to Venice, particularly with the inference that he intended to capture Durrës. The city was of strategic importance to the Ottomans as a base for operations against the Italian coast.[3]


During the spring of 1467, Mehmed II embarked on a military campaign into Albania, choosing Berat as the point of entry, located south of the territories under the control of Skanderbeg.[4] This time, Skanderbeg didn't immediately retreat to the mountains, but decided to confront the Ottoman army to give the civilian population time to retreat into the mountains.[5]

In the historical account, Tursun Beg chronicles the initial engagement in the Buzurshek valley near Elbasan, characterized by its rugged terrain flanked by towering mountains. Upon encountering resistance from Albanian forces entrenched in the elevated positions, Anatolian troops advanced from one end of the ravine while Rumelian forces approached from the other. Under cover of night, the Anatolians launched a surprise assault, resulting in the deaths of adult males and the enslavement of women, girls, and boys.[4] Skanderbeg then retreated as the Ottoman Grand Vizier Mahmud Pasha pursued him, but Skanderbeg managed to escape to the mountains. Mahmud Pasha spent fifteen days in the mountains searching every part, but Skanderbeg had managed to escape to the coast.[6]

Buna river near Shkodër

Subsequently, the Ottomans proceeded northward along the Mat river, securing strategic strongholds nestled in the mountainous terrain. As described by Michael Critobulus, they systematically traversed the region, asserting control over mountains, ravines, gullies, valleys, defiles, and other natural features, indiscriminately subjugating the populace and laying waste to the land for a period of two weeks.[4] From their position along the Mat river, the Sultan dispatched Mahmud Pasha to besiege the Venetian stronghold of Shkodër in northern Albania. After pillaging the surrounding area, Mahmud Pasha and his forces traversed the impassable Buna river, launching raids further northward.[4][7][8] Meanwhile, Mehmed himself ravaged the rest of the country with another part of the army.[7]

On July 8, Skanderbeg penned a letter to the Venetian council from Shkodër, urgently requesting assistance. In response, he was assured that the Venetian authorities had been directed to extend all feasible aid to him. Additionally, a contingent of 1,000 infantry and 300 cavalry was swiftly mobilized and dispatched to the areas under threat.[9]

By this time, reports had surfaced that Mehmed and his vast army had encamped near the Erzen River, five miles north of Durrës. The city, though well supplied, had been abandoned by its inhabitants. Large numbers of refugees arrived in Brindisi to escape Ottoman retaliation. This influx raised concerns about possible disease outbreaks in Apulia.[10] Durrës was nearly deserted, as residents of neighboring villages sought refuge in the mountains. Ottoman troops feigned retreat only to ambush returning peasants and shepherds, subjecting them to slaughter or enslavement. Bronze church bells were removed to prevent their use in making Ottoman cannons. Disturbing reports reached the West detailing the mass exodus into the mountains and the brutal fate awaiting those captured by the enemy.[1][9]

The Sultan had deployed a force of 12,000 horsemen to the harbor vicinity. However, according to the reports received by the Signoria, it appears that the attempted assault on Durrës and its surrounding areas was unsuccessful. The Ottoman cavalry encountered staunch resistance from the troops entrenched within the city walls, preventing its capture. Consequently, the horsemen redirected their efforts towards Krujë.[9]

However, it appears that the Ottomans withdrew eastward without successfully capturing Krujë.[11] Realizing they couldn't take it by force, Mehmed chose to return and left some of his troops to keep up the blockade and siege.[7]


Mehmed II's second campaign against Albania ended in mid-to-late summer without achieving its goals,[12] as the Sultan's involvement was hesitant and sporadic. Krujë, though no longer under Skanderbeg's control, remained impregnable. Skanderbeg entrusted its defense to a Venetian garrison as he sought refuge in Lezhë.[4]

As the campaign ended unsuccessfully, the Albanians breathed a collective sigh of relief, and those who had fled or been displaced gradually returned to their homes.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Schmitt 2009, p. 286
  2. ^ Stavrides 2001, p. 163
  3. ^ a b Babinger 1978, p. 259
  4. ^ a b c d e f Imber 1990, p. 197
  5. ^ Schmitt 2009, p. 285
  6. ^ Stavrides 2001, pp. 163–164
  7. ^ a b c Stavrides 2001, p. 164
  8. ^ Schmitt 2009, p. 287
  9. ^ a b c Babinger 1978, p. 260
  10. ^ Babinger 1978, pp. 259–260
  11. ^ a b Babinger 1978, p. 261
  12. ^ Barleti 2012, p. 247


  • Schmitt, Oliver Jens (2009). Skanderbeg: der neue Alexander auf dem Balkan (in German). Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet. ISBN 978-3-7917-2229-0.
  • Stavrides, Theoharis (2001). The Sultan of Vezirs: The Life and Times of the Ottoman Grand Vezir Mahmud Pasha Angelović (1453-1474). Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-12106-5.
  • Babinger, Franz (1978). Hickman, William C. (ed.). Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time. Translated by Manheim, Ralf. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01078-6.
  • Imber, Colin (1990). The Ottoman Empire. Istanbul: The Isis Press. ISBN 975-428-015-0.
  • Barleti, Marin (2012). Hosaflook, David (ed.). The Siege of Shkodra: Albania's Courageous Stand Against Ottoman Conquest, 1478. Translated by Hosaflook, David. Tirana: Onufri. ISBN 978-99956-87-77-9.

41°31′N 19°48′E / 41.517°N 19.800°E / 41.517; 19.800