Krujë (definite Albanian form: Kruja) is a town in north central Albania. The population at the 2011 census was 11,721. Located between Mount Krujë and the Ishëm River, the city is only 20 km from the capital of Albania, Tirana.
Inhabited by the Illyrian tribe of the Albani, in 1190 Krujë became the capital of the first autonomous Albanian state in the middle ages, the Principality of Arbër. Later it was the capital of the Kingdom of Albania, while in the early 15th century Krujë was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, but then recaptured in 1443 by Skanderbeg, leader of the League of Lezhë, who successfully defended it against three Ottoman sieges until his death in 1468.
The Ottomans took control of the town after the fourth siege in 1478, and incorporated it in their territories. A 1906 local revolt against the Ottoman Empire was followed by the 1912 Declaration of Independence of Albania. In the mid-1910s Krujë was one of the battlefields of the conflict between the short-lived Republic of Central Albania, founded by Essad Toptani, and the Principality of Albania. In 1914 Toptani managed to seize the town but during the same year it was reincorporated by Prênk Bibë Doda in the Principality of Albania. During WWII it was the center of the activities of resistance leader Abaz Kupi.
The museums of Krujë include the Skanderbeg museum, located in the environs of the Krujë castle, and the national ethnographic museum.
The name of the city is related to the Albanian word kroi meaning “fountain”. In Albanian the city is known as Krujë or Kruja. In Byzantine documents of the early 7th century it has been attested as Kroai (in Greek Κροαί), while in medieval Latin it was known as Croia, Croya and Croarum. During the Ottoman era it was also known as Ak Hisar or Akçahisar from the Turkish words ak (white) and hisar (castle).
Krujë is found at an altitude of 600 m (1,969 ft) on the foot of Mount Krujë (Albanian: Mali i Krujës) of the Krujë Gorge, while south and west of the town is found the plain of the Ishëm River. The town is located in the northern part of the outer Albanides tectonic unit, which consists of anticlines of Mesozoic carbonate platforms. The administrative center of the municipality is the town of Krujë, but it also includes the villages of Barkanesh, Brre and Picerragë. The closest cities to Krujë are Tiranë and Durrës at a distance of 20 and 37 km respectively.