The Forgotten Medieval Town of Balleza

Balleza (Ballezio) was a medieval Albanian town located near Rrjoll town under Maranaj peak. Rrjoll creek and Gura e Pishkazit creek flow near the site. The only ruins left are rare traces of surrounding walls and a church. Balleza was likely the origin of the famous Albanian noble family of the Balshas. Indeed, the founder of the medieval principality of […]

Balsha II Balsha: The Rise & Fall of an Ambitious Prince

Balsha II Balsha (r. 1379-1385), was the youngest son of Balsha I (the attested founder of the Albanian principality of Balsha). He succeeded his brother Gjergj I Balsha (George I Balsha, r. 1372-1379) as the ruler of the principality. His other brother, Strazimir I Balsha, had also ruled the principality in 1362-1372. Balsha II called himself “prince of Arbëria”, “faithful […]

Gjergj I Balsha: Marking the Zenith of the Balsha Principality

Gjergj I Balsha (George I Balsha; r. 1372-1379) was the most important of the three heirs of Balsha I. In his stamps, attested in Ragusan documents of 1373 and 1379, Gjergj Balsha writes his name (in Cyrillic letters) as Gjorga I Balshe. The name appears in the same manner on coins of that same era. Gjergj Balsha succeeded his brother-turned-monk […]

Strazimir I Balsha: Expander of the Balsha Principality

Strazimir I Balsha (r. 1362-1372) was the son and immediate successor of Balsha I (the attested founder of the Albanian Balsha principality). He ruled over the Balsha principality for one expansionist decade. His two other brothers, Gjergj I (George I Balsha) and Balsha II Balsha assisted him in governance, forming a medieval tetrarchy. In his early years, the territories ruled […]

Balsha I: The Founder of the Medieval Principality of the Balshas

Balsha I (thrived and ruled circa 1331-1362) was the earliest attested noble of the notable medieval Balsha family. He was the founder of the Balsha principality, an independent state with territories corresponding to current Montenegro and northern Albania. At times, Balsha state stretched into the southern tip of Bosnia and Croatia, across south Albania and Kosova. Life in the region […]