The castle is the jewel of Gjirokastra, a world heritage city protected by UNESCO. One of the largest forts in the Balkans, it was mentioned for the first time in 1336, although it´s origins date at an earlier period. From this period very few traces remain, as the castle was completely reconstructed by Ali Pasha Tepelena after its conquest in 1812. During his rule the castle expanded and could accommodate up to 5,000 soldiers. The last interventions in the castle date in 1932, when King Zog expanded the prison using the stones of the old Aqueduct of the city.
The castle has always been part of the life of Gjirokastra. During World War II it was used as a shelter from the bombing, as it was perpetuated by Ismail Kadare in his novel, Chronicle in Stone. Today, part of the castle is also the Museum of Weapons, which offers visitors a unique experience in the past.