1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Scutari (Albania)

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SCUTARI (anc. Scodra, Slav. Skadar, Albanian Shkóder, or with the definite article Shkódr-a), the capital of the vilayet of Scutari and principal city of Albania, European Turkey; on the south-eastern shore of Lake Scutari, near the confluence of the Drin and Boyana rivers, and 14 m. inland from the Adriatic Sea. Pop. (1905) about 32,000. The plain in which Scutari is built extends southwards to Alessio and northwards to the Montenegrin frontier. It is enclosed by lofty mountains, on every side except where it adjoins the lake., It is very liable to be flooded, and this liability was greatly increased towards the close of the 19th century by the defection of the Drin and its junction with the Boyana. Its bazaar and mosques give Scutari an oriental appearance, but the finest of its buildings are Italian—an old Venetian citadel on a high, crag, and a Roman Catholic cathedral. The city is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop and a Jesuit college and seminary, which are subsidized by the Austrian government. The trade of Scutari tends to decline and to be diverted to Salonica and other ports connected with the main European railways. Grain, wool, hides and skins, tobacco and sumach are exported; arms and cotton stuffs are manufactured; and textiles, metals, provisions and hardware are imported. Large quantities of a kind of sardine, called scoranze by the Italians and seraga by the Albanians, are caught in the Boyana and cured for export or home consumption. The Boyana is navigable by small seagoing vessels as far as Oboti, 12 m. from its mouth; cargoes for Scutari are then trans hipped into light river craft. The steamers of the Anglo-Montenegrin trading company ply on the lake.

Livy relates that Scodra was chosen as capital by the Illyrian king Gentius, who was here besieged in 168 B.C., and carried captive to Rome. In the 7th century Scutari fell into the hands of the Servians, from whom it was wrested by. the Venetians, and finally, in 1479, the Turks acquired it by treaty.

Lake Scutari is almost bisected by the line of the Montenegrin frontier. It occupies one of the depressions, known as polyes, which are common throughout the Illyrian Karst region. Its generally even margin is broken by the estuary of the river Moratcha, and by a long, narrow inlet which stretches towards the North Albanian Alps. The lake measures 135 sq. m.; its maximum depth was long considered to be no more than 23 ft. But a series of soundings taken in 1901 by Dr Jovan Cvijić revealed the existence of a series of deep holes near the south-western shore, one of which attains a depth of 144 ft. The surface is 20 ft. above sea-level. The principal affluent of Lake Scutari is the Moratcha, which enters it, after forming two small lakes, near the Montenegrin port of Plavmtza. It is drained by the Boyana, which issues from its south-eastern extremity and flows to the Adriatic. Lake Scutari abounds in aquatic birds and fish; its brilliantly clear water, its archipelago of wooded islets, and its setting of rugged mountains, some of which are covered with snow during the greater part of the year, render it one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.