The pavilion of the Middle Ages is reflected in two halls of the second floor of the National Historical Museum. Through collections, the visitors have access to the economic, social, political and cultural development of Albanians from the VI century until the XVIII century. In this pavilion are the heraldic emblems of the Albanian principalities, the inscription of the principality of Arber, the monumental portal with the emblem of Prince Karl Topia of the Monastery of Saint John Vladimir and the Epitaph of Gllavenica, which dates back to the year 1373. The Albanian resistance to Ottoman invasion is reflected through objects, pictures and documents of the time. Through maps, engravings and many original publications, visitors get acquainted with Skanderbeg, who symbolizes the struggle of the Albanians against the Ottoman occupation.
The Albanian Pashaliks occupy a special corner in the areas of the pavilion. During the 18th century, in north Albania flourished the Pashalik of Bushaltllinj with Shkodra the capital and in south Albania was developed the Pashalik of Ioannina with Ali Pashё Tepelena at the head. The large Albanian Pashaliks acted as states within the Ottoman state. When the military feudal system crisis engulfing the Ottoman Empire, especially from the second half of the 18th century until the early 19th century, senior leaders of the local government came into conflict with the Sultan’s government and demanded their secession from the Ottoman Empire. In the showcases are exhibited original weapons handicraft manufactured like coins, books of that time etc. Early writers ranging from Buzuku to Bogdani complement the history of 18th and 19th century.
Epitaph of Gllavenica
The word epitaph derives from the Greek Byzantine ἐπιτάφιος epitaphios, ἐπί epi “over” and τάφος taphos “tomb”. The epitaph is used in worshiping the Great Friday where according to tradition it is exposed (shown) around the church commemorating the burial of Christ. The epitaph of Gllavenica dates in 1373 and was discovered in the basement of a dilapidated house near Ballsh. The epitaph of Gllavenica is embroidered with gold threads on soft silk by monk Savia ordered by Gjergj Arianiti for the church of Gllavenica (Ballsh present-day)
Monumental Portal of the Monastery of John Vladimir and the emblem of Karl Topia
The lintel of the southern gate of the church of the monastery of John Vladimir in Elbasan is an object of interest in the National Historical Museum. On the stone of the portal of the southern door of the church is written “This holy church of John Vladimir is built by Karl Topia, the Lord of Arbёr, in the 22th year of his domination and was finished in the 24th year of his domination”.
The church was rebuilt in 1381 on the foundations of the church “Holy Trinity” by Karl Topia. The monastery was an important center for the Albanian writings. There have worked and lived known personalities as Theodor Dhaskal and Monsignor Visarion Xhuvani. In the southern wall of the monastery of John Vladimir is the emblem of Karl Topia engraved by Dhimiter Shpati. The main figure is a lion with a royal crown adorned with three ostrich plumes. The emblem bears this inscription: “These are the signs of the great Lord Karl Topia”.
Inscription and emblem of the Principality of Arbër
The emblem the Principality of Arbёr was found in the ruins of the church of Shёn Mёria e Ndёrfandёs in Gëziq. In 1901, Theodor Ippen, the Austro-Hungarian consul in Shkodra in the marble beam of the gate of the church discovered an inscription in Latin and an emblem depicting an eagle carved in stone. The eagle has one head and two open wings ready to fly. It holds a ring in its beak which is the symbol of power. In the inscription are mentioned the names of Progon and Dhimitёr who were the rulers of the Principality of Arbёr.