The castle was built by the emperor of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasios, originally from Durres. At that time, Anastasius made Durrës one of the fortified cities in the Adriatic. Wall repairs have been carried out since the devastating earthquake of 1273. The medieval walls currently are about 4.6 meters in height and the three entrances to some of the fortification towers have been preserved in nearly one-third of the city’s initial fortress length. The castle was reinforced with several watchtowers from the Republic of Venice and during the invasion of Albania by the Ottoman Empire the walls were reinforced.
On April 7, 1939, Albanian patriots fought on the walls of the castle Italian fascists who invaded Albania. In Durres, a force of only 360 Albanians, mostly gendarmes and residents of the city, led by Abaz Kupi, the commander of the gendarmerie in Durres, and Mujo Ulqinaku, a seamen officer, tried to stop the progress of the Italians. Armed only with small arms and three automatic weapons, they succeeded in keeping the Italians in the bay for several hours until a large number of light tanks disembarked from the naval ships of the latter. After that, the resistance diminished and within five hours Italy had invaded the entire city.
The castle is now an object of tourist attraction in Durres.