Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, bars, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth discovering by both day and night. The hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country.
There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti).
Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola. Next, you can visit the famous mosaic uncovered on the floor of an old Roman lodge. Its center configures the walls of the castle of the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 520). The monumental Tomb of Kapllan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakëve (a bridge constructed in the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark) are also worth visiting. As a capital, Tirana has the country’s finest museums, theatres, and galleries representing the national arts.
A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the Natural Science Museum, the private Mezuraj Museum, and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. You can also pass a pleasant evening in the National Theatre or the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For dining, Tirana offers both a rich traditional cuisine and a variety of foreign fares, from Italian to Chinese, or even Indian. There are also several clubs and restaurants on Mount Dajti to discover and enjoy. The mountain is reachable by cable car, which provides a fantastic view of the city. In the Tirana region you may also visit the castles of Petrela and Preza, as well as some natural attractions, such as Pëllumbas Cave, Shkalla e Tujanit, and more.
History of Tirana
Tirana is relatively new. Sulejman Pashë Bargjini, a local feudal lord constructed the first building in 1614. He built a mosque, a hamam, and a stove, which at the time were the main institutions of a newborn city, today in the place where the monument to The Unknown Soldier stands. In 1816, the Toptani family came to rule the city. The most important date in Tirana’s history is February 11th, 1920, when the Lushnja Congress declared Tirana the provisional capital of Albania; definitive status would be given in 1925. Following this act, the city has experienced constant growth, which continues today and has gained particular momentum since 1990.
Famous Italian architects made the center of Tirana their project during the early parts of the 20th century. The main boulevard in Tirana, Bulevardi Dëshmorët e Kombit, was built in 1930, while the central square, Skanderbeg Square, was built between 1928 and 1929. In 1968, on the 500th anniversary of his death, national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg had a monument inaugurated in Skanderbeg Square. Twenty years afterward, in the square was added the monument of the dictator Enver Hoxha. Shortly after on the 20 February 1991 the students and the people removed the monument from the square. In Tirana, you can visit a network of museums and galleries such as the National History Museum, the Archeology Museum, the National Art Gallery, and many more, including numerous private galleries.