Tirana

Sulejman Pasha Bargjini, a famous Janissary of the Ottoman Empire of the Albanian origin from Mullet, established the city of Tirana in 1614, capital of the strategic and economic position at the heart of Albania, in the beautiful setting between the ranges of Dajti Mountain and the Adriatic coastal plains. The first constructions of Sulejman Pasha were a mosque, a bakery and a hammam (Turkish bath). A statue of Sulejman Pasha Bargjin stands in the square named after him in Tirana downtown. Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1920. The city began to grow at the beginning of the 18th century, especially with the Spread of Islam.  Well known architects of the Mussolini period in Italy Florestano de Fausto and Armando Brasini, were the masterminds which built the main square, that today bears the name of Albanian National Hero Scanderbeg, the huge boulevard, ministry buildings, national bank, the town hall and the Palace of Brigades (former royal Palace, today Presidential Palace). In the meantime, Italian architect Gherardo Bosio was asked to elaborate on previous plans and introduce a new project in the area of present-day Mother Teresa Square. The “Mother Teresa” Square is the end of the long boulevard that during the Italian occupation was supposed to shape Tirana’s new fascist identity, supported by the puppet government. The town of Tirana was liberated on the 17 November 1944, after a fierce battle between the Communists and German forces, when communists seized power. After fifty years of communist parades and features, following the visit of the Pope Francis in 2014 the Scanderbeg Square – the main highlight of Tirana experienced full restoration and got its role of the central pedestrian zone of the Albanian capital.

Today Tirana is not only the most populated city in Albania, but also the biggest political and economic centre in the country. In central Tirana, on Scanderbeg square there is the old mosque of Ethem Bey built during 1789 – 1823 as well as the Clock Tower, 35 meter high, built in 1830. The exterior wall paintings of the Ethem Bey mosque are of outstanding artistic quality and historic value. The Tanners Bridge is elegant Ottoman stone footbridge which once served as the main connection between Tirana and the highlands to the east. It was used to get agricultural produce and livestock across the Lana River to the markets and sits in the traditional area of skinners and leather workers.

The Skanderbeg Square is the main point of Tirana, from which its main streets radiate and provides easy access to the most important attractions and institutions. The Palace of Culture housing the Opera and Ballet Theater and National Library is next to the main square. In Tirana there are also other important institutions such as the National Historical Museum, Archaeological Museum, The Museum of Natural Sciences, the Museum of Albanian Philately, the National Gallery of Fine Arts, the Center of International Culture etc. One can enjoy the best view from the “Martyrs Cemetery” which contains the “Mother Albania” monument. The Adriatic sea and Dajti mountain are near to the city. It takes you less than one hour drive to reach the sea. A Great Park with an artificial lake is located immediately at the southern part of the Albanian capital.

Petrela Tower is one of the oldest structures in Tirana. The Petrela tower in the center of the stronghold was built in the 5th century AD, although most of the remainder is Byzantine dating from between the 11th and 14th centuries. Nowadays Petrela Tower houses restaurant from where you can admire beautiful view while tasting delicious food.

 

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