Tirana is the capital of Albania and also the main economic, social and cultural center of the country. Known as A Dynamic Capital City, Tirana has changed a lot through the lart 20 years. Many international medias has called it an affordable city in Europe.
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 and tourist can easily notice that.
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). Whereas, others 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. There 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. 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.
Nightlife in Tirana
Tirana is unquestionably the dynamic center of Albania thanks in part to its lively nightlife, comprised of theaters, restaurants and clubs. There are a variety of places to entertain you and most of them stay open all night. You can find bars and clubs throughout the town. Particularly in the “Bllok” area, playing all kinds of live music, including jazz, house, funk, Latin, etc. You can choose to go to the Murphy’s Irish pub or to an American-style bar playing hard rock music.
Tirana is home to the Opera House, the National Theater and many other galleries and museums, which in recent years have hosted many artists and world-famous performers. Tirana also offers a wide range of cocktail bars, where you can enjoy some of the best cocktails while listening to music from the best DJs.
Tirana’s name is mentioned for the first time in a Venetian document of 1418. The first record of its population was compiled by the invading Ottomans in 1431–1432. There were recorded some 1,000 houses and 7,300 inhabitants. A century and a half later, in the registration of 1583, Tirana had 20,000 inhabitants. In 1769, Tirana and surroundings exported 2,600 barrels of olive oil. At the beginning of the 20th century Tirana’s area had 140,000 olive trees and 400 oil mills. In addition, the market numbered 700 shops. In 1990, the city had 250,000 inhabitants, while it now numbers more than 700,000, perhaps as much as one million. That is due to a demographic shift with people from all over the country heading towards the capital.
In Tirana, like in the other cities in Albania, you can find huge coffee lovers. This is why coffee shops and bars are full of people.