Tirana, Tirane in Albania, with its 725,000 inhabitants, is the capital and most populous city of the Albania. Located in the central part of the country, for a relatively short distance from the Adriatic coast, Tirana is a city subject to a phase of great development, economic, social and cultural. Shaded boulevards of elegant Italian palaces which overlook the ’30s, the Communist-era monuments, trendy bars, street markets, parks, majestic mosques, money changers and an endless array of tempting nightlife; this, but not limited to, Tirana is now permanently output from the sad parentheses represented by the long years of Communist domination. The flip side of this rapid development are the difficulties that currently are registered in a center which is a sort of open air construction site, with the endless work that cause delays to traffic.
Founded in 1614 by a pasha turkish, Tirana became a center of handicrafts with a bustling bazaar. In 1920 the city was declared the capital of Albania since the central government decided that strategically it was safer to run the country from it than from Durres, the former seat of government, more vulnerable because of its coastal location. Diplomats reluctantly moved into what was then a dreary, dusty town, but the Italians were not slow to build lavish palaces and shady avenues to accommodate the various ministries. The city suffered severe damage during the battle for the liberation in 1944 and the new communist regime fell much of what was left of the old city to make way for big squares. In the last decade, Tirana has been affected by intense building activity that has seen the rise of new apartment buildings, roads and highways nearby.
The city is built around the ever-bustling central square Sheshi Skenderbej (Skanderbeg Square), which depart from the streets and avenues like the spokes of a wheel. To the south stretches the shady Bulevardi Deshmoret and Kombit, perfect for a stroll looking at the vestiges of the communist era, next to the modern district of Blloku. Northbound runs instead Bulevardi Zog I, which leads to the busy bus station and train station where you hear the cries of drivers, seems to be at the market.
Almost all tourist attractions are just a few minutes walk from Shesi Skenderbej, ideal starting point for a visit to Tirana. Here, among people intent on daily chores and children playing with their toy cars, plastic, stands the equestrian statue of Skanderbeg, placed on the south side of the square. A few hundred meters away is the Et’hem Bey Mosque, built between 1789 and 1823, a building of modest size but very striking, among the oldest in the city. Behind the mosque is the beautiful clock tower, on which you can climb to see the square from above with its colorful Ferris wheel. On the northwest side of the square, next to the 15 storey Tirana International Hotel, is situated the National History Museum, the largest museum in the whole of Albania, containing almost all the country’s archaeological treasures and a marvelous mosaic mural entitled Simply Albania. If you are interested in archeology another destination not to be missed is the Archeological Museum, located near the main body of the University of Tirana. To the east of Sheshi Skenderbeg stands the Palace of Culture, a building faced in white stone, which houses a theater, several shops and some art galleries.
If you follow the spacious and shaded Bulevardi Deshmoret Kombit and you reach the National Gallery of Art, whose steps are decorated with statues of fierce partisans. Inside you can admire the splendid exhibition of icons painted by Onufri, the famous sixteenth-century master, while another room contains a number of socialist realist paintings with titles like the Giants of Metallurgy. Leaving the museum, you can turn in Rruga Toptani Murat, which is overlooked by the 6-meter high walls of the Fortress of Justinian, the last remains of a Byzantine castle. Continuing the tour, after crossing a small bridge on Lana River, you’ll notice the sloping walls of glass and white marble of the Pyramid, built in 1988 on a project of her daughter and son-Hoxha. The building now houses a nightclub and a conference center, resulting in a particularly lively and busy. Another creation of the relatives of the dictator is the Palace of Congress, a square building located on the same avenue.
To give yourself a moment of rest there is nothing better than to go to Parku Kombëtar (National Park), which extends in the south-east of Tirana. This green area is equipped with a veror theaters, that is a “theater” and an artificial lake, from which many residents of Tirana joggers.
The climate has features maritime and continental, with wet winters not too cold and summers are very hot. The winter season, compared to a high enough average rainfall, showed temperatures rarely fall below zero, while from May to September is the undisputed protagonist of the sun. In this period, temperatures tend to increase significantly, with maximum values that can reach to touch the 40 degrees in July and August. The best months to visit are May and September Tirana.
Airport Nene Tereza, dedicated to Mother Teresa, but also known as Rinas Airport, is located in Rinasi, 26 kilometers north-west of Tirana. The public transport network is a bit confusing, because you can not determine the exact point where you can catch buses and Furgon. The battered station is at the northern end of Bulevardi Zog I, but the trains can hardly be called Albanians in excellent condition. Therefore the advice is to walk around the center, and acquire their own means to move around.
Originally posted 2012-08-17 05:55:53.