Tirana it is the capital of Albania from the 1920 and with its 884 thousand inhabitants it is also the most populated city (Instat data: 2018). Founded in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini.
It is believed that the name Tirana derives from the word "Theranda", mentioned in the ancient Greek and Latin writings, which the local natives called "Te Ranat".
Today Tirana is not only the most populous city in Albania but also the largest political and economic center of the country. Mount Dajti is close to the city while the large national park with artificial lake is located in the southern part of the capital.
Tirana was founded in the 1614 and became the capital of 11 February of the 1920 following the decision taken in the Congress of Lushnjë, which was held by the 28 at the 31 in January.
Tirana, in fact, has always been an important crossroads among the first roads of the country. The road that came from Dalmatia, for example, passed through Ulqin, Shkodër, Lezhë and continued east of the country via the outskirts of Tirana, by Qafë Kërrabë.
Another important road was the Via Egnatia which connected all the main Albanian cities and continued towards Thessaloniki and Istanbul: Tirana represented the junction of this road, which connected the north of the country to the sea passing through San Giorgio.
In the 1923, the regulatory plan of Tirana was made by Austrian architects. But the shape of the capital we see today was given by the two famous architects of Mussolini: Florestano di Fausto and Armando Brasini. The two designed all the government buildings that today are located around Scanderbeg square. Tirana was confirmed as the capital of Albania in December of the 1925.
Because it is a small town, it is possible to easily cover the central area of Tirana in one day. But in addition to a pleasant exploration of the handful of museums, monuments, historic buildings and parks, find some time to admire the Tirano houses. Painted in rainbow colors, they add brightness to what was once a rather monochromatic urban landscape.
What you can visit in Tirana
The center of Tirana is Piazza Scanderbeg, which takes its name from the national hero who gave birth although briefly to the independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century. At the center of the square is a large bronze statue of Scanderbeg on horseback, and the Et'hem Bey Mosque, one of the nation's most precious buildings dating from the late 18th century, located in the south-east corner.
Also in the same square are also the nation's main museums, including the Albanian National Historical Museum adorned with a huge socialist wall of victorious partisans.
You will find the concrete pyramid of Tirana, Piramida, a short walk from Piazza Skanderbeg. Built in the 1987 by the daughter of the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha (who tyrannically ruled Albania from the 1944 to the 1985) as a museum to her father, it now seems abandoned, stripped of the tiles that once covered it and splashes of graffiti. There is talk of demolishing it, but some argue that it should be kept intact as a monument suited to the spirit of Stalinism.
"Blloku" is a district of Tirana. Literally, its meaning is, The Block former district of the leaders of the Central Committee of the Labor Party. Designed as a "garden district" by the architect Gherardo Bosio, it became the residential neighborhood of the dictator Enver Hoxha after the Second War. Today it is the heart of the Albanian "movida". Today there are expensive hotels, designer cafes, restaurants and shops.
Another reason to visit Tirana is also "Pazari i Ri" - The New Bazaar, The Heart of Tirana
- The Mosque of Et'hem Bey
- The buildings of the ministries (which possess great architectural value)
- The Tabakeve Bridge (of the Tanners)
- The Cemetery of the Martyrs
- The Tomb of Kapllan Pasha
- The museums (national and archaeological) and the National Art Gallery
What to see in the surroundings
Il mount Dajti - a few minutes from Tirana - it represents a pleasant escape from the chaos of the city, thanks above all to its magnificent panorama over the entire Albanian capital. The iconic Monte Dajti, which wonderfully enhances and delimits the landscape of Tirana, is only 15 minutes from the city by cable car.
Grotta di Pëllumbas
At 25 km from Tirana there is the Pëllumbas cave , almost 400 meters long and which represents the first settlement in the Tirana area dating back to around 30.000-50.000 years ago
Lake of Bovilla
Lake Bovilla is a lake of 4,6 km² in Albania, about 9 miles northeast of Tirana and southeast of Kruja, within the Monte Dajti National Park. Provides most of the drinking water for Tirana.
The Petrela Fortress (in Albanian "Kalaja e Petrelës") is located south of Tirana on the right side of the main road of Tirana-Elbasan, at 18 km from the capital. It is one of the tourist resorts near Tirana, which attracts a large number of visitors. The Fortress is perched on a rocky hill, above the village of the same name. It has a triangular shape with two observation towers. Although it was built for the first time in very remote times, the current building dates back to the 15th century.
Fortress of Preza
The fortress of Preza (Prezë) is located near the village of the same name, at 35 km from Tirana, close enough to the capital's airport, the Mother Teresa International Airport. It is a small fortress from the 15th century, known for its beautiful location. It was once owned by Topias, a famous feudal family in the history of Albania.
- Eye of the Cyclops
- The canyons of Erzeni
The traditional gastronomy of Tirana
- "Gjellë me mish me narden" - "Beef stew with plum mustard"
- "Fërgesë vere"
- "Contour of ricotta" / gjizë ", peppers and tomatoes".
- "Byrek me qumësht" - "Byrek al latte". - Savory puff pastry and milk cake.
- "Byrek me patëllxhanë"
- "Byrek with eggplant", the latter very much appreciated by me.
These, as typical of Tirana but, naturally, byrek came and is still prepared with all the possible and imaginable fillings, like the one with yogurt and eggs; the one with minced meat; the one with onions and tomatoes; the one with the leeks; the one with spinach and white cheese, with pumpkin etc
- "Kukurec", roulade made with lamb entrails.
- "Çorbë" - "Ciorba", meat and vegetable broth.
- "Plëndës" - Tripe.
- "Paçe me pilaf" - "Paçe" is a soup made with the head or feet of cattle, with various spices, prepared with mastery by the Tirano chefs, in short, they are a bit of various specialties of first courses in meat broth. And the latter is accompanied by rice-pilaf.
- "Bamje me mish" - L'okra, or "Bammia d'Egitto" or "Corna di greci" with meat stew.
Then there are still the various specialties of stuffed vegetables like stuffed aubergines - "Imam bajalldi", are Arab recipes revisited and adapted in Albania, stuffed peppers, zucchini and stuffed tomatoes
- "Pastiçe" - the baked pasta made of spaghetti, milk, eggs and white cheese.