10 reasons to visit Tirana
Tirana is usually at the top of the list of the worst cities in Europe. After decades of Stalinist dictatorship, gray and sad, lacking in infrastructure and services, it certainly can remain unattractive to the most superficial. In the 1992. with the collapse of the communist regime, the situation has only worsened, and the chaos has prevailed, engulfing the city and creating the best condition for the growth of crime.
Now everything has changed. Today, Tirana, although still a chaotic city, is a very pleasant town, the center of Albanian culture, entertainment and politics. Its population has grown rapidly, reaching almost one million inhabitants (the totality of the Albanian population counts three million). The city will surprise you, and in the whole country you will not find anything like that!
Here are the 10 reasons to go to Tirana.
1. Experience the hospitality of the inhabitants
Being invited for a coffee or a rakia (local brandy) is a typical custom and you will find Albanians friendly with travelers. Albanians are very hospitable and friendly with travelers. The Albanians are very curious about foreigners, it will be because for the last half of the 20th century they have been isolated and completely outside the circuits of travelers
2. Tirana, the colorful city
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 Tiranese houses . Painted in rainbow colors, they add brightness to what was once a rather monochromatic urban landscape.
3. Coffee culture
Albania may not be famous for its cuisine, but it is not a reason not to pay attention to food. Look for excellent coffee and beer (Islam is the predominant religion, but it is practiced in a very tolerant way), as well as decent pastries and good ice cream. Cafes are the perfect place to watch people, set on an Albanian and Euro-pop soundtrack.
4. A history lesson at Piazza Scanderbeg
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.
5. What better time to visit a modern era pyramid?
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 his father, now it 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.
6. "Blloku", the heart of the Albanian nightlife
"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.
7. For the night life
Every year the night scene of Tirana moves on one level and the city clubs, mostly located around Blloku, vary greatly in theme and atmosphere. It is better to visit them with someone from the place to know where to go. Be aware, however, that Albania is still a traditional society.
8. Relax in Parku i Madh (Grand Park)
This large wooded park is where many citizens of Tirana go to spend a few hours, whether it be fishing in the artificial lake, picnic on the lawns or spending time in one of the many café-bars. Considering the oppressive traffic of Tirana, this park allows you to shine the Mediterranean atmosphere of the city.
9. To visit the Monte Dajti National Park
If you want a break from the city center, head to the Monte Dajti National Park, popular with Tirana residents for fresh air and walks outside the town. You can take a cable car built by the Austrians (expensive) or the city bus (cheap) and once there you will find hotels, pensions and restaurants if you feel like spending the night.
10. A jump to the sea, why not?
The historic city of Durres on the Adriatic Sea has been for decades, where the powerful of Tirana went to relax (Enver Hoxha and King Zog had vacation rentals). Today there are mostly Kosovar tourists who make use of numerous cheap hotels and restaurants along the seafront. Things are rough and ready, but Durazzo is lively, inexpensive and easily accessible.
You can read this post in English directly from site by Rough Guide. Author Garth Cartwright
11. The New Bazaar in Tirana
Another reason to visit Tirana recommended by the Editorial Staff of Albania News: "Pazari i Ri" - The New Bazaar, The Heart of Tirana