Colorful Tirana

Tirana Travel Blog

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A group of dancers welcoming us at the harbor of Durres
We arrived the port of Durres after a 3.5 hours catamaran journey from Dubrovnik. Durres was the link between Istanbul and Rome and was Albanias capital until 1920, when it was moved to Tirana. A 30 minutes drive took us to Tirana. The city was founded by a Turkish pasha in 1614 and developed into a craft centre. Tirana was severely damaged in the liberation battle in 1944 and the new communist regime knocked down a lot of the remains of the old country town. There has been a new building boom in the last decade, with many new apartment buildings going up. The most curious thing in Tirana is how they with a stroke of paint have turned the boring communist apartment buildings into colorful structures.
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Covering an ugly tower block with vertical pastel stripes, another with grey and red cubes and planting maple leaves on its neighbor. What a great idea!

If I had to pick one sight in particular in Tirana it would have to be the Et´hem Bey Mosque. Constructed in 1789-1823 AD it is one of the oldest buildings left in the city. Take your shoes off, and ladies cover your shoulders, and you are welcome inside to take a look at the beautiful painted dome.

Albania is a small country in size, only 28.000 sq km and with a population of 3,5 million. It is a country of contrasts. You will see great pink and white villas with poverty around them. The country has 30% unemployment, but cafes and bars are full. One thing that really surprised me in this poor country is how many Mercedes Benz there are.
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Not even in Hollywood I have seen that many. There was also a large number of Land Rovers. In a country where 10% of the population is rich, 20% middle class and 70% poor I had not expected so many expensive cars.

When it comes to religion, 4 centuries under the Turks has left 70% muslims, the Greek period contributed to 20% Greek Orthodox and the remaining 10% is Roman Catholics.

Another curious thing is the vast number of bunkers they have, or mushrooms as they call them. From 1950-1985 president Enver Hoxha had these small concrete domes constructed. It is a total number of 700.000 of them. They were build to repel the threat of foreign invasion. His goal was that every Albanian family should have one. They are made of concrete and iron and weighs 5 tonnes - and almost impossible to destroy. Today the bunkers are the bane of farmers and builders across the country. They are expensive to remove and very hard to destroy.
Biedjee says:
hoping to go here next year
Posted on: Oct 17, 2009
Lora_Nielsen says:
Awesome pictures and blog...By the way - in Bulgaria we have almost the same traditional dance...the clothes are also similar...Congrats for the great job!
Posted on: Oct 05, 2009
Chokk says:
Wow - I should have done that in stead of driving in to Albania
Posted on: Sep 07, 2009
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A group of dancers welcoming us at…
A group of dancers welcoming us a…
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Dancer at the harbor of Durres
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
Dancer
The curious bunkers or mushrooms
The curious bunkers or mushrooms
Driving in to Tirana
Driving in to Tirana
The sports arena
The sports arena
Palace of Culture
Palace of Culture
National Museum of History
National Museum of History
Detail of the museum
Detail of the museum
Equestrian Statue of Skanderbeg
Equestrian Statue of Skanderbeg
Et´hem Bey Mosque
Et´hem Bey Mosque
Et´hem Bey mosque
Et´hem Bey mosque
Et´hem Bey mosque
Et´hem Bey mosque
Detail of the outside wall of the …
Detail of the outside wall of the…
Inside the dome of the Et´hem Bay…
Inside the dome of the Et´hem Ba…
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Dome of the mosque
Dome of the mosque
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Inside the mosque
Decorations in the first room of t…
Decorations in the first room of …
Decorations in the first room of t…
Decorations in the first room of …
The entrance of the mosque
The entrance of the mosque
Clock tower
Clock tower
Et´hem Bey mosque
Et´hem Bey mosque
National Art Gallery
National Art Gallery
Colorful buildings
Colorful buildings
Tanners´Bridge
Tanners´Bridge
Tanners´Bridge
Tanners´Bridge
Tirana University
Tirana University
Pyramid (formerly the Hoxha´s Mus…
Pyramid (formerly the Hoxha´s Mu…
Pyramid
Pyramid
Congress Building
Congress Building
Twin towers
Twin towers
Parku Rinia
Parku Rinia
The arrows are showing the way out…
The arrows are showing the way ou…
Tirana Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Casa di Pasta
This Italian restaurant is situated in a Disney like casino complex called Taiwan. You can either sit outside on the terrace or inside. All tables hav… read entire review
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photo by: EmEm