Tirana (Albanian: Tiranë and Tirana) is the capital and largest city of Albania. Located at 41.33 ° N 19.82 ° E, in the district and in the prefecture of the same name. Its population is officially estimated at 726,547 inhabitants in 2008, although other estimates made in 2008 bring the number over 1,000,000. Founded in 1614, the city became the capital of Albania in 1920.
Tirana is an ancient city, some archaeological remains can be seen at several sites, including the castle of the Palace of Pioneers "Pallati i pioniereve" (today the residence of the family Zog, reigning Albania from 1924 to 1939). The origin of the name of the city is uncertain: many believe that Tiraneum was the old name of the city and hence the modern name derives from it.
Currently, the city suffers from overpopulation and bad waste management, from lack of tap water and electricity. The problem is aggravated by a very old infrastructure. Despite the problems, Tirana has also seen rapid growth in the construction of new buildings.
In recent years, pollution has become another major problem in Tirana, as the number of vehicles has grown significantly. This is mostly caused by old diesel cars, which normally don’t respect EU norms, which pollute much more than models in circulation elsewhere in Europe. In addition, the fuel imported from Greece and Turkey, used in Albania contains larger amounts of sulfur and lead than permitted by the regulations in EU countries.
The current mayor of Tirana, Edi Rama, has sought to improve the cityscape, streets and public spaces, cleaning up the river Lana, and renovating old buildings. In addition, the Mayor has promised that will plant 100,000 trees in Tirana. He said that in 2012-2014 Tirana will have the cleanest air in the Balkans and this will increase life expectancy in Albania.
The rebirth: Tirana has undergone radical changes since the beginning of the XXI century. Most of the infrastructure has been improved, and a considerable number of roads have been rebuilt. Numerous green areas were created and were demolished many illegal buildings. Furthermore, since 2000 were built many residential and government large buildings.
Things to visit in Tirana
Tirana is a very interesting town to visit. In addition to museums that offers a very interesting cross-section of the city there are interesting churches and monuments that tell you a bit more about the history of Albanian capital.
St. Paul's Cathedral (Katedralja and Shen Palit)
Blv. Zhan D'Ark
Tel: 23 46 55
Easy outdoor decoration, gives us some splendid interiors with an impressive architecture. There is a beautiful and exciting paint on the glass representing Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul.
St. Mary Church (Kisha Katolik)
Rr. and Kavajes
Built in 1865 as a gift from Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Josef, was reopened in 1990 as a national monument after been closed in 1967, when the prohibition of religious activities throughout Albania began.
Orthodox Church (Kisha Orthodhoxse)
Rr. and 151st Kavajes
Tel: 23 50 95
Built in 1964, was closed in 1967, when it was established the prohibition of religious activities and used as a city sport club. Was reopened in 1990.
Tel: 22 52 87
Well worth a visit, it continues to hold a fair amount of historic glory. Located near the zoo.
Do not miss the colorful and traditional market town of Tirana, it is here that you can enjoy the true culture of Tirana and its citizens, and fresh produce of the land in Albania. Tradition and culture in open exposure.
Clock Tower (Kulla e Sahatit)
Sheshi Skenderbej near the Et ‘hem Bey Mosque
Tel: 24 32 92
The tower is now the symbol of Tirana and was built around 1821-1822 by Et’hem Bey, was later enlarged of 35 meters in 1928, when the clock was built.
Et'hem Bey Mosque
Tel: 22 37 01
Beautiful mosque located in the city's main square, constructed in 1794. Was then closed during the communist period to be reopened without authorization in 1991. The events of the opening relgiosa icon corresponds to the return to freedom in the nation.
Fortress of Justinian (Kalaja)
Rr. Murat Toptani
Built in the sixth century during the Byzantine period, when Albania was still only a small part of the Byzantine Empire. Today the original splendor remains only in a small wall 6 meters high.
Pyramid (International Centre of Culture)
Blv. Deshmoret e 4 Shkurtit
Opened in 1988 as a museum dedicated to the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, is said to be the most expensive building in the history of Albania. In the fall of the communist party, the building was used as a cultural and social center for young people.
Sources: wikipedia.org, Informagiovani-italia.com