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Weapons of all ages and rare artefacts, dating back to the age of Skanderbeg up to the present, will take you on a journey through history in the Armed Forces Museum, located only a few minutes from Tirana’s center.
The museum reflects the country’s most important military events, expresses the identity and traces the development of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania. For nearly 8 years this institution, which houses 3600 objects of value, has been located in the interior spaces of the Ministry of Defense. Conceived in three pavilions, the museum was created on the occasion of the national army’s “birthday,” on December 4th, 1912.
The Epoch Pavilion begins with the Scanderbeg period, with objects related to the Albanian National Hero such as weapons, maps and emblems of the time. A 15th century wooden cudgel used in Skanderbeg’s time as well as various swords belonging to this period can be seen in this section. The swords of the Skanderbeg period, the cannons of such historical figures as Ali Pasha Tepelena, testify to the rich heritage and long history of the Albanian army.
In addition to its historic values, the first pavilion also offers proof of Albanian craftsmanship with handguns from the 1900s. Renowned for their decorations, these authentic weapons are worked with silver and gold. Of course, as you approach the present time, you will notice the modernization of armaments, especially during the period of Independence and that of King Zog, during which the army begins to consolidate.
Communist Period Pavilion
This pavilion details the regimented life of a soldier. Here, you will find everything from weapons, to uniforms, berets, technical communication equipment, military tents and much more. The pavilion includes pistols, rifles and Kalashnikovs belonging to the Communist era, with most items coming from abroad and several manufactured in Albania, in the town of Gramsh. In addition, you will see numerous objects belonging to the Albanian navy. While from 1925 to the present day Albania has had 100 ships, only five of them are used currently.
Heavy weaponry, aircrafts, helicopters and tanks are on display here. Throughout the years, the Albanian Air Force has seen a total of approximately 240 aircrafts. Currently, the external pavilion has two aircrafts displayed, MIG 19 and 21. Both are dismantled and currently out of use, as new technologies are needed to meet NATO standards. Nevertheless, they are fascinating for all aviation enthusiasts.
The museum, located inside the Ministry of Defense, is open for visits from Monday to Friday. In order to enter, local visitors need to have their ID card while foreign tourists should send an email to [email protected] at least 7-10 days in advance.