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Skanderbeg Square is the epicenter of the capital, surrounded by some of the most important buildings of the country. The space was initially designed in a circular shape by three architects of Mussolini’s Italy: Florentano de Fausto, Gherardo Bosio and Armando Brasini. It was in 1937 that the square was given the name of the Albanian national hero. Only two years ago, it was reconstructed to become a pedestrian space. The large square has the interesting shape of a slight pyramid that culminates in its very center. During the summers, water rushes down its sides to refresh the passers-by!
This landmark and symbol of the capital was finally opened for tourists in 1996. Built in 1822, the monument initially housed a bell brought from Venice which chimed every hour! Another Venetian detail is its dome, which highly resembles that of St. Mark’s Bell Tower in Venice. Inside the tower, the 90 steps on a long spiraling staircase take you to its very top, at 35 meters.
Right next to the Clock Tower, stands Et’hem Bey Mosque, another iconic monument of the city. It is the only surviving mosque from the eight built-in Tiranë during the 18th-19th centuries. Its foundations were constructed by Mulla Bey in the 18th century while the shrine was completed by his son, Haxhi Et’hem Bey, in the first quarter of the 19th century. It represents a typical object of oriental architecture, exhibiting very beautiful intricate murals.
The square’s namesake, the Skanderbeg Statue is the most dominant object of the square. Though perhaps the shortest, at a height of 11 meters, it remains the most powerful! This masterwork of famous Albanian sculptors, Odhise Paskali, Andrea Mano and Janaq Paço was placed in the city center in 1968, to commemorate the national hero’s on the 500th anniversary of his death.
The semi-circular building was designed by the famous Italian architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, in the Rationalist architectural style of the 1920s. Hence, the large volumes and facades characteristic of this style are found in the bank building. The construction work began in February of 1937 and ended on October 30th, 1938. A giant mosaic, created by the Italian artist Giulio Rosso, adorns the bank’s interior hall. The building’s reconstruction in 2015 added some contemporary touches to its western part.
Across from the bank, stands the Palace of Culture. The very Soviet-style building replaced Tirana’s former Old Bazaar in 1959, at the height of Communism in Albania. Actually, its very first brick was placed by former USSR President Nikita Khrushchev and its last in 1963, when the building was completed. The building houses inside it the National Theater of Opera and Ballet and the National Library.
One of Tirana’s most recognizable landmarks, this structure is one of Albania’s most treasured historical and architectural objects. Inaugurated on October 28, 1981, this museum is the largest in Albania! Its front façade is marked by a giant mosaic designed to show the developmental stages of Albanian people throughout the centuries. Its creation gathered the top experts of history, linguists, archaeology, ethnography, cartography, architecture and art in Albania. For our extended article click here.
The largest bookstore chain in Albania handpicks the must-reads of summer 2020. Compiling a summer reading list is one of the most challenging tasks when it comes to vacation preparation. Up there with picking the right destination and booking the room with a view, selecting which books to take with you, or upload to your [...]
Vacationing has definitely changed this year so IntoAlbania pitches in to offer some inspiration for a fun and safe summer in the country. All we can think about in the warm summer months is how to best spend them before they end. Some of us may have already planned our vacations while others are more [...]
Its stunning mountains and beautiful landscape guarantee that you will find an amazing variety of plants in Kukës. Besnik Hallaçi, a biologist and the director of the Administration of Protected Areas in Kukës, has selected 10 of the oldest and most unique plants of the area for IntoAlbania. This perennial herbaceous plant, is found in [...]
Entrance nr. 18 on Him Kolli St. in Tirana will be, from now on, not only the newest publishing house for Albanian up-and-coming authors but an ideal workspace where everything is about books. Let’s begin with the name of this new cultural hotspot: Berk. If it sounds a lot like “book,” that’s because it coincidentally [...]
Hailed as the Thailand of Albania, the pristine Shala River and its surroundings are a spectacular summer alternative to the Riviera and other coastline favorites. Known for its clear aquamarine waters, Shala River’s popularity has sky rocketed in the last few years with more locals looking to the north for their summer fun. Perfect for [...]
With the looks and climate of Scandinavian fjords, Lake Koman is a nearly otherworldly retreat, nestled among green-covered hills in the northern part of the country. The north of Albania has been enjoying well-deserved accolades from international and local tourists in the last few years. It is slowly but surely claiming its rightful place at [...]
With the Coronavirus pandemic locking everyone in, IntoAlbania thought to get some of the country’s travel bloggers and curious explorers talking about their most memorable destinations. Here is what they had to say. The self-proclaimed “Alberican” (i.e. Albanian-American) travel photographer has chosen this off-the-beaten path site as her top most memorable destination: “Finally got to [...]
While the Coronavirus pandemic kept everyone safely locked inside their homes, IntoAlbania launched the #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime campaign in May to celebrate our readers’ favorite travel memories around the country and to keep them looking forward to their summer vacations. Among the great contenders, there were some expected destinations (many people were missing the Riviera!), some more [...]
Lately, IntoAlbania has been sharing the charming videos of Ben Washburn, the American young man who stayed in Albania during the pandemic and really enjoyed it. If you haven’t had the chance to meet him, let us have the pleasure of introducing him. He loves so many things about Albania that he has chosen to [...]