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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 Molla 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 last coastal city along the famous Southern Riviera is one of the most ideal places to spend your day In reality, the legendary coastal city of Saranda would ideally require more time to be fully experienced. However, if you only have 24 hours to spend here, we can suggest the absolute must-sees of this [...]
Tirana has been Albania’s administrative center for almost a century but this city’s history goes even further back in time. While the toponym Tirana was first mentioned in the 15th century as “Plenium Tyrenae” (“Field of Tirana”), the city became an established settlement almost two centuries later, in 1614, with the establishment of a mosque [...]
The vibrant coastal city of Vlora is a requisite stop for every tourist visiting Albania during the summer. Vlora marks the boundary between two seas – the Adriatic and the Ionian – which, in turn, are simultaneously shared between three countries: Albania, Greece, Italy. Boasting an enviably long and beautiful coastline, the ideal exploration of [...]
Pogradec is the quintessential nostalgic city! This particular sensation arises as you cruise down the national road and an image of utter calm and timeless beauty unfolds before you. The smooth, creamy blue surface of Lake Ohrid, punctuated by lively swans and seagulls! This is the lake of a certain delicious fish called koran, found [...]
This southernmost city in Albania is quite the multifaceted place! An ideal destination for your holidays, year-round. A location full of virgin beaches and delicious seafood. Sharing a border with Greece, Saranda is also a gateway to this other significant cultural destination. Last but not least, entry fees in the most wonderful parks and destinations [...]
Most refer to Dibra’s northeastern highlands as Albania’s roof. This region’s highly diverse nature is due to the high peaks and low valleys found along Dibra’s rugged landscape. As one of the largest geographical areas of the entire country, Dibra boasts more than 50 spectacular natural monuments. Countless caves hidden among beautiful mountains, small lakes, [...]
Korça is one of those wonderful towns that are never off-season! During the winter holidays, the snow covers the town and the guesthouses invite you in with their warm atmosphere. In the warmer seasons, the town overflows with energy and festivities of a different kind. The traditional city’s cobbled streets and promenade host multiple celebrations [...]
Season does not matter as any time is the right one to visit Korça! While during the winter, the picturesque snow veils the city’s streets, the leisurely walks on the promenade during the spring possess an entirely different feel. But if you only have 24 hours to spend in this wonderful city, below we provide [...]
Since antiquity, Vlora has enjoyed and gained from its magnificent geographical position. Its long coastline and surrounding landscape was a shelter for the early Albanian cities, especially during times of war. Archaeological traces of Aulona, present-day Vlora, date the city’s history back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. Albanian settlements like Amantia, Kanina, Oriku are [...]