Many tourists visit Albania for its now world-famous gorgeous coastline, its exquisite Mediterranean-meets-Middle East yet uniquely Albanian food, for its medieval castles and ancient cities, and for many more beautiful reasons. In reality, no visitor leaves the country without falling in love with the peculiarities and oddities of Albanian urban space.
Hyper modern constructions juxtaposed with neon-colored, communist residential buildings. Fruit and vegetable street vendors sitting beside parked Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Hipster culture and tradition awkwardly occupying the same cafés. Some of the finest dining spots in Europe next to rundown constructions. Fast-paced urban life in a culture of siesta aficionados. Countless authentic quality products and plenty of knock-offs. The wildest nightlife in the Balkans next to mosques and churches. In short, even if an especially talented film director had set up this absurd scene, it still would not match urban reality in Albania.
These strange concurrences reflect the country’s unbridled development, the creation of space for both tradition and progress. Albania’s transition from a former central government to a free-market system is at its most climactic point. This is history in the making and it is absolutely fascinating to witness!