Urban Quirks

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!

By: IntoAlbania

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Gjirokastra Bazaar

Gjirokastra

Built more than 500 years ago, Gjirokastra Bazaar is one of eight oldest districts of Gjirokastër, stretching like a beam below the castle walls! It remains in constant reconstruction due to its age and monumental status as a UNESCO national and world heritage site. The bazaar is actually mentioned in several travel journals and documents [...]

Gjirokastra Bazaar

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Kruja Bazaar

Kruja

This bazaar is one of the oldest in Albania! The construction of the beautiful and rich bazaar of Krujë dates back to over 400 years ago. It was the starting point of free trade among the city’s best merchants. It is in this particular bazaar that they began to officially exchange various kinds of goods [...]

Kruja Bazaar

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Skanderbeg Statue

Tirana

Located at the very heart of Tirana, the Skanderbeg Statue sits in the square named after the great hero (Skanderbeg Square). Partly due to its prime positioning, this became perhaps the best-known Skanderbeg monument! In 1968, the monument made its way to the square, on the occasion of Skanderbeg’s 500th death anniversary. Three talented Albanian [...]

Skanderbeg Statue

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Illyria Square in Durrës

Durrës

The major coastal city of Durrës stretches along the Adriatic Sea coast with a significantly long coastline. To this day, this ancient Illyrian city remains one of the world’s centers of national and international heritage. Largely due to its geographical position, it was historically the main gateway to the Western Balkans. It is one of [...]

Illyria Square in Durrës

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Korça Promenade

Korça

The Korça Promenade, is the main walkway of the city. Lined with trees, traditional houses, modern cafes and restaurants, this street is a real magnet for local and international tourists. However, Korça is not a touristic town. On the contrary, it is precisely the vibrant local life and atmosphere that gives the town its particular [...]

Korça Promenade

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Promenade in Shkodra: A Taste...

Shkodra

Just a few meters short of 1 km, the promenade in Shkodra extends to about 800 m, entirely paved with decorated cobblestones. Newly renovated, this promenade recalls the architecture of olden times, when it took a certain amount of time and patience to build things of lasting beauty. In turn, this promenade reflects this time, [...]

Promenade in Shkodra: A Taste...

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The New Bazaar in Tirana:...

Tirana

One of the oldest and most historical residential neighborhoods in the city of Tirana, the New Bazaar (Pazari i Ri) has been newly renovated and reinvigorated. Many of the traditional elements of the old town have been conserved while the square has been refreshed with a modern new look. The name is taken from the [...]

The New Bazaar in Tirana:...

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Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud”

Tirana

Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud” is an enormous installation located in front of the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. This work was initially created for the Serpentine Pavilion 2013 in London and, when the artificial structure was first exhibited, despite it being constructed by white steel rods, to all viewers it resembled the softest-looking natural phenomenon, [...]

Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud”

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Postblloku Memorial

Tirana

The shape of the bunker has become the symbol of the communist period in Albania and the isolation, paranoia, and excessive vigilance that it entailed. Echoing the ones dispersed throughout the country, a small bunker has been placed near the main boulevard of the capital. Today, this symbol ironically signals the fall of the 45-year [...]

Postblloku Memorial

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The Grand Park of Tirana

Tirana

The Grand Park of Tirana has been and continues to be one of the most popular spots of the city! Especially during the weekend the park warmly welcomes and accommodates its visitors in the open and large green spaces, promenades, playgrounds, restaurants and cafes. Some other great spots in the park are the Open Air [...]

The Grand Park of Tirana

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Tirana’s Promenade

Tirana

Tirana’s Promenade is another place where, in addition to the countless coffeehouses, restaurants and pubs, one can find an interesting configuration of contemporary cultural and historic spots. Here, the family can spend an entire day, away from cars and in the company of people! As a starting point, we have Tirana’s Castle and its 305 [...]

Tirana’s Promenade

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The Skanderbeg Monument

Kruja

In the city of Kruja, Skanderbeg’s presence is felt everywhere beyond the castle walls, as well. One such case is the Skanderbeg Monument, at the heart of Kruja. Created by the talented sculptor Janaq Pacos, this statue was inaugurated on the anniversary of Albania’s Independence Day on November 28th, 1959. Actually, statues of Skanderbeg are [...]

The Skanderbeg Monument

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Sphinx

Durrës

Your stroll around the old town of Durrës will inevitably take you to the Vollga, the city’s bustling seaside promenade. One small leap and you will at once leave the comforting beauty of the old world and enter the vibrant new one. This long stretch of restaurants, ice-cream parlors, and games is peppered with street [...]

Sphinx

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Enver Hoxha’s Villa

Tirana

The area of ​​the former Block is one of the most fascinating and dynamic quadrants of Tirana. The unexpected combination of the modern urban and the inherited architectures visually told, after the 90s, the city’s communist history and what followed thereafter. During Communism, the entire Block area was forbidden to ordinary citizens, who were supposedly [...]

Enver Hoxha’s Villa

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“Mother Albania” Monument

Tirana

The eastern entrance to the capital is marked by one of the most significant objects of national memory: The Cemetery of the Fallen Heroes of War and the “Mother Albania” Monument. Built on a hilltop, this monumental complex holds the remains of 900 partisans and is visible to any traveler entering or exiting Tirana. The [...]

“Mother Albania” Monument

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The Obelisk of the Covenant...

Lezha

The Assembly of Lezhë, held in March of 1944 in the Cathedral of St. Koll, is one of the most significant historical events in Albania. Skanderbeg summoned this assembly in order to unite all the Albanian principalities and, as a result, the very first Albanian army led by Skanderbeg was created, one which was fundamental [...]

The Obelisk of the Covenant...

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