Urban Quirks - Into Albania

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

The Gjirokastra Bazaar neighbourhood lies long beneath the castle walls, with its cobblestoned streets, medieval facades, and array of wonderfully handcrafted gifts. Built over 500 years ago, the Gjirokastra Bazaar is one of eight oldest districts of Gjirokastër, stretching out long below the castle walls. It remains under continuous reconstruction due to its age and historical [...]

Gjirokastra Bazaar

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Kruja Bazaar

Kruja

The Kruja Bazaar is famous for being one of the oldest in Albania. The construction of the beautiful and fascinating marketplace of Krujë dates back over 400 years, and was the starting point of free trade among the city’s most established merchants. It is in this particular bazaar that traders first began to officially exchange various [...]

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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The Promenade in Shkodra

Shkodra

The Promenade in Shkodra captures some of the European aesthetic experience with its decorative and delicate designs, that pave the historic street of this artistically-infused city. Just a few meters short of 1km in length at 800m long, the Promenade in Shkodra is paved entirely with beautifully-decorated cobblestones. Recently-renovated, this promenade recalls the architecture of ages [...]

The Promenade in Shkodra

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The New Bazaar in Tirana:...

Tirana

The New Bazaar (Pazari i Ri), one of the oldest and most historical residential neighbourhood in the city of Tirana, has undergone renovation and re-invigoration of late. Many of the traditional elements of the old town have been preserved whilst the square has been refreshed with an updated and more modern look. The name derives [...]

The New Bazaar in Tirana:...

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Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud”: Rolling From...

Tirana

Drifting from Hyde Park in London, to the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud” has proven to be a hugely popular art installation for both the city’s residents and visiting tourists. Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud” is an extraordinary installation located in front of the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. The work was [...]

Sou Fujimoto’s “Cloud”: Rolling From...

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The Grand Park of Tirana:...

Tirana

In a bustling city like Tirana it may surprise you to find such sparse and open nature in the heart of the capital. Well, the Grand Park of Tirana offers just that, and so much more. The Grand Park of Tirana continues to be one of the most popular and frequented spots of the capital [...]

The Grand Park of Tirana:...

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Postblloku Memorial: Three Pieces of...

Tirana

The Postblloku Memorial in the centre of Tirana brings together three fascinating symbols of the Communist era, as a reminder of the nation’s troubled past. The distinctive shape of the bunker at the Postblloku Memorial was in many ways the symbol of the Communist era in Albania – a reminder of the isolation, paranoia, and [...]

Postblloku Memorial: Three Pieces of...

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Turbina Theatre

Tirana

The newest theater and culture center in town is fairly close to Wilson Square and the capital’s main boulevard. This is a new home for the Albanian theater performers as well as a hotspot for all the theater enthusiasts. Turbina’s location is one of the most popular areas of town and easily reachable from many [...]

Turbina Theatre

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Tirana’s Promenade

Tirana

Looking for a spot in in the city where countless coffeehouses, restaurants and pubs collide with a fascinating configuration of contemporary and historical places of interest? Then be sure to head down to Tirana’s Promenade. Get away from the overwhelming amount of traffic and cars that often descends upon the roads, and simply enjoy the [...]

Tirana’s Promenade

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The Skanderbeg Monument

Kruja

In the city of Kruja, Skanderbeg’s presence is felt nearly everywhere, even beyond the castle walls. The Skanderbeg Monument, at the heart of the city, is one perfect example. Created by the talented sculptor Janaq Pacos, this statue was inaugurated on the anniversary of Albania’s Independence Day on 28th November 1959. In fact, statues of [...]

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

Architecturally fascinating and historically mysterious, Enver Hoxha’s villa of residence in Tirana offers yet another glimpse into the mind and secrecy of Albania’s former ruler. The vicinity of ​​the former Block is one of the most fascinating and dynamic quadrants of Tirana. The surprising combination of modern development amongst the inherited architecture visually represented post-90s, [...]

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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