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Albania’s Independence was declared on November 28th in Vlora, marking the most significant moment in the history of Albania. Every year, Albanians, here and abroad, celebrate this day in myriad ways while all Albanian cities light up in red and black and enjoy the festivities. With so much going on, it becomes difficult to determine the best possible place to celebrate. Below, we offer our top destinations for this year’s celebrations.
As the place that saw the entire National Independence movement take place, Flag Square in Vlora is number one on the list. The city’s atmosphere is so contagious during this particular day that you cannot help but join in the celebrations, whether you are Albanian or not! The coastal city offers great food and wonderful views of the Ionian, as well. We recommend spending the entire day here!
Now, a few things to know about the Flag Square. You will see the Independence Monument right in the center of the square. Study it carefully as this is one of the most significant monuments in the entire country, one which reveals the masterful work of the most renowned national sculptors: Muntaz Dhrami, Kristaq Rama and Shaban Hadëri. The most prominent figure, among the ones in the bronze sculptural complex, is Ismail Qemali, the main architect of the Independence movement and Albania’s first Prime Minister. The monument is 17 meters in height with a large bronze flag waving in its very center.
In the Flag Square you will also notice the Flagpole Monument, a sculpture decorated with the date of Independence Day and the eagle, the national symbol. Another very significant monument is Ismail Qemali’s tomb, located right behind the Flagpole Monument. Visiting this tomb may be a nice opportunity to honor the most important figure of Albania’s history and the best way to celebrate this day.
Still in the city of the declaration of independence, we have moved to an even more symbolic location. It was here, at the Museum of Independence, that the flag of independence was first raised. This museum truly evokes not only the specifics of this historical day but the overall atmosphere of the entire period via the unique relics of the protagonists of this significant era. As part of the Independence festivities, entrance to the museum is free of charge.
This square is the next most popular choice for Independence Day celebrations. The latter have started even earlier this year, with the organization of the “Village of Celebrations” which includes countless activities for Christmas, New Year’s and Independence Day fun. Don’t miss the fireworks show in the evening!
The National Historical Museum may be a nice option for celebrations this year. The largest in the country, this museum reveals the country’s history through its most significant periods, including the National Renaissance and Independence Movements. Entrance is free of charge today, so be sure to take this opportunity to celebrate while learning more about Albania.
On this day, let us all remember that November 28th was selected as the day for declaring independence due to a very historical event occurring on this same day centuries earlier. It was on November 28th, 1443 that the national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg waved the Albanian flag for the very first time over Kruja Castle. With this significant action, Skanderbeg marked a national union that had never been seen before. Skanderbeg’s battle victories were the precursor to the eventual National Renaissance and the final Declaration of Independence.
If you find yourself in Kruja on Independence Day, do not miss out on a visit to the Skanderbeg Museum. One of the most important museum in the country, here the history of Skanderbeg and the Albanian principalities is beautifully outlined and well worth your time. As with other museums during this day, the visit here is free of charge.
This memorial dedicated to the national hero may be worth stopping by as part of your Independence Day festivities. Although Skanderbeg’s remains are thought to have been taken by the Turkish army twelve year after his death, the memorial represents the place where the hero passed away. In addition to seeing one of the most visited sites in the country, a visit to Lezha may take you to some other fascinating destinations like the Lezha Castle and the Obelisk of the Covenant.
If you find yourself outside of Albania during these days, make sure to place the red and black flag on your window or doorstep, or even wave it from your balconies. Happy Independence Day!
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