Tirana, Albania

Europe / Albania / Qarku i Tiranes / Tirana

Tirana, Albania

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is known for the colorful architecture of the Ottoman, fascist and Soviet epochs. Pastel-colored buildings surround the main point of the city, the Scanderberg square, which takes its name from the equestrian statue of a national hero. On the northern side of the square is the modernist National History Museum, with testimonies from prehistory to the communist period and anticommunist revolutions of the nineties.
Nearby the 1820 Clock Tower is a symbol of the city. It overlooks the Ethem Bey Mosque of the Ottoman era, known for its mosaics depicting landscapes. In the southern area there is the National Gallery of Art, which exhibits works by Albanian artists, and the monument in the shape of a pyramid mostly abandoned dating back to the communist period and used as an exhibition center and nightclub. Blloku, a district once inaccessible to non-members of the Communist party, is now a trendy destination for nightlife and people watching. A cable car ride to the top of Mount Dajti offers a panoramic view of the city.

When to go

Tirana has a Mediterranean and subtropical climate, which in the period of greatest tourist inflow (mag - set) is hot and dry. The Summer Festival (March) celebrates the end of winter with music and dancing. Religious celebrations include Easter (Tues / Apr, dates vary) and Ramadan (dates vary), the Islamic holy month. Cultural events include the Tirana International Film Festival (Nov / Dec, dates vary). Winter (Dec - Feb) is mild and moderately rainy, with few visitors.

What to see


Square Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg is the main square of Tirana, the capital of Albania. The square takes its name from the Albanian national hero Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg and is the symbolic place not only of the capital but of the entire Albanian universe.

Mosque Etherm Bey

The construction was started in 1789 by the Turkish Molla Bey and completed in 1823 by his son, Haxhi Ethem Bey, a descendant of Sulejman Pasha.

The mosque took relatively important after the construction of Piazza Scanderbeg right near it, during the period of the Italian protectorate after the independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire (1912).
Closed during the communist dictatorship, in 1991 10,000 people, courageously seen the opposition of the authorities, decided to enter it to pray, and the police did not intervene. The event was a milestone in the revival of religious liberties in Albania. The frescoes on the outside of the building, more precisely in the portico, contain some peculiarities: there are trees, waterfalls and bridges, which are rarely seen in Islamic architecture, precisely because they were frescoed by non-Muslim workers, by Venetians. Daily visits are held inside the mosque, even if not during the prayer time.

Albanian National Historical Museum

The National Historical Museum in Tirana, Albania, is the largest museum in the country. It was inaugurated on 28 October 1981 and occupies 27,000 square meters, while 18,000 square meters are available for exhibitions. The museum was designed by the Albanian architect Enver Faja.

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower is a building located in the Scanderbeg square. It was built in 1811 in Tirana, Albania, by Etëhem Bey Mollaj, a poet who also finished the Ethem Bey Mosque next to the clock tower. It is a monument of first class culture, approved on 24 May 1948.