Tirana, this metropolitan capital has undergone modernization at lightning speed while much of its Ottoman, Italian, and communist architecture recall its history and old-world spirit. There are plenty of churches, mosques, museums, galleries, and shopping malls to visit, but Tirana is most giving when you immerse yourself in it. The best way to discover this city is to take a leisurely walk through its diverse neighborhoods and streets, where you will discover its rich authenticity in each and every corner! Surrounded by a beautiful lake on one side and the Dajti Mountain on the other, this capital may actually bring you closer to nature. With more beautiful cafes (some say they serve the best coffee in Europe!) and delicious restaurants per square meter than most European cities – not to mention the vibrant nightlife all days of the week – the city pulls you back to the enjoyment and pleasures of life.
We meet with our guide at 9 am and after a short presentation we start the walking tour starting with Scanderbeg Square. As you walk around the Scanderbeg square, you’ll see an interesting complex of building which reflect the periods that have influenced Tirana’s architecture. Only the Clock Tower and Et’hem Bey Mosque remain as reminders of the city’s Ottoman past. The communist government left its own footprint by destroying the Ottoman Bazaar and building the new Opera and Ballet House on the site. The next stop on the itinerary is Et’hem Bey Mosque, where you’ll learn about the difficulties faced by the clergy especially after 1967 when freedom of religious expression was prohibited. The mosque was built in 1821 by Et’hem Bey in a typical Turkish style.
Then we will visit the Bunk-Art Museum, an atomic bunker built during the communist era. Continue to King’s Palace and National Martyrs Boulevard. Here you’ll get to know a piece of daily life of former dictator Enver Hoxha, by visiting the pyramid, meant to be a museum for his life and the “Bllok” zone where he and other communist leaders lived in. The area that was once prohibited for people is now the most favorite neighborhood for young people, businesses and coffee shops. Then we will visit Mother Teresa Square and around this square are the Academy of Arts, Russian design and the University of Tirana, a building built during the Second World War by the Italians and at that time this building was the station of the Italian Carabinieri and the National Football Stadium a totally renovated stadium in 2019.
Walk back to finish the tour in center.
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