Tirana City Guide travel tourist sightseeing attractions information

Tirana City Guide Business Tourist Travel Information

Tirana sightseeing Tirana attractions Tirana history Tirana crime Tirana weather

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Tirana History Overview

The countryside around modern day Tirana is believed from archeological finds to have been settled from about 3,000BC. In 520AD a fortress was built by the Roman Emperor Justinian. This fortress was rebuilt in the 18th century. The area does not seem to have had any significance for several centuries though nearby there other small settlements at Lalmi, Ndroz & Preza.

The first documented evidence of Tirana dates back to 1418 in the work of Catholic Priest who was writing a history of Albania. In his account he refers to the villages of Greater Tirana and Lesser Tirana. By now the area had become under the rule of the Ottoman Empire who recorded in 1431 that Tirana has 7,300 people living in 1,000 homes in about 60 areas. The same records in 1583 indicate that the number of homes and population had nearly tripled.

In the following century Tirana’s importance increased aided by it becoming a commercial centre with its own Mosques and Turkish baths. During the 18th & 19th century its grew very slowly. In 1912 Albania gained its independence and after WW1 in February 1920 Tirana. became it’s capital . During the next two decades the city was influenced and developed by Italian architects. During WW2 the city was occupied by the Germans and Italians before its own communist party liberated the country in 1944. more

Attractions and Sightseeing In Tirana

The city has a population of 420,000 people.  It is situated in the Ishm River and is a spacious city with wide squares; the main one being Sheshi Skenderbej. Tirana has many well cared for parks and open spaces. It used to be known as Teheran when the city was under the rule of  the Turkish Ottoman Empire. There is still a heavy Turkish and Muslim influence on Tirana to this day.

Tirana is most well known for its informative and fascinating museums. They have a museum for National history, archaeology and  Natural sciences. Most of it’s buildings are 20th century though Tirana has significant historic landmarks such as the 19th century Clock tower and the Pertrela and Preza Fortresses.  Many people may be hesitant about visiting Albania after all the Genocide,  civil wars and controversy that the country is synonymous with, but a trip to Tirana could change your mind after you learn of and witness it’s the history and culture.

The Museum of National history, Tirana Skanderberg Square – This is  the largest museum in Albania. It was opened to the public on the 28th of october 1981.  the Museum was designed by Albanian architect  Enver Faja. The museum includes the following pavilions which chronicles major events in Albania’s life and heritage since its inception. Antiquity, Medieval, culture of Albania, Albanian resistance of World War II and  an exhibit on the communist Genocide are all on offer. Many visitors left surprised at just how rich the history of Albania is. There is a grandiose Mosaic  at the main entrance which is entitled the Albanian’s. Open daily from 8.30 am and entry fee is  about 200 LEK. website http://www.hist.tirana.cchnet.it/historiku

Tirana Archaeological Museum, Tirana Sheshi Nene Tereza tel no:3554-22407-11 Those left dissatisfied by the National history museum should find much architectural information and collections here. Amongst other things the Museum contains pottery, animal statuettes, arrowheads and jewellery. Your historical knowledge of ancient and modern will greatly expand. There are many artefact’s and documents relating to the ancient IIIryian period.  Tirana admission is free. Open Mon-Fri 10.30 am till 2.30 pm, closed on weekends. Entry is 100 LEK per person website n/a

Gallery of Fine Arts, Tirana Boulevard Deshmoret e Kombit The Gallery of fine arts was looted in 1997 but has recovered from that setback and now houses an extensive collection of work. Some of Albania’s most talented and inspiring artists from the early 19th century onwards have their work on display here. The top floor of the museum is devoted to contemporary art by some of the most creative and imaginative artists from all over the globe. There are floors contain realist  socialist artworks which chronicle the lives of heroic Albanian partisans.  There are some large statues of Lenin and Josef Stalin behind the gallery. Entry fee is 220 LEK .Open from 10 am till 5pm during the week and  10 am till 2pm on Sunday’s. Closed on Monday’s. website http://www.gka.al/Faqja-Kryesore/index.php

The Museum of Natural Sciences, Tirana Rr, Kavajes tel no: 355-4222-9028 – This small museum has a limited collection of taxidermist stuffed animals, birds and some pretty unique sea creatures. Despite its small collection the museum does feature  scientific work from many different generations.  The museum has the biggest Sea Turtle ever found in Albania residing here. Bizarrely the museum is closed on weekends which begs the question of when local people are supposed to visit it. Open Mon-Fri 8 am till 2 pm. website n/a.

Clock Tower Central Tirana Rruga 28 Nentori tel no: 3554-224-32-92 – This impressive tower was built around 1830 by Muslim architect Hax’hi ET’hem Bay. There are 90 steps to get to the top of the tower. This 35 metre landmark was the tallest building in Tirana at one time. The Tower used to have a bell from Venice which would ring every hour on the hour. The Clock was destroyed during the Second World War and so was replaced after the war with a Roman numeral clock. the Roman clock which was subsequently damaged and replaced by a Chinese clock. Entrance to the top of the tower is free of charge. Open Monday 9 am till 1pm and Thursday 9 am till 1 pm and 4 till 6 pm. website n/a.

Mosque of Etehem Bey Tirana Sheshi Skenderbej tel no:3554-22-3701 – This mosque is conveniently located in the heart of Tirana city centre Etehem Bay is one of Albania’s most sacred buildings. . It was erected in 1823 after  44 years of construction by Molla Bey and completed by his grandson Haxhi Et’hem Bey.  The mosque was shut down whilst the Communists controlled Albania but was reopened in 1991 against the wishes of the authorities. Despite that the Police decided not to intervene and it was viewed as a significant  milestone for Religious freedom in Albania.  There are daily tours of the Mosque available but not during Prayer services. The Mosque’s interior is classically designed in an Islamic style. website n/a.

Fort Preza,  Tirana Preza Village – Fort Preza is a castle which overlooks a Preza Village. The construction of this historic fortress began sometime in the 14th century and was completed in the early 15th century. The Castle has been given the prestigious status of a ”Monument of Culture”. There are four towers in each corner. Many visitors choose this location for some sightseeing of the picturesque Tirana plain.  The castle is close to the Mother Theresa International Airport. Open 9am till Midday and 2pm till 6 pm. website n/a.

Fort Pertrela, Tirana [- Fort Pertrela is in southern Tirana  and originated in the 4th century.  Today’s fort was designed in the  middle ages. Pertrela’s current appearance is due to the rule of the imperial  Thopiaj Family. Pertrela is located 12 Kilometres south of Tirana city centre. It is very old fashioned and majestic in appearance, located in a scenic area of the city. The castle was part of a defence  to protect Kruja Castle. There is a lovely restaurant inside the Castle and  Pertrela offers stunning views of  The Erzen Valley, Olive Groves and surrounding Mountains. website n/a.

Tirana Orthodox Church of the Holy Evangelist, Rr e. Kavajes tel no: 3554-23-50-95 The Church is approximately 16.5 miles from Tirana city centre. The church was built in 1964 but closed its doors just three years later in 1967.  Many felt this Church was very ordinary looking but the is beautiful. Albania saw an extreme Atheism campaign in the mid 1960’s which resulted in some mindless damage and even bulldozing of   Churches and Mosque’s across the country. Some of the destruction caused back then is still evident at the Tirana Orthodox Church  website n/a.

 Night Life In Tirana Compared with other Eastern European cities, the night life is fairly quiet but visitors should check out The Colosseum Bar, which offers a wide range of imported beers, and an extensive choice of bizarre mixed drinks. For Jazz enthusiasts The Boom Boom Room which features live jazz on one of its two floors is recommended. Also popular with locals and tourists is The Apollonia Restaurantwhich serves Albanian, Greek & Italian food and it is rumored that it now offers some Thai.

Restaurants In Tirana More and more restaurants are opening in Tirana. A updated list of these is available from the National Tourist Board website

Hiring Taxis In Tirana The most reliable taxis are yellow with red numbers on their licence plate. The 25km journey from Rinas Airport should cost €20 after the customary bartering !

Cash Machines / Bureaus  There are many ATM machines in Tirana and other main towns. Bureau de change are easily found and they welcome the Euro Sterling and US Dollars Avoid the private street exchangers who operate openly are illegal.

Crime – Personal Safety – Security In Tirana  . Tirana and Albania as a whole is surprisingly good. Violence still poses a major problem though, so try to avoid engaging with ANY anti-sociable locals. Unfortunately Violence with unlicensed Gun Ownership is common place. These situations are more commonly found in rural areas. Cities such as Tirana and Durres are far safer. Though the political situation in Albania is relatively stable the country has it’s  problems.

Carry only your essential belongings with you and always keep your luggage safe as there have been frequent cases of stolen luggage. Property related crimes and theft in the streets has experienced a significant rise in 2011 and 2012.

Credit Card Fraud  This is problem at times for tourists so if you do not prefer to use cash be aware of the risk and do not loose sight of the card.

Credit Cards Are Not Always Welcome Visitors to Albania should be aware that not all establishments accept credit cards or Travellers Cheques. This may apply to many places, large or small, including hotels and restaurants in Durres and Tirana. We strongly advise you to check how you are expected to pay for any services before use or consumption etc

Tirana Albania Tourist Board Information  http://www.albaniantourism.com/

Tirana Albania Weather Forecast
monthly average and extreme temperatures in Tirana Albania:

sun hours per day

Temperatures
Average Daily
Records
Minimum
Maximum
Lowest
Hghest
January
4
2
12
-8
19
February
4
2
12
-8
22
March
5
5
15
-4
26
April
7
8
18
-1
28
May
8
12
23
3
33
June
10
16
28
6
37
July
11
17
31
11
38
August
11
17
31
10
40
September
9
14
27
5
35
October
7
10
23
1
31
November
3
8
17
-3
25
December
2
5
14
-7
22
extreme cold
hot
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