Albania’s capital, as well as its financial, cultural and administrative centre, Tirana is located on the Ishm River, surrounded by a picturesque ring of mountains. Its own special blend of Balkan sparkle and lively café culture are what first attract tourists to Tirana.
The city’s monuments dating from the time of the Turkish rule, form a singular combination with the “social realist” Cityscapes erected during the Communist era.
Its tourist attractions are concentrated in a relatively small area – which can easily be covered on foot – in the Skanderbeg Square and its neighbourhood.
These include the National Museum with its typical “social realist” mosaic façade; the clock-tower dating from 1830; and next to it, the Ethem Bey Mosque, built between 1789 and 1823, which with its dome and minaret is the city’s most recognised building.
The Square is lined on all sides with government buildings. Crossing the Lana River, one can see the Congress Centre and the pyramid which was the Enver Hoxha Museum.
It is well worthwhile making an excursion from Tirana to Dajti Mountain -which rises above the city – and its national park.