Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has a never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, pubs, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth to discover, both day and night. The value and hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country.
There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti).
Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola. Moreover, you can visit the famous Mosaic uncovered on the floor of an old Roman lodge. Its center configures the walls of the castle of the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 520). The monumental Tomb of Kapllan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakëve (a bridge constructed in the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark) are other interesting place to visit.
As a capital, Tirana has the country’s finest museums, theatres, and galleries representing the national arts. A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the private “Mezuraj Museum,” and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. You can also pass a pleasant evening in the National Theatre or the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For dining, Tirana will be glad to offer you both a rich traditional cuisine and a variety of foreign fares, from Italian to Chinese, . There are also several clubs and restaurants in Mount Dajti to discover and enjoy. There is the possibility to travel there by cable car, which is a very special experience. In the region of Tirana you may also visit the castles of Petrela and Preza, as well as some natural attractions, such as Pëllumbasi Cave, Shkalla e Tujanit, and much more.
The Përsqop Fortress is located south of Tirana, near Petrela Castle. The inhabitants of Petrela Castle once used this fortress perched atop the Vila Mountain.
The Illyrians constructed the basic structure and then eventually the Romans expanded it. Remnants of an aqueduct are still visible to the northeast of the fortification.
The Tirana Mosaic can be found on “Naim Frashëri” street. It is the oldest object found in Tirana, and the archaeologists think that it was part of the floor of a Roman villa from the 3rd century CE. The place was later used as a site for the construction of an early-Christian church. It is also known by the name “The Mosaic of the Church of Saint George’s Spring.”
The Tunners Bridge (Ura e Tabakeve) is a small stone bridge, 7.5 meters high, located on “Jeanne d’Arc” Boulevard in Tirana. It was also called “Saint George’s Bridge.” Today it is a restored monument, originally built in The National Gallery of Fine Arts the first half of 19th century CE.
In Tirana, you will have the opportunity to visit the largest and the most important museums in Albania: the National Historic Museum and the Archaeological Museum, the Mosque of Ethem Bey and the newly excavated walls of the Justinian Castle. In the region of Kavaja you may also visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kavaja and the Church of Çeta near the village of Zig Xhafaj.
Kapllan Pasha’s Tomb is located on “28 Nëntori” street in Tirana. It is part of a monumental cemetery complex of the first Tirana Mosque, which was destroyed during the Second World War. The complex included six other monumental graves of the same type, but with varying dimensions. The only tomb remaining today is that of Kapllan Pasha, a former ruler of Tirana. The tomb has an octagonal shape reaching 4 meters in height. Kapllan Pasha’s remains were later exhumed and reburied in Istanbul.
Preza Castle overlooks the village with the the same name and is located on a hilltop. It is a small castle, the construction of which was started in the 14th century CE and was completed in the early 15th century CE. It belonged to the Topias, a local feudal family. It has four towers, one in each corner. The clock tower was erected between 1800-1850 CE. People appreciate it for its location, with a view overlooking the plain of Tirana. The castle is quite close to the “Mother Theresa” International Airport. A restaurant and other service facilities are located inside the castle.
Bashtova Castle is situated close to the village of Bashtova, about 3-4 km north of the Shkumbini River estuary. The castle was built in the 15th century CE and was used by the Venetians. In the past, the Bashtova region was known as a harbor on the Shkumbini River and as a center for the export of cereal grains. The castle has a rectangular shape, 60 x 90 meters, with 9 meter high walls. The western part of the castle was rebuilt in the 18th century CE.