History in Tirana

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Tirana is 110 m above sea level. The average annual temperatures are in July 24°C and in January 7°C. Annual rainfalls are 1200m per year. Tirana is on the same parallel as Naples, Madrid and Istanbul and on the same meridian as Budapest and Krakow.

Sulejman Pasha from the village of Mullet founded Tirana in 1614. In the beginning, he built a mosque, a bakery and a Turkish sauna. Two centuries later the Toptani family led the city from Kruja.

There exist four theories about the origins of the name Tirana:

First, it is thought that Tirana comes from the word Theranda found in ancient Greek and Latin sources because those living there called it Të ranat ("fallen material"), because the plain was formed as a result of the strong materials which were brought by the water from the surrounding mountains.

Second, Tirana comes from Tirkan. Tirkan was a castle on the face of mount Dajti. The ruins of this ancient castle still exist, which dates back to the beginning of the first century before the birth of Christ, and which is thought to have been the castle which the Byzantine historian named Prokop (6th century) called the castle of Tirkan.

Third, Tirana comes from Teheran, the capital of Iran, in remembrance of the victory by Sulejman Pasha (founder of the city), head of the Turkish army during the campaign in Persia.

Fourth, an old Tirana tale says that Sulejman Pasha took the name of the city from an old lady whom he had met at the site where he was going to build the city. When Sulejman Pasha asked the old lady what she was doing she answered “ Po tir an (meaning "spinning silk")”.

Mount Dajti is 1612 m high and is situated on the east of Tirana.

The Congress of Lushnja declared Tirana a temporary capital for the first time on February 8th 1920 and it gained this status permanently on December 31st 1925. Tirana has been the world’s Bektashi headquarters since 1925, when the Bektashis were banned and expelled from Turkey

The first district in Tirana was Bami. The mosque in the centre of Tirana, called Et’hem Bey, began to be built in 1789 by Molla Bey, who came from Petrela and was finished in 1821 by his son, Haxhi Et’hem Bey, great-grandson of Sulejman Pasha. The best artisans in Albania built it.

The clock tower was begun by Haxhi Et’hem Bey around 1821-1822 and was finished with the help of rich Tirana families. Tufina family did the installation of the clock. In 1928 the Albanian State bought a modern clock in Gemany and the tower was raised to a height of 35m. During the Second World War the clock was damaged but was restored to operation in July 1946.

The Tabak Bridge (in front of the Albanian parliament) dates back to the 18th century.

The holy tomb of Kapllan Pasha (near the Unknown Soldier monument) was built in 1816.

The fortress of Petrela is located 12km from Tirana and dates back to the 4th century BC. Its current architecture is from the 13th century during the domination of Topia tribe, and later on it became the property of the Kastriot family.

The Durres Road was constructed in 1922 and was called “Nana Mbretneshë “ (Queen Mother).

A lot of houses and gardens were destroyed for its construction.

The current Parliament building was built in 1924 and first served as officers club. There on the 1st of September Ahmet Zogu declared the monarchy.

The well-known Italian architects of the Mussolini period, Florestano de Fausto and Armando Brasini planned the centre of Tirana in the beginning of the 1930s. The Palace of Brigadiers (ex-royal palace), Ministry buildings, National Bank and the Town Hall are their work.

The boulevard "Deshmoret e Kombit" (Martyrs of the Nation) was built in 1930 and it was named Boulevard Zog I. During the period of communism, the part of the boulevard between Scanderbeg square and the train station was named "Stalin" Boulevard.

The Palace of Culture, the location of The Theatre of Opera and Ballet and the National Library, was finished in 1963. It was built over the former Tirana bazaar and Khrushchev laid the first brick in 1959.

The monument of Scanderbeg was built in 1968. It is a work of Odhise Paskali with the collaboration of Andrea Mano and Janaq Pano. It was put up on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of our national hero.

The monument "Nena Shqiperi" (Mother Albania), 12 m tall, was inaugurated in the "Deshmoret e Kombit" cemetery in 1971.

The Academy of Sciences was finished in April 1972.

The National Art Gallery was opened in 1976 and it includes about 3200 works of Albanian and foreign artists.

The National History museum was built in 1981 and the mosaic on the front of the building is titled "Albania".

The International Centre of Culture, formerly the mausoleum of Enver Hoxha was inaugurated in 1988. It was designed by a group of architects under the direction of Pranvera Hoxha and Klement Kolaneci.

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