Venue and location
Tirana is the capital and the largest city of Albania. Modern Tirana was founded as an Ottoman town in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini. Tirana became Albania's capital city in 1920 and is the center of the political, economical, and cultural life of the country. The Municipality of Tirana is located at (41.33°N, 19.82°E).
Tirana''s average altitude is 110 meters (360 ft) above sea level and its highest point measures 1,828 m (5,997.38 ft) at Mali me Gropa. The city is mostly surrounded by hills, with Dajti Mountain on the East and a slight valley opening on the North-West overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the distance. Tirana is on the same parallel as Naples, Madrid, Istanbul, and New York, and on the same meridian as Budapest and Krak.
The main cultural institutions of Tirana are the National Theater, the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania, and the National Arts Gallery (Galeria Kombetare e Arteve). Performances of renown world composers are regularly performed by the Symphonic Orchestra of the Albanian Radio and Television. The city serves as a regular venue for the Tirana Biennale, Tirana Jazz Festival, Summer Day, Rally Albania, and Tirana Fashion Week. Recently, Tirana has been redesigning its identity to a more Mediterranean city full of cafes and a vibrant nightlife.
Tirana is trying to improve its tourism potential by reconstructing important landmarks.
The town is home to the following historical sites:
- Tirana Castle (Kalaja e Tiranes), the historical core of the capital around
- Murat Toptani Street
- Clock Tower of Tirana (Kulla e Sahatit) and the nearby Museum of Clock Towers of
- Albania (Muzeu i Oreve)
- Et''hem Bey Mosque (Xhamia e Tiranes)
- Tabak Bridge (Ura e Tabakeve)
- National Historic Museum
- Skanderbeg Square as a monumental ensemble
- Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard, a panoramic avenue
- Blloku, the nightlife area of the capital
- Dajti Mountain, overlooking the city and accessible via cable car
- Tabake Bridge
- Preze Castle (Kalaja e Prezes)
- Petrele Castle (Kalaja e Petreles)
- Tirana Mosaic
- Big Park on the Artificial Lake
- Bektashi Temples and Global Centre
Tirana is home to a significant young population. As such it is host to many academic institutions such as the University of Tirana, Polytechnic University of Tirana, Agricultural University of Tirana, Academy of Physical Education and Sports, University of Arts (Academy of Arts of Albania), the Academy of Sciences of Albania, and the Skanderbeg Military University, national and international academic research institutions, as well as NGOs. In recent years, Tirana has seen the creation of a vast number of private academic institutions.
Regarding transport, municipal, national and international transport links have developed over recent years as demand has increased. The city serves as the meeting point for national roads SH1, SH2 and SH3.
1. By bus
Local transport within Tirana is by bus or taxi. Coach and minibus (furgon) services also run, according to demand, to the coast and northern and southern Albania from different locations in Tirana. International coach services connect to Greece, via Korc or Kakavije, to Kosovo or Serbia via the new Durres-Morine highway, and to the Republic of Macedonia or Bulgaria via Struga.
2. By air
Tirana International Airport Mother Theresa (Nene Tereza in Albanian), also known as Rinas Airport, was reconstructed in 2007. It is located 15 kilometres northwest of the city, off the road to Durres. Airlines using Rinas include Albanian Airlines. Flights run to Athens, London, Rimini, Bari, Genoa, Rome, Bologna, Munich, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Vienna among other places. It is one of the biggest airports in the region. Several foreign airlines also serve Rinas Airport: Alitalia (from Rome and Milan), British Airways (from London Gatwick Airport), Austrian Airlines (from Vienna), Adria Airways (Ljubljana), Jat Airways (Belgrade), Lufthansa (Munich), Malev (Budapest), Olympic Air (Athens), Hemus Air (Sofia) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul). In summer there is a direct charter flight from JFK, New York.
3. By sea
Tirana is served by the port of Durres, that is 36 km distant from the capital. Passenger ferries from Durres sail to Trieste, Ancona, Otranto, Brindisi, Bari, Genoa (Italy), Zadar, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Koper (Slovenia), Bar (Montenegro), Corfu (Greece) and others. Kavaja is Included in the Tirana County too.