What You Need To Know
Tirana is the capital and largest city of Albania. It is the administrative, cultural, economic, and industrial center of Albania. The population of the city proper at the 2015 census was 610,070 and the municipality of Tirana, created in 2015, has a total population of 800,986. It is the biggest metropolitan area in Albania, and the only one with a population of over 500.000. The city is host to many public institutions and public and private universities, and is the centre of the political, economic, and cultural life of the country.
Area: 41.8 km²
Population: About 462 210
Albanian lek is the currency of Albania and Tirana.
The center of Tirana was conceived as a monumental space. To achieve this goal, the old bazaar of Tirana, the City hall, the Orthodox Cathedral and an old assemble of shops, hotels, bars and traditional houses were demolished and substituted by important buildings such as the Palace of Culture, Hotel Tirana, National Museum, “Scanderbeg Square”, and a group of residential buildings. The only historical objects that were taken under protection were the Mosque of Et’hem Bey and the Old Clock Tower as well as the Complex of Ministries. Now, it includes the National Library and the National Opera and Ballet of Albania. The city serves as a venue for the Tirana Biennale, Tirana Jazz Festival, Summer Day, White Night on 28 November, Rally Albania, Buy Albanian Regional Delicacies Expo, and Tirana Fashion Week.
Tirana is Albania’s heart of economy. It is Albania’s major industrial and financial centre. Tirana began to develop at the beginning of the 16th century, when a bazaar was established, and its craftsmen manufactured silk and cotton fabrics, leather, ceramics and iron, silver, and gold artifacts. Sited in a fertile plain, the Tirana area exported 2,600 barrels of olive oil and 14,000 packages of tobacco to Venice by 1769. In 1901, it had 140,000 olive trees, 400 oil mills, and 700 shops. The ABA Business Center, the 4ever Green Tower and the TID tower, an 80-metre (260-foot) business tower were being constructed in the city. Tirana has malls, such as City Park, QTU and Tirana East Gate.
Albanian is the official language in Tirana.
- The largest hospital in Tirana is Mother Theresa Hospital (Qëndra Spitalore Universitare Nënë Tereza), which is associated with University of Tirana, Faculty of Medicine. A number of private hospitals have been opened.
Starting in 2000, former Tirana mayor Edi Rama (mayor 2000 – 2011) under the Ilir Meta government, undertook a campaign to demolish illegal buildings around the city centre and on Lana River banks to bring the area to its pre-1990 state. In an attempt to widen roads, Rama authorized the bulldozing of private properties so that they could be paved over, thus widening streets. Most main roads underwent reconstruction, such the Ring Road (Unaza), Kavaja Street and the main boulevard. He has been accused of corruption and mismanagement of funds by the opposition, including corruption in the granting of building permits. Rama led the initiative to paint the façades of Tirana’s buildings in bright colours (known as Edi Rama colours – very bright pink, yellow, green, violet) although much of their interiors continued to degrade. Rama’s critics claimed that he focused too much attention on cosmetic changes without fixing any of the major problems such as shortages of drinking water and electricity. A richer calendar of events was introduced and a Municipal Police force established. In 2007, U.S. President George W. Bush marked the first time that such a high ranking American official visited Tirana. A central Tirana street was named in his honor. In 2008, the 2008 Gërdec explosionswere felt in the capital as windows were shattered and citizens shaken. On 21 January 2011, Albanian police clashed with opposition supporters in front of the Government building as cars were set on fire, three persons killed and 150 wounded. Since 2005 the southeast region of Tirana, mainly Farke and Petrela has had a burst becoming the preferred destination with many residence complexes being built and having the current biggest mall in Albania, TEG. In the 2015 municipality election power was transferred from the Democratic Party of Albania, representative, Lulzim Basha, to the Socialist Party candidate Erion Veliaj. The country underwent a territorial reform which unified communes with municipalities leaving 61 of them. Thirteen of Tirana’s communes were integrated as administrative units joining the existing eleven. Since then Tirana is undergoing major changes in law enforcement and new projects as well as continuing the ones started by his predecessor. In their first few council meeting 242 social houses got allocated to needing families. Construction permits were suspended until the capital’s development plan is revised and synthesized. In addition the municipality will audit all permits granted in the previous years.
- The city serves as the meeting point for national roads SH1, SH2 and SH3. Construction of the outer big ring highway started in 2011. In the near future, Tirana will have a transportation hub combining all transportation in one place near Kashar.
- BusLocal transport within Tirana is by bus or taxi. Official taxis have yellow plates with red text and usually use taximeter. Coach and minibus (furgon) services also run to the coast and northern and southern Albania from Tirana. International coach services connect to Greece, via Korçë or Kakavije, to Kosovo via the new Durrës-Morine highway, and to the Republic of Macedonia via Struga.
Tirana International Airport is Albania’s only international airport and is located close to the country’s capital Tirana. The airport is located in the village of Rinas 6 nautical miles (11 kilometres; 6.9 miles) northwest of Tirana.
There are passenger services to Durrës and Librazhd, via Elbasan. As of September 2013, the Tirana Railway Station north of Skanderbeg Squarewas dismantled and moved to Kashar, the latter renovated in May 2015. The existing line was replaced with a bus service located alongside the coach terminal at the north end of Boulevard Zogu I. The line extending from Librazhd to Pogradec was discontinued in 2012. There are no international passenger services, although there is a freight-only railway through Shkodër to Montenegro. In the northwestern district of Tirana, Laprakë a new station will be built, which is planned as a multi-functional terminal for railway, tram and bus. Until its opening, the railway transport between Tirana and Kashar remains closed.
Tirana is served by the port of Durrës, 36 km (22 mi) distant from the capital. Passenger ferries from Durrës 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 also.
The Ecovolis bicycle sharing system was launched in 2011. Bicycles are rented from initially four stations located at Rinia Park and along Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard. A full day ride costs 100 leks. Bike only lanes are located alongside existing sidewalks on Skanderbeg Square, Lana River and Kavaja Street, while combined bus and bike lanes are located on other main streets to alleviate overall congestion.
Tirana has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Köppen climate classification) and receives just enough summer precipitation to avoid Köppen’s Csa Mediterranean climate classification, since every summer month has more than 40 millimetres (1.6 in) of rainfall, with hot and moderately dry/humid summers and cool and wet winters. Some snow falls almost every winter, but it usually melts quickly.