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Tirana: the capital and the largest city of Albania

Tirana is the capital of Albania, the city is located about 110 meters above sea level, along the valley of the Ishem river. The city is located between Dajti Mountain to the east, the Krraba and Sauk hills to the south, Vaqarr and Yzberisht hills to the west and Kamza hills to the north. Tirana is the largest city in Albania, in fact it has almost 800,000 inhabitants. Its population represents over 30% of the country’s total population. Tirana is also the main political, commercial, industrial (textile, food, cement, mechanical, chemical and footwear) and cultural center of Albania.

A CITY FOUNDED BY THE OTTOMANS AND PLANNED BY THE ITALIANS

The Tirana area was inhabited since prehistoric times. But until the Middle Ages including where today the most important city of Albania is located, there was only a small and insignificant village. The Byzantines built a fortress known as the Justinian Fortress (Kalaja e Justinianit) or Tirana Castle (Kalaja e Tiranës), the remains of which are still visible today in the city center. The city of Tirana was founded only in the 17th century by the Turks. Initially it was home to a small military garrison. In the following years a mosque, an oven and a Turkish bath were built there. From this first small nucleus the city developed thanks to its position and its healthy climate. The city became the capital of the Kingdom of Albania in 1920. Today Tirana has a modern appearance and is a city in constant transformation.

Tirana maintains an old city which retains its Ottoman appearance with mosques and bazaars. The so-called new city was built starting from the 20th century and is characterized by large and long avenues. This part of the city is affected by the planning implemented during the period in which Albania was occupied by Italy and presents architectural features typical of the fascist regime. The years of communism led to the construction of huge Soviet-style buildings. This significantly worsened the architectural aspect of the city.

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