Chaos in the streets, roaring car horns, a shabby pyramid and the smell of roasted chestnuts. In the capital of Albania, Tirana, we will travel through a communist past with a sweet and sour taste of god.
Tirana smells like apple and cherry blossoms or citrus - it all depends on the season in which we visit it. It is best to go there in spring or autumn, because then the water is warm enough to be able to swim in the sea. The average summer temperature is 25-30ºC. Apart from the mountain peaks, it is practically never cold here.
Boza and roasted chestnuts
The capital of Albania tempts with many attractions - apart from the monuments, it is also worth getting acquainted with the market. In this bustling corner you can buy not only "almost original" Rolexes, but also divinely fragrant olives, juicy watermelons and deliciously sweet pears.
In addition to the nose, our taste buds will also fall into a state of bliss. At the market, you can buy dishes so delicious and aromatic that after returning to our country we will be ashamed to realize how often we treated food as simply satisfying our hunger, instead of enjoying it. By the way, it is worth mentioning that it is impossible to visit Tirana and not try the boza, a non-alcoholic drink with a sweet and sour taste and a slightly cloudy consistency. We can find it in virtually every cafe or confectionery - because it is the pride of the Albanian capital.
In the evening, it is worth going to the Youth Park to relax with delicious coffee in one of the many restaurants and cafes. We will quickly notice that coffee is drunk here more often than, for example, beer. And for snacking during walks around the center, baked chestnuts, sold at every turn, are perfect.
Walk around Tirana
And what awaits tourists in this place that is still exotic to most? The center of Tirana is quite monotonous for the eyes, because it is built over with the same yellow houses, in which offices and ministries are located. The heart of the city is a square with a monument to Albania's national hero, Skanderberg. In the northern part there is a nineteenth-century clock tower, used as a viewing point. Next to it stands the Ethem Bey Mosque , one of the most valuable monuments in Tirana - it has been entered on the List of Religious Cultural Monuments of Albania. The interior of the building is decorated with stucco and rich frescoes.
To be honest, you have to admit that the capital of Albania does not boast too many monuments, but they are not the reason for visiting the city. Tourists come here to see the remains of communism . They gradually disappear, demolished across entire streets and replaced by new housing estates. Tirana is reborn from the ashes like a phoenix, and in a dozen or several dozen years the last traces of the gray past will probably disappear. Today, you can still see craft workshops and tenement houses with shabby shops. These are not beautiful memories, but they are undoubtedly closely intertwined with the history of the city.
You can get to know the post-communist Tirana by taking the bus to the station, as you travel around the entire city center.
While visiting the city, we will definitely pay attention to the mausoleum of the Albanian leader and dictator Enver Hoxha. The building catches the eye with its pyramid-shaped structure and ... ugliness - it is neglected and covered with graffitti. Currently, it houses the International Cultural Center.
At the Pyramid, there is a block district . In the past, ordinary citizens were forbidden to enter it (party dignitaries lived here), and today it is the capital's party center. In the evening, it pulsates with the lights of discos and resounds with the bustle of restaurants and pubs.
Where to stay
Tourists interested in staying overnight in the vicinity of the city can stay at Kamping Nord Park Compleks , located about 15 km to the west. Two adults who came here in a motorhome will pay about 18 euros per night. The price includes, among others access to electricity and showers.
Visiting the Albanian capital won't take long, but it's worth getting to know it. It is quite possible that when we visit the city again, we will have difficulty recognizing it.
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