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Hello, my name is Tirana

An exhibition of old photos from the capital of Albania.

Tirana, the capital of Albania was founded in 1614, but there is evidence of it being a civic center even earlier. Among the earliest cultural monuments that prove its ancient existence is the Mosaic of Tirana, dating back to the 1st century AD. The mosaic is thought to have been the floor of a rural dwelling (vila rustica). Then there is the Castle of Tirana in the pedestrianized “Murat Toptani” Street. This type of castle was a station on the "Egnatia" street, where ancient roads crossed with other parts of Albania. Close to the Castle of Tirana, in the old historical part of the city, is the “Sarajet e Toptanëve”, one of the most famous aristocratic families in the city. The Saraje was built in 1537. On the upper side of the castle, near "George Bush" street there is a building, built in 1924. In this building, on September 1, 1928, Ahmet Zogu proclaimed Albania a monarchy and himself King of the Albanians. Today, there is located the Academy of Sciences of Albania. From the stairs of this building, King Zog and Queen Geraldine greeted the citizens of Tirana on the day of their marriage on April 27, 1937. The decision to turn Tirana into the main center of political and economic development in Albania was thanks to the National Congress held in Lushnje in January 1920. After February 11, Tirana went from a provisional capital to finally become the capital of Albania by the Constitutional Assembly in 1925.
Tirana's first regulatory plan dates back to 1923. These were the years when the center of Tirana started to take the shape that has continued up to this day. "Dëshmorët e Kombit" boulevard was built in 1930. It was originally called "Zogu I Boulevard"; then, in the mid-40s of the last century, it got the name it has today. The 4 km long boulevard is divided into two segments. On the "Dëshmorët e Kombit" Boulevard, is the complex of ministries, built in the 30s of the last century according to the Italian style. The Tirana Municipality’s building maintains the same style as well. The Prime Minister’s Office of Albania was designed and built by the Italian architect Gherardo Bosio. The same architect, designed and built the buildings where today are the Rectorate of the University of Tirana, the Polytechnic University and the University of Arts. The square between them is named Mother Teresa Square- the Albanian saint.

The city of Tirana is complemented by the central square, which is named after the National Hero of Albania, Skanderbeg. Renowned Italian architects, Florestano de Fausto and Armando Brazini, also designed this square. Scanderbeg’s monument, the work of famous Albanian sculptor, Odhise Paskali, was set up in 1968 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of the National Hero. Around this square are the most important cultural and financial institutions: the National Historical Museum, the Opera and Ballet Theater and the Bank of Albania. The Opera and Ballet Theater was inaugurated in 1966. The initial project of building the Bank of Albania dates back to 1927. The implemented project was that of 1936, by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, one of the most famous Italian architects of the 1930s-1940s. The construction process began in February 1937 and the Bank was inaugurated on October 30, 1938. Its greatness, its artistic elements, different sculptures on a flat surface and in particular, the mosaic in the main lobby give the building an extraordinary significance.

One of the main landmarks in the center of Tirana is the Clock Tower, which is 35 meters high. By 1970, the Clock Tower was the tallest building in Tirana. The tower is part of the emblem of the Municipality of Tirana.
 

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