Tirana has many monuments and cultural sites which for first time visitors are always interesting. These cultural sites are spread all over the city and are a great way to learn more about albanian history and its cultural heritage. Ottoman, Italian, Islamic, Stalinist and capitalist influences are all thrown together in no particular order, making their exploration great fun and maybe a bit messy.
1. Et’hem Bey Mosque
Picture © Credits to RiccardoChiades
Et’hem Bey Mosque dates back to 18th century and is located in the very heart of Tirana. Closed under communist rule, the mosque reopened as a house of worship in 1991, without permission from the authorities. 10,000 people attended and the police did not interfere. Frescoes outside and in the portico depict trees, waterfalls and bridges – motifs rarely seen in Islamic art. The Mosque is composed by a prayer hall, a portico that surrounds it from east and north and the minaret. On the north side is the entrance to the prayer hall, which is a squared plan and is constructed in a unique volume.
2. Clock Tower
Picture © Credits to Edvin Rushitaj
The Clock Tower was built by the Ottoman Turks and originally had a bell from Venice, that marked the time every hour. The Clock Tower is a cultural monument that has shown the time in Tirana since 1822. It stands beside Et’hem Bey mosque, built by the same person. You can climb its 90 stairs and on reaching the top have a magnificent view of the main square in Tirana and beyond. The Clock Tower comprises a major part of the emblem of Tirana Municipality and together with the mosque forms a unique architectural ensemble.
3. The Bride's Tomb
Once you are in Albania, you will listen a lot of legends especially if you spend time with locals. One of those legends has to do with this monument, called the the Bride's Tomb. It is located in Mullet village, near Tirana. The legend says that a bride was killed there in her wedding day. Two rival groups were encountered in this place and start shooting. The convoy with a bride was passing at that moment on that way. She was shot accidentally and died there. In that place, the villagers built this monument called The Bride’s Tomb.
4. The Tanner's Brige ( Al- Ura e Tabakeve)
Picture © Credits to Edvin Rushitaj
Tanner's bridge is an 18th century bridge located in Tirana.Its main purpose was to connect Tirana with eastern highlands.Later on,it was used only by pedestrians. The bridge is now seen by the municipality of Tirana as one of the most important cultural heritage monuments of the city and is considered as a testimony of Tirana's urban development in the 18th century. The Tanner's Bridge is also a testimony of fine bridge construction from the area of Tirana. It is well preserved monument and is part of Tirana’s modern center.
5. The Unknown Soldier Statue
Picture © Credits to Wikimapia.org
The Unknown Soldier Statue is a war memorial in Tirana for the soldiers that fell in the struggle against the Italian invadors during Second World War. It is located near the Albanian parliament and it features a soldier with an upraised fist and rifle, struggling forward.
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