Tiranë, the capital of Albania was founded in the early 17th century CE by Sulejman Pasha of Mulleti who built a large settlement in the area. Tirana was an unimportant city, compared to coastal Durres and other like cities, until 1920 when it was designated the capital. Geographic qualities of Tirana being centrally located in the newly independent country, away from constant raids by foreign nations, and Tirana being close to the Shkumbin River (separating river) between the Northern Ghegs and the Southern Tosks were the 2 main reasons to designate Tirana as the capital city.
From the 1920s and on Tirana has infused Italian architecture into it's city center. Italian planners created the gigantic Skanderbeg square, memorializing the national hero of Albania, with surrounding ministry buildings, the Town Hall, and other like buildings. As for much of past Ottoman influences in Tirana, natural disasters of earthquakes, disrepair, and Albanian Communism all but demolished traces of Ottoman existences; Et'hem Bey Mosque on the perimeter of Skanderbeg square is an important Ottoman architectural item which has survived.
Tirana in general is a walking city rich with Albanian life. Numerous, brightly colored apartment blocks pour thousands of locals into Tirana who go to work/university by foot, bicycle, and bus. After 5pm a plethora of Albanians looking to relax in the numerous parks, cafes, restaurants, and side-street markets make Tirana a great city to see the life blood of Albania. Tirana is also the main city which rural Albanians flock to from greater Albania for a better life so a wide range of Albanian life and customs can be seen.
Geography: Central (Central) Albania
Transport: Airport, Bus, Mini-Bus, Rail (Tirana-to-Durres), Shared Taxi, Taxi, Tour
Local Activities: Walking, bicycling, shopping plazas (free shuttle bus near the National Museum), cafes, parks, lakes, monuments, Albanian city life, clubs, bars, university life.