Tirana History, Albania
Tirana is Albania’s largest city and serves as the country’s capital. Although Tirana’s history is relatively recent compared to that of the Albanian people, Tirana has managed to become the country’s economic, cultural and administrative center. This fast development is partially justified by the favorable geographic position, which allowed the traders from Tirana to establish commercial relationships with both Western and Eastern Europe. The fertile lands around Tirana have been inhabited since Paleolithic, but the works of antique and medieval historians contain no reference to a town named Tirana.
Tirana History – Tirana under Ottoman Rule
The city’s official birth year is 1614, when Suleiman Pasha Muletti, an Ottoman leader, founded Tirana by building a mosque, some shops and a Turkish bath. Back then, the Ottoman Empire was in full ascension, so Tirana grew as an important trade centre, specialized in the production and export of olive oil. The Et’hem Bey Mosque, finished in 1821 with the help of the most skilled masons and artisans, is a reminder of Tirana’s first centuries of existence.
Tirana History – Tirana in the 19th Century
The beginning of the 19th century is also marked by the arrival of the first Christian settlers. An Orthodox church was built in 1780 and a Catholic church sponsored by the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph was constructed in 1865. As everywhere in Europe, this century represented a time for patriotic awakening. The Albanian language came to be taught in public schools in 1889 and, following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Albania became and independent state in 1912.
Tirana History – Contemporary Tirana
Tirana’s status as the country’s capital didn’t last long: in the early ‘20s, Tirana had to face several attacks coming from the Serbian army and the Revolution of June lead by Fan. S. Noli. In 1928, Ahmet Zogu proclaimed himself the king of Albania, and Tirana became the object of an ambitious reconstruction plan, lead by Italian architects. Following a short period of Nazi and Italian fascists’ occupancy, Albania became a communist republic in 1944. During the communist period, Tirana suffered a serious transformation, with numerous institutions, streets and residential areas being built after the principles of Stalinist architecture. After the fall of the communist regime, Tirana suffered a rather painful transition. With the arrival of the new millennium, Tirana’s officials adopted a new urban development plan, trying to restore the historic buildings and parks, and stop the sometimes abusive and illegal construction of residences. If this article about Tirana history has raised your interest, check out the cheap flights to Tirana and from New York City to Tirana guides for the best travel deals.
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