Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has a never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, pubs, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth discovering by both day and night. The value and hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country. There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti). Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built between 1798 and 1812) and the 35 m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola. Next, you can visit the famous Mosaic uncovered on the floor of an old Roman lodge. Its center configures the walls of the castle of the Roman emperor Justinian (A.D. 520). The monumental Tomb of Kapllan Pasha and the Ura e Tabakëve (a bridge constructed in the beginning of the 19th century, located on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark) are other interesting place to visit. As a capital, Tirana has the country’s finest museums, theatres, and galleries representing the national arts. A visit to the National History Museum, the Archeological Museum, the private “Mezuraj Museum,” and the National Gallery of the Arts will leave wonderful memories. You can also pass a pleasant evening in the National Theatre or the Opera and Ballet Theatre. For dining, Tirana will be glad to offer you both a rich traditional cuisine and a variety of foreign fares, from Italian to Chinese, . There are also several clubs and restaurants in Mount Dajti to discover and enjoy. There is the possibility to travel there by cable car, which is a very special experience. In the region of Tirana you may also visit the castles of Petrela and Preza, as well as some natural attractions, such as Pëllumbasi Cave, Shkalla e Tujanit, and much more.
Et’hem Haji Bey began to build the clock tower in the years 1881-1882 and ended it with the help of the richest families of Tirana.
In 1928 the Albanian state bought an hour in Germany and raised the tower to 35m. During World War II, the tower was damaged but was repaired in 1946. Until 1971 it was the highest building in Tirana.
Bashtova Castle is situated close to the village of Bashtova, about 3-4 km north of the Shkumbini River estuary. The castle was built in the 15th century CE and was used by the Venetians. In the past, the Bashtova region was known as a harbor on the Shkumbini River and as a center for the export of cereal grains. The castle has a rectangular shape, 60 x 90 meters, with 9 meter high walls. The western part of the castle was rebuilt in the 18th century CE.
Bektashi World Headquarters
The Bektashi Way is a mystical path whose goal is to perfect man’s soul. It is the path which guides the believer and brings him to his ultimate goal: closeness to God. As a doctrine originating from Islamic principles, Bektashism has its own interpretation of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and the Twelve Holy Imams. Bektashism respectsall monotheist faiths. The late Baba Rexheb presented clearly the fundaments of Bektashi doctrine and history in his well-known book The Mysticism of Islam and Bektashism (Detroit, 1970). History reveals that Bektashism was founded by the Sufi mystic Hajji Bektash Veli in the 13th century. In his time, he had 320 Missionaries who he sent to various places throughout Anatolia and the Balkans. This path developed through a long line of spiritual successors to Hajji Bektash Veli, such as: Balım Sultan, Kalender Shah, Sersem Ali Dede, Turabi Ali Dede, Mehmet Perishan Dede, Hasan Dede, Ibrahim Dede, Halil HakkıDede, Hajji Feyzullah Dede, Salih Niyazi Dede etc. This process of growth and mutual exchange, with experiences and positive learning of the time and its values, kept and made richer the Bektashi tradition and throughout the centuries especially between the various ethnic groups and nations that it touched. Because of this continuous process, Bektashism become recognized in the world for its spirituality. By means of their particular hierarchy, Bektashi tekkes (lodges) played an important role in the religious life of various places of the world. Bektashi babas and the dervishes spread their mystical interpretation of Islam throughout Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, and even established a presence in Egypt, Iraq and Hungary. From the documentation we known that Bektashis had a main center for preparing their dervishes in the distinguished tekke near the town of Dimetokia (in Greece; now destroyed), where some 400 dervishes studies every year. That tekke had its own library that was one of the richest in the world. It was there also that Bektashism took on its hierarchical structure with its own individuality, making it an important part of history and a spiritual treasure from all the nations of the world. This value can be recognized in the attitude of Bektashis for being forward-looking in their time, place and culture facing the various problems of the world with calmness and tolerance, aiding in the peaceful interaction with all peoples of faith.
Catholic Church Heart of Christ
Tirana’s oldest surviving Catholic church is the Roman-style Jesuit church, built by Giovanni Santi (from Udine in Italy) in 1939. In 1967, when all the religious activity in Albania was banned, it was stripped of its frescoes and turned into a cinema and artistic club for the youth. It reopened as a church in 1991, with two chapels repainted in 1999. Visitors are welcomed in the morning and afternoon.
Et-hem Beu mosque
This is the only still existing mosque out of eight mosques that were built in Tirana in century XVIII-XIX. Its foundation was laid by Molla Bey at the end of the century XVIII, and the chapel was completed by his son Haji Ethem Bey in the first quarter of the century XIX. Molla Bey managed to build the dome of the mosque, unable to finish the minaret, the portico, the plastering and the decoration of the mosque’s walls because he died.
His son Haji Et’ehem Bey finished the roof of the mosque, built the porch and decorated the mosques with paintings and ornaments.
Preza Castle overlooks the village with the the same name and is located on a hilltop. It is a small castle, the construction of which was started in the 14th century CE and was completed in the early 15th century CE. It belonged to the Topias, a local feudal family. It has four towers, one in each corner. The clock tower was erected between 1800-1850 CE. People appreciate it for its location, with a view overlooking the plain of Tirana. The castle is quite close to the “Mother Theresa” International Airport. A restaurant and other service facilities are located inside the castle.
Kapllan Pasha’s Tomb
Kapllan Pasha’s Tomb is located on “28 Nëntori” street in Tirana. It is part of a monumental cemetery complex of the first Tirana Mosque, which was destroyed during the Second World War. The complex included six other monumental graves of the same type, but with varying dimensions. The only tomb remaining today is that of Kapllan Pasha, a former ruler of Tirana. The tomb has an octagonal shape reaching 4 meters high. Kapllan Pasha’s remains were later exhumed and reburied in Istanbul.
The Përsqop Fortress
The Përsqop Fortress is located south of Tirana, near Petrela Castle. The inhabitants of Petrela Castle once used this fortress perched atop the Vila Mountain. The Illyrians constructed the basic structure and then eventually the Romans expanded it. Remnants of an aqueduct are still visible to the northeast of the fortification.
The Tunners Bridge
The Tunners Bridge (Ura e Tabakëve) is a small stone bridge, 7.5 meters high, located on “Jeanne d’Arc” Boulevard in Tirana. It was also called “Saint George’s Bridge.” Today it is a restored monument. It was build up in the first half of XIX Century .
In the district of Tirana you may also visit the Ethnographic Museum in the town of Kavaja , the Kubelie Mosque and Clock Tower in Kavaja ,the church of Ceta in the village of Zig- Xhafaj etc .
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