Tirana

Europe

Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1925 and has changed completley within the past decade from being a drab rundown place under communist rule to an almost new city buzzing with life and activity both day and night its inhabitants delight to frequent the areas and places which were forbidden to them during the socialist regime s if they were compensating themselves for past losses.

It is not so easy to get there. There are international flight to Mother Teresa airport which is about 25 kilometres from the city centre and you can travel the rest of your journey by bus or taxi or minibus, or indeed if you want to take risks on bad roads with careless drivers you can hire a car from well-known  international car hire companies if you are pepared to take the risk of driving against reckless local drivers on poor roads.You can enter by boat from the south and be prepared to wait until the bus driver has a full quota of passengers. By car this journey should take about twenty minutes. Be sure if you take a taxi to fix the cost before you begin your journey.  When you are in Tirana you can walk to most places. But you can find several taxi ranks scattered all over the city.

Here are just a few of the sights that you can visit.There is a marvellous National History museum which is world famous.  The central mosque is ancient. The clock tower and the art galleries are well worth a visit.  There are different  cathedrals belonging to the different churches which are in the process  of recovering from the socialist regime. The Martyrs’Cemetery is where 900 of the victims of World War 11 are laid to rest and the body of the last cruel dictator was removed from there following the downfall of socialism. You can take a cable car up to the top of Mount Dajti for a great view of the surrounding countryside and the mountains. There you can take part in trekking, skysports, skiing and hiking and even motor biking. And there is a great variety of restaurants and hotels up there to refresh you after your mountain sports. Maybe the most exciting is in the centre where people were strictly forbidden to go during the communist regime. It is the Biloku, which was the residence of the hated dictator until he was ousted in 1995 and now it is crowded with the younger folk all night as if in defiance of the past.

There are many hotels here from low to five star grade. There are breakfast restaurants where you can eat on your way home in the early morning from the night club.There are vegetarian restaurants and you tell them what you want to eat. You can sit in a kind of hunting lodge and feel the heat of an open hearth fire fuelled with wood.

Really when you leave Tirana, and it is just as difficult to go out as to come in, you will leave partof yourself behind you and you will want to return there again.