17/01/2020

Tracking the traces of Skanderbeg

If you need a tour to some traces of Skanderbeg, we offer for you a special one, the Skanderbeg Tour in Tirana. 

Albania has many castles and most of them are built during the area of Skanderbeg in 14th and 15th centuries. Even though none of his battles has done around Tirana, the capital of Albania is strongly related with his figure. The main biggest square is named Skanderbeg Square and in the middle of it is Scanderbeg statue, created by Odhise Paskali, and inaugurated in 1968 on the 500th anniversary of the death of Skanderbeg.

Skanderbeg monument in Tirana

We start by visiting this square, and then continue to the National Museum, just to the pavilion of Skanderbeg History.

Skanderbeg monument in Tirana

Than we continue to Kruja, to visit the Museum of Skanderbeg there. It is just 50 minutes distance from Tirana, and for sure you will come back full of knowledge about history of Skanderbeg, the hero of Albanians. The city was the centre of Albanian resistance against the Ottomans under our National Hero Scanderbeg.

Skanderbeg monument in Tirana

He kept the Ottoman armies from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Athleta Christi” (Champion of Christ) awarded by the Pope of the time. We will visit the Skanderbeg Museum and a rich Ethnographic Museum with almost all items being original from the end of the 19th century. You can also walk through Kruja’s famous Bazaar full of traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Don’t leave without buying very old souvenirs from this authentic bazaar.

Skanderbeg monument in Tirana

We turn back to Tirana, and visit the Castle of Sister of Skanderbeg in Petrela. The Petrela Castle was part of the signaling and defense system of the Kruja Castle. The castles signaled to each other by means of fires. During Skanderbeg’s fight against the Ottomans, the Petrela Castle used to be under the command of Mamica Kastrioti, Skanderbeg's sister. Today there is a restaurant inside the castle. The castle site has views of the Erzen valley, the hills, olive groves, and surrounding mountains. Castles of Tirana

There are other traces of Skanderbeg and many other ruins and castles, such as Rodon Castle, the hidden castle of Skanderbeg in Kurbin,  Baleci in Shkodra, Stelushit, Guri i Bardhe etc. 

14/01/2020

Migjeni Boulevard in Kashar is now accessible

Tirana launches its second 100th anniversary as the capital of Albania with a new boulevard. Today was opened for 80 thousand civilions of Kashar area "Migjeni" boulevard, an important investment that connects the New Ring with the road "Three Martyrs" and Yzberisht. Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj and deputy Blerina Gjylameti assured that investments in the area will continue.

The mayor has also mentioned the addition of Vaqarr as an additional district of the Kombinat area. So the Kombinat bus will go to one station more. We also have some other plans, between Kombinat and Kashar, where we want to establish the free economic zone of Tirana ”, Veliaj said.

Bulevardi i ri

Kashar Boulevard has two lanes for each movement, bike lanes and pedestrian routes. Whereas, in this boulevard with modern dimensions, are also defined areas for greenery, lighting system, lines. The opening of the road "Kadri Roshi" also brings significant relief to the citizens by increasing the urbanization of this area that in the transition years has experienced a large increase in population.

07/01/2020

New bus terminals in Tirana for 2020

The 100th anniversary of Tirana as capital of Albania will find Tirana not only with a new ring road, but also with a new terminal. With the resumption of works in the Astiri area, the Municipality of Tirana has moved the terminal to the south and north buses, from the area known as the former Customs to the provisional terminal near the turn of Kamza. “We have started the new year with concrete work, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of Tirana Capital. It took Tirana 100 years to get to this day where it is today, but I believe we can't wait another 100 years to make some very important decisions. One of them is the Great Ring Road of Tirana, which traverses the entire area of ​​Rr. "Teodor Keko", or as it is known, the area of ​​Astir" the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj said. Because of this road construction, the new terminal of busses will be shift to another part of the city, in a larger space, which will accomodate 63 bus stations north and south, while the southeast will continue to be located to the Student City and the large parking lot there.

Terminali i ri

There will be also 4 urban bus routes that will have a station adjacent to the bus terminal; thus, the 'City Park' line of Kamza, the Institute line and the 'New Tirana' quarter will stop there, to take passengers in the direction they want in Tirana, avoiding the chaos at ‘Eagle Square’. Mayor Veliaj asked for the cooperation and understanding of the citizens until the transfer takes place. He underlined that the new bus terminal will also be harmonized with the train terminal for Rinas or Durres.

Terminali i ri

Another good news is the construction of the new southeast terminal for Tirana. Within this year we will finally have the southeast terminal in Farka area, in addition to the central terminal at the western entrance of Tirana, here at the turn of Kamza, to return to a modern city, where the entrances and gates of the city are separated for inter-city transport ”, underlined Veliaj. The new terminal will serve 43 southbound and 20 northbound lines, bringing not only better conditions but ease of circulation.

06/01/2020

What to do in January in Tirana

The coldest month of the year is here. January 2020 starts with very low temperatures in Tirana and all over Albania. It is expected to have some snow in Tirana during this month. But, for sure there will be snow in Dajti Mountain in January. So, you can find a moment to have a ride with Cable Car and to experience a fantastic adventure to the nearest mount of Tirana. It will take only 20 minutes and you will find yourself in the place you want to be..

What to do in January in Tirana

Tirana is a very quiet city this month. There are smaller crowds in the streets, therefore walking is a good choice.  

In this month people usually enjoy having a hot coffee, chocolate or any hot drink, and of course a good lunch or dinner in a very warm place, possibly closer to the fireplace. The bars and restaurants as always are fully booked.

What to do in January in Tirana

For those who want to experience more from Tirana here are some festive days and events

In 6th of January, the Epiphany day is celebrated by Orthodox and Catholic believers. It is mostly celebrated in south of Albania where a wooden cross is thrown by a priest into the sea, river or lake and young men race to retrieve it. According to the rite, the first man who gets the cross is blessed and will have a vintage year. While many Orthodox Christians annually celebrate Christmas day on January 7 to remember Jesus Christ’s birth, described in the Christian Bible. This date works to the Julian calendar.

For those who love theater “Boeing Boeing” comedy would be the perfect choice or the Russian satiric comedy “The Auditor”. Kids are not left behind either with adorable shows such as “Tickets to the north pole”.

For all of those addicted to art, The National Historical Museum besides historical pavilions, has opened exhibitions, almost every week. But the tickets’ price has changed.

Check the full information here .

Besides weekly exhibitions of the National Historical Museum you can follow the personal exhibition of Blerta Xhomo or “Kucedra” exhibition which will be opened during this whole month

What to do in January in Tirana

Don’t forget to contact VisitTirana for organizing tailored tours outside the city, in the nature destinations, or villages, but also other tours in the city.

During your stay in Tirana you are always invited to post your photos in our social media contests. #TiranaWinter2020 is open and will end in 29 February. You have a chance to be a winner.

30/12/2019

New Year's Eve fireworks show at Skanderbeg Square

Tirana is a lively city, just like all the other European capitals.  But the city warms up especially during the New Year night, when all the young people go out on the streets to celebrate. There will be also a festive concert for the New Year’s Eve which will begin at 23:00, at Skanderbeg Square. Famous Albanian artists will perform their popular songs. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the concert and count down for the fireworks spectacle and exchange hugs and kisses with their beloved ones.

It is a tradition now that people stay at home for New Year night until 12.00 h, and in the midnight they fill the city centre to see the concert organized every year by the Municipality and to enjoy the spectacle of fireworks.  The mayor of Tirana said that the fireworks show in Midnight for New Year 2020 will be the biggest and the most beautiful we have ever seen. 2020 is the year when Tirana becomes 100 years old as Capital of Albania, that is why this year is so special 

 New Year in Tirana

Anyway, it is cold and no one want to stay for a long time on the streets, so they go to the bars to drink in company with good friends and celebrate until the early morning of 1st January.

All the bars, especially in Block Area, are open after midnight. For some of them you must book your seat days before. It depends on what the bars are offering for the ‘After Midnight Party’. The prices range from 500 All- 5000 All. It may include just the entrance ticket, or in some cases the drinks or light foods are included, it depends from each bar to another. Live music or with DJ, people dance all the night. They also sing together waiting the first day of New Year in festive atmosphere.

 New Year in Tirana

But we recommend you to be careful from incidents. Drunken people may cause some noises in the streets. The police officers will be doubled that night to control the drivers and traffic, also to prevent the arising problems.

27/12/2019

New Year’s Eve tradition in Albania

The dinner for New Year’s Eve is really a long tradition for Albanians. Differently from other European countries who celebrate Christmas in family, for Albanians the New Year's Eve dinner is the most important one.

New Year day in communism...

During the dictatorship regime, the Christmas Day, had no meaning, since Enver Hoxha established an atheist state. According to state archive the last Christmas wish, dated back in 1966, in a document which shows a telegram from the Head of Orthodox Church of Albania wishing Christmas to the Head of Albanian Catholic Church. We didn’t celebrate any religion day for more than 40 years. The most festive day of the year was the 31 st  of December.  Parents would  gets some toys for their kids, the shops were full with different foods we couldn’t find other time of the year.

The housewives took one day off to clean the house washing everything from curtains, blankets and carpets. The conversations in those days were all about how people progressed with cleaning buying and cooking. By cleaning and buying some small extras for the house, people were wishing and hoping that the  New Year would find them happier and in a better living conditions. 

It was related  also to another tradition on the first days of January, Albanians visited the houses of each other, relatives and neighbors, to wish Happy New Year.  In the morning you would visit your relative’s house, in the afternoon or the next day they would come and visit you. It was a competition feeling, who would offer more sweets, drinks, dried and fresh fruits and deserts. 

This festive day has to do more with the Food.  The food preparation started a week before the New Year with cooking the Bakllava (the traditional desert for New Year).

 traditional desert for New Year
Cooking the Bakllava, Source: Instagram-alta_group_albania

We recall that atmosphere of preparing for the big night, everyone was running to shops, to buy all food they could, and every family aimed at having a richer meal than previous year.  People invited each other, to have more relatives around the table, and to wait the New Year altogether. Albanians have been poor, but with a big heart, so no one was alone that day. People were also optimistic and always liked to project the coming year as more prosperous one.

Traditional food

The traditional dish has always been the baked or roasted turkey. People served it in different ways but the most favorable is with “Pershesh” (baked corn cake all mashed). But other areas for example in Gjirokaster prefer ‘meat pie ’, or  different lakrors. The people living close to sea or lake, prefered the fish or seafood. But most of them put in the table different kinds of meat, baked or cooked with plenty of side dishes. The table should be full with salads, desserts, drinks, and fruits, even in the families with few members.

Traditional food in Tirana
Traditional Food

People would dine and watch the special TV programs with music and humor that were prepared nationally with  actors from each city of Albania. The program lasted after midnight and then the public TV would show an exclusive movie until 2-3 in the morning. There was only one Public TV Channel. 

Tv programs for new year in Tirana
TV Programs for New year in Albania Source:Youtube, Artistët Shqiptarë

 

But this tradition is changing. Now families are cooking enough for themselves, serving the dishes they like most, for example sea foods, salads, or cold dishes or new recipes. There are still many families preserving  the tradition, which we really like. Nowadays it is trendy to celebrate the New Year in different restaurants, who are offering delicious menus. 

27/12/2019

Over 6 ml tourists visited Albania in Jan- Nov 2019

Over 6.1 million foreign citizens visited Albania in the first 11 months of this year, according to the data, published by INSTAT, the National Institute of Statistics. This means that the tourism was increased by 8.3 percent comparing to the same period January to November of the last year. In total Albania was visited by 6 117 330 tourists.

Instat

During the period, the country with the highest inflows of citizens in Albania is Switzerland, increasing with 19.7%, while the tourists from Poland declined with 14.0% comparing with the same period of the previous year.

tourist in Albania

According to INSTAT, in November only, the number of foreign citizens visiting Albania reached 268,176, increasing by 8.7 percent compared to the same month last year. In November the highest number of tourists came from Spain and the lowest from North Macedonia.

26/12/2019

What Albanians buy for the New Year

The new year eve is the period where Albanians spent money.  It is becoming a tradition now to buy presents for the new year not only for the kids and family but also for other relatives.

But what Albanians love to buy?

Seasonal gift baskets

This festive season is all about food and wine. So, the first gifts are baskets which are filled with ‘panetone’, sweets, honey, olive oil, chocolates and the most important is Wine or other drinks. Seasonal gift baskets you can find in all supermarkets, but also in special shops for these kinds of products, such as wine, olive oil etc.

What Albanians buy for the New Year

Books and Albums

The second present are books. Even though the highest season for buying books is the November, because of the Book Fair, the biggest in the country, people tend to buy books, albums, cards for the New year. That is why in some book store you can see some offers or sales for the books. The best seller are photo albums and cards. We suggest for this season the "Tirana 2018" photo album, which is a festive book, and you can find in the bookstores of Adrion, Albania, Miqte e Librit, Libraria Tabaket, Qendra Stefan etj , but also you can order it online at Bukinist

What Albanians buy for the New Year

Smartphones

Some people tend to spend more for the New Year, probably to do the best gift of the year to make happy their relatives. Smartphones or other electronic devices are also best gifts for this year. There are always some sales for these products during this season

Jewellery and clothes

A good watch or a necklace is always a favourable gift especially among couples. People love to do such presents to their loved ones. It is hardly to find sales in this product, but it is always an option. You can choose to buy even some souvenirs not expensive gifts in this regard

Many people continue to buy some new clothes for the New Year, even though here are not applied big sales like in UK with Boxing day. But there are some sales at TEG, in the main brands and you can profit maybe some good quality clothes.

...But is better to donate

But remember this festive season is all about donation, sharing what you have with other people. If you want to buy new clothes, take your oldest one, or what you don’t want to wear anymore, and give them to people in need. It will be good not to spend in luxury, but make possible that a poor family you know, or living close to you, to have enough food in the table. If everyone donates some money and food to the people in need, they also will feel the best festive season ever.

What Albanians buy for the New Year

23/12/2019

Arilena Ara is the winner of Song Fest’58

Arilena Ara is officially the winner of Fest '58, the RTSH Festival of Songs, and will represent Albania at the European Song Festival, who will be held in the Netherlands on May 16, 2020. Her song "Shaj" has been the most liked of the 12 songs of the third night. The singer from Shkodra, Arilena Ara year after year has launched successful songs for the Albanian public. It has over 154 million views on YouTube with songs like "November", "I’m sorry", "Nallane 3", "Airplane", "Rock the Earth", "Snow in December" and more.

In second place was listed Elvana Gjata and in third place Sara Bajraktari. At the 58th festival were invited two world-famous singers, Albanian origin singer Eleni Foureira, winner of the second prize at the 2019 Eurovision, and Italian singer Giusy Ferreri, who with their songs created an extraordinary atmosphere in the Palace of Congresses.

Arilena Ara will be the 17th Albanian representative in Eurovision. A year ago, Albania was represented by Jonida Maliqi with the song ‘Ktheju Tokës’. Every year Albania sends ballads to Eurovision, and it has been the constant demand of the public to bring more rhythmic songs. But in this Eurovision Albania will perform again with a ballad, with the song 'Shaj' of Arilena.

Albania participated in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2004. The broadcast channel, Albanian Radio Television (RTSH), has been the organizer of the Eurovision Song Contest qualifier since its debut. The Albanian Song Festival has been organized every year since 1962. But the singer who represented Albania for the first time in Eurovision was Anjeza Shahini with the song "Your Image", which won the Albanian Song Festival in 2003. She was ranked the 7th in the Grand Finale. While the best Albanian performance in Eurovision was in 2012, with singer Rona Nishliu, who was ranked the 5th, with the song “Suus”.

20/12/2019

La Radura - the newest attraction in Tirana

“La Radura” installation, a piece of art created by the Italian architect Stefano Boeri, is the newest attraction added to Tirana. The architect Stefano Boer himself was present at the inauguration of his work "La Radura", which is located behind the premise building. Boeri also explained the symbolism of this work of art.

He said the wood used for the "La Radura" installation comes from areas between Friuli and Trentino, an area long time ago affected by a storm that knocked down more than 15 million trees. The constituent wood is made of red spruce, and according to Boeri this tragedy of the Italian forests was indelible for everyone, and also the main reason that pushed him to create this type of art.

Besides “Reja” installation at the Art Gallery, this is another installation added to our capital, where citizens, organizations and institutions can organize various meetings and events in an open environment.

13/12/2019

The winners of #TiranaAutumn2019

The winners of photo contest #TiranaAutumn2019 have been announced on 12th of December by Visit Tirana. This competition was fulfilled with photos who captured the colors of autumn. All the photos were posted on Instagram, thereby allowing everyone to express their talent and get compliments from the different users. The photos had the autumn colors of yellow, brown and gray. Visit Tirana selected 10 best photos of the contest and later on the three finalists.

The winners are:

First Place: Olsi Bogdani (Tirana in a rainy day)

Winners of #TiranaAutumn2019 photo contest announced

 

Second Place: Artemisa Kola (Tirana Lake foggy day)

Winners of #TiranaAutumn2019 photo contest announced

 

Third Place: Arjola Dula (Autumn view from Dajti Mountain)

Winners of #TiranaAutumn2019 photo contest announced

 

This was 12th photo contest organized by Visit Tirana and during these three years it has shown to be one of the best ways to promote the city. By developing their passion for photography, the young generation subconsciously gets involved into promoting of the capital.

The competition ran in social media channels but mostly on Instagram from 1 September 2019 to 30 November 2019. The top three selected photos will be part of the #TiranaPhotoFestival2020 exhibition.

10/12/2019

Christmas and New Year's Eve in Tirana

Tirana is getting ready for New Year celebrations, we promise it is going to be better than anytime, a big concert with most famous Albanian singers, fireworks spectacle, numerous offers from restaurants and after-night bars and a lot of other surprised await.  

There are two Christmas markets at: Sheshi Skenderbeg and Pazari i Ri where most people gather and celebrate with friends. It is in our tradition that we celebrate at home with families and after midnights we like to go out at Scanderbeg square and see the fireworks spectacle and enjoy the atmosphere.   

Tirana is full of modern and traditional restaurants, which are serving delicious food with very affordable price for everyone. December is the festive month, so all the restaurants are offering special menu for New Year's Eve. 

Here we some of our selected offers, to dine and go afterparty. 

Ballkoni i Dajtit

Well, if you want to see the city from above, and opt for a unique place with an amazing view, Ballkoni i Dajtit is the best choice. Exclusively for the new year celebrations, Dajti is offering two packages for everyone, including the cable car ticket  and a delicious lunch or dinner menu, with a good price.

Where to celebrate New Year in Tirana

Elite Palace

Elite Palace stands out for its elegant interior, fantastic cuisine and panoramic views of Tirana. To welcome the New Year the way it should, Elite Palace promises a magical atmosphere with exclusive dishes, festive décor and music. For those of you who want accommodation, the modern Elite rooms will make you feel like royalty.

Where to celebrate New Year in Tirana

 

 

Hotel Colosseo

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with tasty food and music at Hotel Colosseo, located at Adem Jashari square, near city center. The rich menu, cozy atmosphere and selected music are some of the reasons to welcome New Year at Hotel Colosseo Tirana.

Where to celebrate New Year in Tirana

Gambero Gourmet

Gambero Gourmet offers two special menus for the Christmas dinner: one for the sea food lovers and one for meat lovers. One thing for sure, whichever menu you choose, you will be amazed by the exquisite taste and the elegant ambience of Gambero Gourmet.

Where to celebrate New Year in Tirana

 

Uka Farm

Uka Farm is one of those restaurants that offers the perfect view for a dining and perfect wine. For this year, Uka Farm has prepared a mixed menu of fresh organic vegetables and tasty meat cuisine. Uka Farm is perfect for everyone who enjoys traditional food and nature at its best.

Where to celebrate New Year in Tirana