06/08/2019

Albanians' interest in culture is growing

The total number of cultural performances in the second quarter of 2019 is 372, up by 28.3% compared to the second quarter of 2018. According to the newly published statistics of INSTAT (National Institute of Statistics), there is an increased interest in culture, such as theater shows, opera and ballet, exhibitions and plenty of events.

INSTAT- Rritet interesi i shqiptarëve për kulturën

In the second quarter of 2019, 18 premieres were held at the central institutions of arts and culture, unchanged from the second quarter 2018. In the second quarter 2019, the number of spectators is 71,970, up 46.9%, compared to the same period a year ago. The average attendance in the second quarter of 2019 is 193 spectators per show from 169 spectators in the second quarter 2018.

INSTAT- Rritet interesi i shqiptarëve për kulturën

Central institutions of art and culture

In the second quarter 2019, the National Experimental Theater is the institution that performed the highest number of performances in total, with 143 such, 24 more performances, compared to the second quarter 2018. The National Theater of Opera, Ballet and Popular Ensemble has performed the highest number of premieres, 12 premieres, two more, compared to the same period last year.

INSTAT- Rritet interesi i shqiptarëve për kulturën

In the second quarter of 2019, the National Experimental Theater is the institution with the highest number of spectators, with 19,154, marking an increase of 30.3% compared to the same period a year earlier. The average number of spectators per show has increased, from 169 spectators per show, in the second quarter of 2018, to 193 spectators per show, in the second quarter 2019. Growth is at 14.5%.

Cultural heritage

The total number of visitors to museums, fortresses and archaeological parks in the second quarter of 2019 is 331,767, up 3.0% compared to the second quarter of last year. Of the total visitors to cultural heritage institutions, 103,536 are museum visitors, 97,446 visitors to other castles and monuments, and 130,785 are visitors to archaeological parks.

In the second quarter 2019, the total number of foreign visitors to museums, fortresses and archaeological parks was 178,560, an increase of 24.7% compared to the second quarter 2018. During the second quarter 2019, across heritage institutions There is a higher percentage of foreign visitors compared to domestic visitors.

National Library

In the second quarter 2019, the number of library unit services is 27,180 units, up 29.3% compared to the second quarter of 2018. In the second quarter 2019, the number of readers at the National Library is 37,026, marking an increase with 63.6%, compared to the same period a year earlier. In the second quarter of 2019, the National Library displayed 1,118 new titles and 3,699 new copies.

 

Source: Revista Monitor

30/07/2019

Fërgesa Fest dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana

The Fërgesa Fest returns for the second year in a row, this time inside the Fortress of Tirana. The festival dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana brought together some of Tirana's best traditional restaurants, presenting their specialties during the food fair.

Fërgesa Fest dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana

Many citizens attended this event, including curious tourists eager to learn more about this traditional dish.

The activity started late in the morning and continued until late in the evening. The Mayor of the Municipality, Mr. Veliaj attended the opening ceremony of the festival.

Fërgesa Fest dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana

The National Circus as well as the Tirana Ensemble lighten up the atmosphere with their stunning performances.

Fërgesa Fest dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana

Fërgesa Fest dedicated to the traditional dish of Tirana

29/07/2019

What to do in August in Tirana

From long nights by the lake to concerts at Amphitheater, Open air cinemas, long walks on the parks and vibrant nightlife are some of the things you can do in Tirana in August.

For those who might think that there aren’t many things to do in Tirana (since it’s not a coastal city) during August, we will tell you the opposite. It is true that in August Tirana is quieter, but only during the hottest hours of the day.

What to do in August in Tirana

During the afternoons and evenings in Tirana, you see so much exuberance in the main centers. Skanderbeg Square is the place where all the people gather, families and friends, youngsters stroll around the biggest square in the country. The number of tourists is high in August, and you can see them in the city center taking picture everywhere. While two other famous attractions: The New Bazaar and the Castle of Tirana are always full of people, almost every day you will find activities being held at these important spots of Tirana.

What to do in August in Tirana

During weekends you can go to Erzen River to refresh, the Cyclops’ Eye natural gem or in the many lakes of Tirana. Swimming pools are another option and you can find many of them in the suburbs of Tirana.

What to do in August in Tirana

To enjoy the fresh air and escape from the summer heat, go to Dajti Mountain and enjoy a fantastic day starting with the cable car ride to the Adventure Park and a good lunch at Ballkoni Dajti restaurant. Also, you can choose to visit other green areas around Tirana, and we have a list here.

What to do in August in Tirana

The museums are open all through August. From the National History Museum, House of Leaves, House Museum of Ismail Kadare, Bunk'Art you can visit them in August.

For you who are passionate about art and exhibitions this month you must visit the "Leonardo - Opera Omnia" exhibition at the National Historical Museum where there are displayed 17 Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings reproduced with advanced technology with high quality and in original proportions. The exhibition will remain open until 10th of August.

What to do in August in Tirana

While every Tuesday at Reja, you can watch movies where the protagonists are the Italian actresses such as: Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Gina LolloBrigida. A program prepared by the Italian Institute of Culture.

These are our recommendations to help you explore Tirana and attend the most interesting activities in the vibrant capital of Albania.

We wish you a pleasant stay!

29/07/2019

Health tourism is seeing growth in Albania

Health Tourism in Albania is on the rise. According to the latest statics of INSTAT, for the first six months of the year, the number of people entering in Albania for healthcare services was 444, an increase of 270% compared to the same period of the previous year, which were 120. Throughout the year 2018, the total number was 276.

Health tourism is seeing growth in Albania

Regarding the increased numbers, market actors argee that there was a better co-ordination, which began at the end of last year between domestic health providers (mostly private) and foreign and Albanian agencies attracting tourists.

Market actors claim that Italians generally come to Albania for rhinoplasty (nose job), as prices are 50% cheaper than in Italy, while British are preferring and in vitro services.

Why Albania?

In the recent years most of foreign media describe Albania as a safe country with exceptional natural beauty. International flights connect Tirana Airport with most of the destinations in the world. Tirana has become a modern city where English is widely spoken, tourism infrastructure is good and foreign visitors will have a safe and secure stay.

Private clinics are working in this direction, as their location is mainly in the capital, to attract potential foreign clients. Plastic surgery is seeing a higher development than other interventions, because according to market actors, the emergence of such an intervention is not high (mainly done for aesthetic not for health problems, unlike other interventions), which enables them to have fun as tourists.

Albania continues to be preferred in dental tourism as a result of favorable prices and affiliated clinics with foreign partner agencies, hair transplanting services, in vitro fertilization, which is mainly preferred by Italians and British, as well as plastic surgery, leading the rhinoplasty, lip fillers and breast remodeling.

Source: Revista Monitor

28/07/2019

Around Tirana Lake on a bike

Many of you might think that Tirana doesn’t offer to much fun or activities during summer weekends but let us tell you the opposite.

Just imagine the fun and relax riding a bike around the Artificial Lake of Tirana. If don’t own a bike, don’t worry you can rent one once you enter at the Grand Park of Tirana, they are open from 8:30 am until night.

Around Tirana Lake on a bike

We recommend you start from “Diga” (dam) and continue to follow the bike lane around the lake.  You will enjoy the fresh air and views. You can stop every time you want to take pictures or photograph the swans swimming peacefully on the lake.

The highlight of this bike line is when you reach the road covered on both sides with big trees, you hear the signing birds the fresh air touching waving your hair.

Around Tirana Lake on a bike

27/07/2019

Zana Candies -Albanian candies from 80’

Karamele Zana were simple caramel sweets that you could find everywhere in the Good Old Days. Zana caramels were originally produced by Albanian vineyards in the 1980s. At that time, they were wrapped in a memorable first layer transparent red paper outside and a second layer white paper inside.

Zana Candies -Albanian candies from 80’

Surviving the fall of the Communist regime, they remained in the Albanian market even after the 1990s.

For those who still have nostalgia for these candies, you can find them in Tirana. We have tried it at the Komiteti Kafe-Muze, you can also buy them at the Insifa Candy House at the Castle of Tirana.

Zana Candies -Albanian candies from 80’

Zana Candies -Albanian candies from 80’

19/07/2019

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

Rinia Park (Youth Park) the public park in the center of Tirana will have a new transformation.

The Municipality of Tirana has published a project for the transformation of the Rinia Park, with spaces dedicated for children and adults.

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

Years ago, this park was packed with buildings and lacked greenery, then Edi Rama-mayor at the time decided clean up the city, including the park which was reseeded with grass.

While today it has begun the reconstruction for a more modern park, with green spaces and sidewalks. The Youth Park will have dedicated spaces for physical activities including for children.

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

New project for the reconstruction of Rinia Park in Tirana

14/07/2019

The biggest concert at Skanderbeg Square for the 15th anniversary of Digitalb

Great spectacle in Tirana last night. Thousands of people filled the Skanderbeg square to listen and dance with the best Albanian music of the latest years.  The concert was organized for the 15th anniversary of Digitalb (The biggest television platform in Albania).

Big concert in Tirana for the 15th anniversary of Digitalb

The celebration started on July 13th and continued for three days with games, open museums, entertainment for kids, music etc.  'Illusionarium' was the Museum of Optical Illusions, which was opened on 13-14-15 July in Skanderbeg Square. The museum was one of the most visited from different ages.

Big concert in Tirana for the 15th anniversary of Digitalb

There was also a dinosaur installation in the square, which was also a favorite attraction to take photos.

While the big concert which was the culmination of this event, started on 15 July, at 18:00 h and ended in the late night. The most emotional part of the evening was the spectacle of fireworks. The concert was also live at Top Channel Television, so even people who couldn’t attend in the square, could see in TV.

Big concert in Tirana for the 15th anniversary of Digitalb

 Some of the best Albanian singers performed in the concert, among them were: Faydee & Luana Vjollca,  Alban Skënderaj, Ledri Vula, Elvana Gjata,  Mc Kresha & Lyrical Son, Jericho, Kida, Tayna, Aurela Gaçe, Young Zerka, Vedat Ademi,  Ronela Hajati, Ylli Limani. Skanderbeg Square is the main space for concerts and entertainments in Tirana and is always full of tourists, so they can enjoy the lively life of Tirana, Albanian capital.

 
 
 
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02/07/2019

The memorial of the truck that broke the walls

Albanians are not afraid anymore to talk about their dark history under communism. The young generations here and the rest of the world need to know what happened 25 - 50 years ago in this country. One episode that came to light these days was the storm on Foreign Embassies by more than 3000 Albanians in July 90. That was the first step toward throwing down the communist regime in Albania.

Wall Memorial in Tirana

8 months after the fall of Berlin wall, an attempt to break the walls happened also in the isolated Albania. Young people from Tirana were the first to understand the need for change in Albania too and for removing the walls. 

One brave Albanian Ylli Bodinaku, decided to enter in German Embassy with his own truck. With his wife and two children, one of them just two months old, he headed the truck in the back giant wall of German Embassy in 2d of July 1990. The wall was destroyed and even though the stones were scattered everywhere, even inside the car, he managed to enter his family safely inside. His truck created a gate for 36 persons who entered that way in the German Embassy, and more than 3000 others following his example to jump in other embassies in the same area. Former German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, called Mr Bodinaku a hero that time.

Wall Memorial in Tirana

The regime acted strongly with fortifying the zone around the embassies not letting even the familiars of the people inside to meet each other. The regime named these people vandals, and started propaganda in all the country against these movement. Some parents denied their children in order to be safe in the regime. While the West decided to issue passports to all the people who managed to enter inside. After 10 days, all people entering embassies through crossing walls headed safely to the respective countries. The regime enforced the security in all borders and embassies, but the real revolution started only some months later in December 1990 with the revolt of Students which threw down the Statue of Enver Hoxha in the center of Tirana. Then the democratic changes followed with creation of bipolar party system and the first democratic elections.

Mr Ylli Bodinaku has told his story several times for media. But there were no memorial or statue to remember his act until now.

Wall Memorial in Tirana

 On July 3, 2017, architects Gjergj Islami and Ana Pekmezi and artist Eljan Tanini unveiled an installation on the wall of the German embassy in Tirana. Three artists invited Ylli Bodinaku to work on this project and to create the truck in the same state it was when he entered the Embassy. The same Liaz truck, with the same color was put at the same place next to German Embassy. The truck is placed overlooking the street and not the wall as the mission is now accomplished. It serves now only tell the story to the young generation and to look for the future.   A placard was placed there to show the story.

This is the first part of a big project called The Wall, which is expected to be applied around the walls of Embassies Block, to remind other tragic stories related the same episode. Travellers are invited to visit this place, and to know about that troubled history of Albanians during 90.

Wall Memorial in Tirana

It is now a fact that dark tourism and the unique history of Albania during communist time are attracting foreign tourists more than its modern history. We have still much to tell the world about what happened in Albania, when we were an isolated country.

30/06/2019

Best photos of Tirana in June

June has been a very hot month in Tirana, but still enjoyable in the late afternoons and evenings.

We’ve selected the best photos of the month posted by our followers on Instagram.

Enjoy!

Sunset view from Dajti Mountain

 
 
 
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Bovilla Lake

 
 
 
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Bike Ride by Prushi Lake

 
 
 
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Cooling off summer at Skanderbeg square fountains

 
 
 
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Yoga at the Grand Park of Tirana

 
 
 
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Sunset at Lana River

 
 
 
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Picnic by the lake

 
 
 
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Poppies season

 
 
 
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29/06/2019

Inside the villa of Enver Hoxha -soon to be open for the public

The Guardian has published an interesting article written by the journalist Shaun Walker, after his visit to the "fascinating, creepy" villa of former dictator Enver Hoxha. 

The villa of Enver Hoxha in Tirana, where the dictator lived from 1975 until his death in 1985 is located in the Blloku area.

Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

The living areas are pretty functional, done out with the best that 70s Albania had to offer in terms of furniture and accessories. On the walls you can see socialist realist art.

Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

A library room and his desk where Hoxha wrote some of his 74 books. 

Although Albanians didn’t have access to outside literature, Hoxha loved books and had a yearly delivery of French books from Paris. Bookshelves everywhere. Many were his own tomes or other Marxist literature. But there were also thousands of books on very wide-ranging subjects.

Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

He had ingenious soundproofing on his bedroom doors. His three adult children also lived there. Escapism was a theme of their bedrooms.

Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

Downstairs there was a swimming pool and an entrance to a tunnel leading to a bunker for the paranoid Hoxha to flee if necessary.

Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

 

His bathroom tiles.Inside Enver Hoxha Villa

During his life, the whole area of town was closed off to the public and only got top party leaders. Now it’s the most happening part of Tirana.

It is announced that soon will be open for the public

Source: The Guardian

28/06/2019

Kolë Idromeno- the retro exhibition of one of the best Albanian painters

A retrospective exhibition of one of the best painter Albanian has ever had, Kole Idromeno, was opened on 27 June at National Art Gallery in Tirana. Many people, including the Ministers of Culture and Education, artists, painters, journalists attended the opening ceremony.

Kolë Idromeno retro exhibition

The first photo in exhibition was his auto-portrait he have done in 1938, a year before his death, when he was 71 years old. So we have a view of his face, of an intellectual and well-dressed person, a modest artist.  Then we see the painting of his wife for 55 years, Gjyzepina. And then the portraits of his niece and other men and women, especially dressed in traditional north costume. But the best painting which was considered as the first picture of Albanian realism is “My Sister Tone” (Motra Tone), which is dedicated to his older sister Antonia, but symbolize the Albanian women of that time, as a sister, wife, a mother.

Kolë Idromeno retro exhibition

One of the most interesting work of art is his painting called “Two roads”, where you see hundreds of people, each of them not tall than 10 cm, with different characters, dresses and faces which are heading separately in two roads, in Paradise and Hell. This painting was a results of hundreds of photos he made to his friends. And all these sketches and photos he used in this amazing painting. You can stop and stare at it for hours. It seems that he liked this subject of “hell and paradise”. In most cases, the pictures involve pain and torture that devil-like men inflict on their victims symbolizing sinners. The exhibition also features a painting with two devils cutting the tongue to a man while burning in the hell flames, a painting directly related to one of the photos.

Who is Kole Idromeno

Kolë Idromeno retro exhibition

Nikolle Idromeno, or as it known Kole Idromeno was born in 1860 and died in 1939. According to Robert Elsie, Idromeno was the best known of early figures of Albanian painting. He was a talented person not only in picture, but also in architecture, music, photography etc. With the help of Pjetër Marubi, from whom he also learned the art of photography, he was able to travel to Venice in 1875 to attend the Academy of Fine Arts. He returned to Albania in 1878. In 1883, he opened a photo studio with cameras imported from the Pathé company in France. In 1912, he became the first person in Albania to import moving picture equipment and to show films. In August of that year, he signed a contract with the Josef Stauber company in Austria to set up the country’s first, rudimentary public cinema. As a painter, Idromeno preferred urban subjects, such as in his Dasma shkodrane (Wedding in Shkodra), 1924, but also did portraits of intellectuals and nationalist figures.

Kolë Idromeno retro exhibition

Particularly well-known is the portrait of his half-veiled Motra Tone (My Sister Tone), 1883. Landscapes and religious subjects also occur. His paintings were shown at international art exhibitions in Budapest (1898), Rome (1925), Bari (1931), Rome (1936) and New York (1939). Kolë Idromeno is also remembered as a sculptor and as an architect of public buildings in Shkodram such as Kafja e Madhe, Shiroka Church, Coba Family, Prefecture building etc.