‘Royal Palace,’ once a forbidden zone -now open to the public
As we approached the entrance, we felt the emotions of something magical; the pathway of the central garden was covered with big trees and flowers. The Royal Garden was excellent, with big trees, colorful flowers, and sculptures. Everyone started to take photos of the forest’s path, the labyrinth garden, and the palace. The first visitors were journalists and people who lived near the Royal Palace. When we asked how they learned about the news, they said from “Facebook” and wanted to be the first to see it today.
High walls and guards have surrounded this palace, and no one can come close to it without an invitation from insiders. The palace was designed by three Italian architects, including Giulio Berte, in 1936. Due to the outbreak of World War II and the 1939 Italian Invasion of Albania, King Zog I fled Albania and never had a chance to see the Palace entirely constructed. The Italians finished construction and used the Palace mainly for the Army Headquarters. The building was redesigned and completed in 1941 by the Florentine architect Gherardo Bosio.
In recent decades, the Palace has served – even now- as the official residence of the President of the Republic of Albania and hosts State Receptions and Ceremonies, such as the annual end-of-year “Presidential Ball.” On 8 October 2016, inside the Presidential Palace premises, Prince Leka II’s wedding reception was organized with Ms. Elia Zaharia.
Architecturally, the Palace belongs to a rationalist style. It is unique in its genre, not only in the country but in the wider sphere of Fascist architecture, including in Italy itself. Its bas-reliefs were covered with drapes in the 1970s during the Cultural Revolution but not destroyed.
Royal Garden is near the Grand Park of Tirana, but the palace gardens are extensive. Trees surround the Royal Palace for nearly 200 meters. The gardens are decorated in patterns and shapes of various designs. The Royal Park has an area of 74 ha. There are fountains, sculpture galleries, tree-lined gardens, spiral-shaped flowers and labyrinths, flower gardens, and forest paths in various areas. Also, many sculptures, not all in good shape, require immediate restoration. The importance of this building is that it resisted all the people’s interference. The woods are more than 80 years old, and the same is true for other plants in the garden. Everything inside: the walls and rooms are preserved, but they still need reassessment and revitalization because they hide a great potential of Albanian heritage. We would prefer to see there as a guide, to show us all the history and the importance of everything hidden here. The best way to visit this palace is to guide visitors and not let them wander in the garden and everywhere. The good news is that Tirana has another interesting and important destination to impress tourists.
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