Tirana in the first year as Albanian Capital

A foreign journalist from Switzerland who visited Tirana in the autumn of 1921 was so impressed by this city. It was the time when Tirana had just been declared the new Capital of Albania. His article was published in the ‘Journal de Geneve’ on 14 November 1921.

Here is what he wrote: This political capital sheltered the whole administration despite not having enough buildings for them. With fantastic management, they used the little resources of this city. A small house such as The Puppet Theater became the new Parliament and the office of some new government ministers. Other ministries were scattered in other simple dwellings. Offices were so modest and with pure simplicity. In the office of a Minister you could see a working table, a chair and a sofa” he wrote.

“In this political capital, the entire administration had to be improvised because it could not wait to erect large government buildings with a democratic feeling to be praised. The authorities hospitably used the very few resources the city had.

With a delightful simplicity, just as it is customary in Switzerland, the minister waits for you in a room where the walls are painted with lime and where you see a few things: a work table, a few chairs, and a sofa. He pulls out a cigarette, and the conversation flows freely. It creates a sense of trust, which we know very well the value of.”

“Side by side, wearing similar clothing, Muslims and Christians think about the future of the country with the same Albanian spirit. What peace in the city! What dignity, on the streets and in the shops! He doesn’t see anyone drunk, anyone whose legs are taken off their feet by drink. No shouting, no intemperate gestures. The noble demeanor that impresses any visitor to a Muslim country is everywhere present here, ends his article. 

Tirana as Capital of Albania


On 11 February 1920, Tirana became the Capital of Albania by a decision of the Congress of Lushnja. The decision was to select a temporary Capital since the natural capital at that time was Durresi. But Italians occupied Durres city so that the government couldn’t stay there. Tirana was chosen to be the temporary capital of Albania for some reasons: First, it was not occupied by foreign troops. The city has a strategic position in the middle of Albania, with different roads crossing from north to south, and the third reason was that Tirana has several buildings that could be used as offices for administration. However, the most crucial factor was that the people of Tirana were very welcoming and patriotic. They opened the doors of their houses, offering their premises for the new government offices.

Finding this peaceful hospitality and very safe and protected area, Tirana remained the capital of Albania even though for some years, in the papers, it continued to be Durresi.  Tirana was declared a permanent capital of Albania in the constitution of 1925.


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