Tirana History


Tirana was founded in 1614 by Sulejman Pasha who is from the village of Mullet. The foundation of the city is considered to be a mosque, a bakery and a Turkish hamam built by Sulejman Pasha. Today, it is possible to see Sulejman Pasha Monument at the city center behind Opera between Skenderbej Square and Avni Rustemi Square.

There are many rumors about where the name Tirana comes from. The most common one says it comes from the name of Tehran, the capital of Iran. Sulejman Pasha was involved in the operation of Ottoman Army in Persia. The rumors say he saw Tehran, liked that city and named the new city he founded after Tehran.

The fact that Tirana was founded in 1614 resulted in a well organised city. The city has a relatively good and modern city plan among the capitals in Europe.

When Albania gained independence in 1912, Tirana was not the capital. In 1920, Tirana was announced to be the temporary capital. In 1925, this status became permanent.

During the World War II, Tirana was occupied by Italians. After the Italian Occupation, the city was occupied by German Army. Following a great war lead by national hero Enver Hoxha, the city was liberated (like the rest of the country). Once the war was over, the communist era began. During the communist rule, the development of the city was well planned. Skenderbej Square was re-designed. Opera building, the first brick of which was laid by Khrushchev, was built.

In the second half of 1970's, Tirana International Hotel Building was built. The 15 floor building was built to respresent the capabilities of the Albanian Engineers.

At the beginning of 1990's, the global collapse of communism affected the city a lot. The change from communism to elective democracy was not bloody, unlike most other ex-communist capitals. The transition was peaceful.

Banker crisis lead the city to a bloody period at 1997 and 1998. The city was not safe, the authority of the state was quite weak. High education level of the people resulted in that period to be short. After 2000, with the leadership of the new mayor Edi Rama, the city was able to get better.

Reconstruction of the new airport in 2007, and construction of the express way, which allowed faster access to the port, between Tirana and Durres helped the city to be more easily accessible. As of 2009, Tirana is one of the main attraction points in Europe.