13 October 2015

Tirana- a city of contrast, a great travel destination

By Bart van Eijden

"Tirana is a city of contrast, therefore a great travel destination". Here how a dutch photographer describe the city of Tirana. He writes a blog about his impressions after spending two weeks in our Capital. The Communism past, bunkers and pyramid, the cheap food, lively people, sleepless nights, colored building in contrast with poverty, damaged benches and road traffic etc- are the focus of his article. Here is a summary of his impressions:

"The Pyramid is one of the main attractions to those visiting Albania’s capital. Used as a NATO base during the Kosovo war, it now sits as a reminder of communism in downtown Tirana. Youth often climb it and hang out on top as a perfect place to smoke marihuana while staying our of reach for police.
He mentioned our "Visit Tirana" page in Twitter

Climbing this former museum to dictator Enver Hoxha is not difficult at all. While some say that going down is much more difficult, I never found that. Just make sure you take the slopes on the sides, as they are least steep.

Weekend or not, there is always a party somewhere in Tirana. Also, if you go to Block/Blloku, you can drink so much great coffee for cheap (<€0.50) that you will never be able sleep.

During the terror regime of dictator Enver a lot of money was wasted on building communist bunkers all over the country. At the highest period there were about 700,000 communist bunkers or one for every four persons. After the fall, these concrete structures became redundant and some find different use these days. Where until recently there was short supply of cars, people for example lost virginity in these things.

If you don’t want to be bothered by searching for them, just go and visit the bunker at the east entrance of Block (located right here). It sits there as a checkpoint monument to the former secluded Blloku neighbourhood where dictator Enver Hoxha once lived. You can also find a piece of the Berlin wall there.

Happy coloured building emerged all over Tirana after reportedly the mayor told residents to give their homes a fresher non-communist look. Locals claim there was a fair share of corruption involved in this move, but all I know is that some of the use of colours is pretty hilarious.

Tirana is a city that never sleeps, a city where most youngsters hook up and where they can earn more than in any other Albanian city. On the other hand, it is also incredibly crowded, loud, congested and as a pedestrian you don’t have much to say in traffic.

Asking around a bit, some seem to love Tirana while others don’t. One thing is for sure: it’s a city of contrast. After having been there two weeks myself I can say it’s therefore a great travel destination. If I could live there is question that will remain unanswered, but I definitely had a great time there! A must-visit while you are out in the Balkans!

Bllok area

Colored buildings

Read the full article here:

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