City Orientation Walk, Tirana (Self Guided)

Tirana has an eventful history. The city has been a part of the Ottoman Empire, suffered through World War II, endured rule by a communist regime, and worked through the disorder of the 1990s after the collapse of communism. The landmarks of Tirana reflect these turbulent times. On this tour you will visit an elegant Ottoman bridge, historic buildings dating back to the nineteenth century, the former residence of communist leader Enver Hoxha and more. Spend a few hours discovering the most popular sites of Tirana.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Albania » Tirana (See other walking tours in Tirana)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Author: rose
1
Skanderbeg Square

1) Skanderbeg Square (must see)

Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza of Tirana, named in 1968 after the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg. A Skanderbeg Monument can be found in the plaza.

In March 2010, works began to transform the square into a pedestrians and public transport only area. A new fountain would use rain water as its water supply, while a two-meter high pyramid would be built and leveled with a 2.5% slope throughout the square.

In September 2011 it was decided that the earlier plan will be scrapped. Instead, the use of the square by all motor vehicles will be restored through the construction of a narrower road segment around the center of the square including bicycle lanes.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
National History Museum

2) National History Museum (must see)

The National History Museum (Muzeu Historik Kombetar) in Tirana is Albania's largest museum. It was founded on October 28, 1981. Construction of the museum required the demolition of the former Tirana Municipal Building. The gigantic mosaic that appears at the main entrance to the museum is entitled 'The Albanians'. The National History Museum has rooms dedicated to the following: Antiquity, Medieval, Rilindja Kombetare, Iconography, Culture of Albania, Albanian Resistance in World War II, and Communist Genocide.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Palace of Culture of Tirana

3) Palace of Culture of Tirana (must see)

The Palace of Culture of Tirana (Pallati i Kultures) was built in the Pazari i Vjeter area of Tirana by request of the Communist Party of Albania. The first stone of the building was symbolically laid by Nikita Khrushchev in 1959. Work on the structure was finished in 1963. The architecture is very similar to many communist-era buildings in Eastern Europe. There have been virtually no renovations to the building since its construction. The Palace of Culture includes the National Library of Albania and the National Theater of Opera and Ballet.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Skanderbeg Statue

4) Skanderbeg Statue (must see)

The Skanderbeg Statue is located on Skanderbeg Square, Tirana's main square. The sculpture depicts Gjergj Kastrioti (1405-1468), who was also called Skanderbeg. He is a national hero of Albania, famous for successfully defending his native land for more than two decades from the Ottoman Empire. The sculpture was built in 1968.
5
Et'hem Bey Mosque

5) Et'hem Bey Mosque (must see)

The Et'hem Bey Mosque is located in the center of the Albanian capital of Tirana. Construction started in 1789 under the direction of Molla Bey, and it was finished in 1823 by his son Ethem Pasha (Haxhi Ethem Bey), great-grandson of Sulejman Pasha. Under the totalitarian regime of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, the mosque was closed. On January 18, 1991, despite opposition from communist authorities, 10,000 people entered the mosque carrying flags. This was at the onset of the fall of communism in Albania. The frescoes of the mosque are still life paintings of trees, waterfalls and bridges, a rarity in Islamic art. Tours of the mosque are given daily, although not during prayer service.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Clock Tower of Tirana

6) Clock Tower of Tirana (must see)

The Clock Tower of Tirana, or Kulla e Sahatit in Albanian, was built in 1822 by Haxhi Et`hem Bey, who also oversaw the construction of the Et'hem Bey Mosque. The tower has a spiral staircase with 90 steps. The structure is 35 meters high, and until 1970 it was the tallest building in Tirana. The clock tower originally had a bell from Venice that marked the time every hour. In 1928 the Municipality of Tirana purchased a new German clock to replace the Venetian one. The clock was destroyed by bombs during World War II and was replaced in 1946 with a Roman numeral clock from a church in Shkoder, Albania. In 1970 the Roman numeral clock was replaced by a Chinese clock. The tower underwent renovation in 1981 and again in 1999. Access to the top of the tower has been available free of charge since 1996.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Tomb of Kaplan Pasha

7) Tomb of Kaplan Pasha (must see)

The Tomb of Kaplan Pasha was established in 1817. It honors Kaplan Pasha, who was a ruler of Tirana in the early nineteenth century. The tomb has an octagonal structure and was part of a cemetery complex. There were another six tombs in the complex, but they were destroyed during World War II.
8
The Bridge of Tabakëve

8) The Bridge of Tabakëve (must see)

This distinctive little Ottoman stone footbridge was built in the nineteenth century. It has a charming appearance and is well proportioned. Its function was to provide passage from one side of the Lana River to the other until the 1930s. The river was later rerouted and the bridge fell out of use. Today the bridge remains in good shape and is definitely worth a visit.
9
Fortress of Justinian

9) Fortress of Justinian (must see)

Fortress of Justinian or simply known as Tirana Castle is a castle in Tirana. Its history dates back before 1300 and is a remnant from the Byzantine-era. The fortress is the place where the main east-west and north-south roads crossed, and formed the heart of Tirana.

About all that's left of the fortress above ground is a 6m-high Ottoman-era wall, covered in vines. The recently uncovered wall foundations will be incorporated into the pedestrianised street.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
National Art Gallery

10) National Art Gallery (must see)

The National Art Gallery offers a great collection of artwork, dating from the thirteenth century to today. It is one of the few places where you can still find socialist-themed paintings. Women are typically the focus of these compositions.

Opening hours:
Daily: 10 am-6 pm.
11
Peace Bell

11) Peace Bell (must see)

The Bell of Peace was created in 1999. The bell weighs 1,100 pounds and hangs near the entrance to the Pyramid. It is a memorial to peace. It was made from about 20,000 shell casings collected by Albanian children after the period of disorder in the 1990s.
12
Pyramid

12) Pyramid (must see)

Tirana's Pyramid is a modern pyramid-style building. It was built as a memorial museum for the ex-communist leader of Albania, Enver Hoxha. The building was designed by Hoxha’s daughter in 1988. It was considered to be the most expensive building erected in Tirana at the time it was built. Today it is the International Center of Culture.
13
Twin Towers in Tirana

13) Twin Towers in Tirana (must see)

The Twin Towers, located in the center of Tirana, are considered the most luxurious buildings in the city. These two 15-story glass buildings are situated close to one other and have the same design and colors, which is the reason they are called “twins’. They are painted with beautiful blue and gray colors.
14
Presidential Palace of Tirana

14) Presidential Palace of Tirana

The Presidential Palace of Tirana is used by the Albanian government. Construction on the palace began in 1939 under the direction of Ahmet Zogu and was completed in 1941. Zogu left Albania in 1939, before the building was finished. The palace was built in the Rationalist style, and its architecture is unique not only in Albania, but in the entire formerly-fascist region of Italy. The palace has basso-reliefs that were covered with drapes in the 1970s, during the Cultural Revolution, but which were not destroyed.
Sight description based on wikipedia
15
Archaeological Museum

15) Archaeological Museum (must see)

National Archaeological Museum is a museum affiliated to Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of Albania. The museum houses exhibits from prehistoric and historic times up to Middle Ages. It is also responsible for conducting many archaeological expeditions in the country and is the parent institution of several other museums in the country including the Durrës Archaeological Museum. It has a library of some 7200 volumes.
Sight description based on wikipedia
16
Parku i Madh

16) Parku i Madh (must see)

Parku i Madh is a very popular park in Tirana. With lots of grass, lakes, statues, monuments the park is crowded with locals and tourists who want rest from the city life and breathe some fresh air.

Walking Tours in Tirana, Albania

Create Your Own Walk in Tirana

Create Your Own Walk in Tirana

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tirana is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Self-Guided Museums and Galleries Tour of Tirana

Self-Guided Museums and Galleries Tour of Tirana

Discover the museums and galleries of Tirana. The history and culture of Albania is richly revealed through the National History Museum, various archaeological finds from across Albania and a preserved nineteenth-century house. Spend a few hours discovering the history, culture and art of Albania by taking this tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Self-Guided Places of Worship Tour of Tirana

Self-Guided Places of Worship Tour of Tirana

Tirana is home to a number of beautiful places of worship representing the three main religions practiced in the city-- Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Islam. Many religious institutions suffered during the communist period, when many believers were persecuted and places of worship were requisitioned for other purposes. Most were reopened and restored after 1990. Take this tour to discover the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Tirana for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Tirana has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Tirana, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.