Tirana, a city that “rarely” sleeps. While you can go eat and drink and be merry in so many places which will be mentioned in yet another blog post, we are going back in time and focus on culture in this specific entry.
There are still plenty of communist-era relics to see in Tirana, by far the largest and most impressive being the massive Socialist Realist mosaic adorning the façade of the city’s National History Museum (15 minute walk from Arte’) . The BUNK’ART war museum is another point of interest (very near the museum approx. 15-minute walk from Arte’ also). This project started in November 2014 with the opening to the public of BUNK’ART 1, a video museum exhibition situated inside the atomic bunker of the dictator Enver Hoxha, on the outskirts of Tirana and continues with the opening of BUNK’ART 2, on the 19th of November 2016 in the capital center. While BUNK’ART 1 is dedicated to the history of the Albanian communist army and to the daily lives of Albanians during the regime. Juxtaposed in the near vicinity you take a breath of fresh air with the “Cloud” or “Reja” by the widely acknowledged architect Sou Fujimoto. The installation is conveniently located in the beautiful garden in front of the National Art gallery. Many outdoor events are performed in the installation, and if you are lucky enough you may attend a jazz festival or a modern art performance.
The same with “Sheshi Skenderbej” (10-minute leisure walk form the hotel) the main square of Tirana, which amid controversies was inaugurated in June 10th 2017. Now it hosts some of the most beautiful art events and concerts performed in Tirana. To one side of Sheshi Skënderbej, is the Et’hem Bey Mosque (built 1789–1823). Small and elegant, it’s one of the oldest buildings left in the city, and it was spared destruction during the atheism campaign of the late 1960s because of its status as a cultural monument. Close by, Tirana’s 35m-tall clock tower was completed by Ottoman architects in 1822, and it was for years the tallest building in the capital, sounding a bell every hour on the hour. You can climb it for impressive views of Sheshi Skënderbej.
A five-minute walk away from the Skanderbeg square is situated the “Pazari I RI (new bazaar) a historical area of Tirana, situated in one of the oldest neighborhood, which marks its existence since 1931. The renovated is opened hours per day; during the day it will function as a green trade and bazaar, while in the afternoon the focus will be the on the promotion of local culinary, restaurants and other cultural activities, festivals and fairs. A nice afternoon stroll will give you a gist of the place, and you can dine in the restaurants with open spaces to enjoy the good weather Tirana offers more often than not.
Enjoy this amazing city! Ask our reception for more information should you need it.