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[edit] Education

Tirana hosts the University of Tirana, founded in 1957, and other governmental and social buildings such as the Albanian Institute of the Sciences, the Academy of Arts, the Agricultural University, the Military Academy, the Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the People's Assembly, and the High Court.

In addition to the public universities, Tirana is host to private academic institutions, such as University of New York, Tirana, Universiteti Marin Barleti, Epoka University, etc.

[edit] Environment

The city suffers from problems related to overpopulation, such as waste management, lack of running water and electricity as well as extremely high levels of air pollution from the 300,000 cars moving around the city. The problem is exacerbated by aging infrastructure. Despite the problems, Tirana has also experienced a very rapid growth in the construction of new buildings, especially in the suburbs, where many of the new neighborhoods do not yet have street names.[5] In recent years pollution has worsened as the number of cars has increased by several orders of magnitude. These are mostly older, diesel cars that pollute much more than the newer models in circulation elsewhere in Europe. Additionally, most of the fuel used in Albania contains larger amounts of sulfur and lead than that allowed in European Union countries. In recent years pollution from construction has become a major concern for the inhabitants of the city. Moreover, green spaces in densely populated areas are scarce. Another peril to the city comes from untreated solid waste.

Beginning in the year 2000, Tirana's Municipality has undertaken a massive campaign to return public space to the general public. The campaign "Return to Identity" included the transformation of Lana River banks, Rinia Park and others to their pre-1990 state. The overall infrastructure has improved as considerable number of roads have been reconstructed. Common spaces between apartment buildings have been targeted in bringing back green spaces and a vast number of illegal buildings have been demolished.

Saint Prokopi park, a vast forested park in the outskirts of the city, has some effect on absorbing CO2 emissions. Tirana is cleaned by governmental workers everyday, and trees have been planted around many sidewalks.

[edit] Notable People

Below are some of most notable personalities born in Tirana:

  • Edvin Murati

  • Elsa Lila - singer

  • Erjon Bogdani- soccer player

  • Essad Pasha

  • Fatos Nano - former Prime Minister of Albania

  • Inva Mula

  • Leka, Crown Prince of Albania - son of King Zog I

  • Rexhep Meidani - former President of Albania

  • Saimir Kumbaro

  • Masiela Lusha - actress / poet

[edit] Sports

Main article: KF Partizani Tirana

Main article: KF Tirana

Main article: KS Dinamo Tirana

[edit] Transport

National and international transport links have developed over recent years as demand has increased. Until recent years, overland connections through Greece and Montenegro have had various problems with bureaucracy or security. The following section is liable to change and is only indicative.

[edit] Bus

International coach services connect to Greece, via Korçë and then taxis to the border, to Serbia, and to Republic of Macedonia. Coach and minibus services run, according to demand, to the coast and northern and southern Albania from different locations in Tirana. Local transport within Tirana is by bus or taxi.

[edit] Rail

See also: Albanian Railways

There are regular passenger services to Durrës and Pogradec, via Elbasan. The railway station is north of Skanderbeg Square, in Boulevard Zogu I. There are no international passenger services, although there is a freight-only railway through Shkodër to Montenegro (though this is currently disused).

[edit] Air

Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (Mother Theresa in Albanian), also known as Rinas Airport was recently reconstructed. It is located 25 kilometres north-west of the city, off the road to Durrës. Airlines using Rinas include Albanian Airlines. Flights run to Athens, New York, Rimini, Bari, Genoa, Rome, Bologna, Munich, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Vienna among other places.

Several foreign airlines also serve Rinas Airport: Alitalia (from Rome and Milan), British Airways (from London Gatwick Airport), Austrian Airlines (from Vienna), Adria Airways (Ljubljana), Jat Airways (Belgrade), Malev (Budapest), Olympic Airlines (Athens), Hemus Air (Sofia) and Turkish Airlines (Istanbul). Lufthansa flights via Munich started on 1 May 2007. Each Monday, there is a direct flight from Tirana to J.F.K. Airport, New York, USA.

[edit] Sea

Tirana does not have a port of its own. However, the port city of Durrës is no more than half an hour away from the capital. Passenger ferries from Durrës sail to Trieste (Italy), Koper (Slovenia) and there is a fast catamaran service to Bari (Italy).

[edit] Landmarks

Panoramic view of Tirana as seen from Dajti Mountain.

"The Albanians" – a mosaic on the façade of the National Historical Museum

Statue of Skanderbeg in Skanderbeg Square

  • Skanderbeg Square: the central hub of the city, named after the Albanian hero, Skanderbeg.

  • Et'hem Bey Mosque: at the south east corner of Skanderbeg Square - begun in 1789 by Molla Bey and finished in 1821 by his son, Haxhi Et'hem Bey, great-grandson of Sulejman Pasha.

  • The Clock Tower (the Kulla e Sahatit,) next to the Et'hem Bey Mosque, was started by Haxhi Et’hem Bej around 1821-22 and was finished with the help of the richest families of Tirana. Its installation was the work of the Tufina family. In 1928 the Albanian state bought a modern German clock and the tower was raised to a height of 35 metres. The clock was damaged during World War II and it was repaired in July 1946.

  • Government buildings: at the south end of Skenderbeg Square

  • National Museum: north side of Skenderbeg Square

  • The headquarters of the Bektashi Sufi Order can be found in the eastern edge of the city.

  • Roman Catholic Church of Saint Paul: completed in 2001, the largest church in Tirana.

  • Orthodox Church of St Prokop was built in 1780.

  • Roman Catholic Church of Saint Maria was built in 1865, paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.

  • The Tabakëve and Terzive bridges (respectively in front of the Parliament building and on Elbasani Street) date from the beginning of the 20th century.

  • The mosque that is also the tomb of Kapllan Hysa, near the monument to Ushtari i Panjohur (‘the unknown soldier’) was built in 1816.

  • The National Library was established in 1922, with 5000 volumes.

  • The Fortress or Castle of Petrela, 12 kilometres from Tirana, dates from the fourth century BC. It took its current form in the 13th century, under the rule of Topiaj, and later became the property of the Kastriotis.

  • The Palace of Culture (Pallati i Kulturës), where the Theatre of Opera and Ballet and the National Library stand, was completed in 1963 on the site of the former Trade of Tirana building, with the first brick being placed by Soviet president Nikita Khruschev in 1959.

  • The monument to Skënderbeu, raised in 1968, is the work of Odhise Paskali in collaboration with Andrea Mana and Janaq Paço. It commemorated the 500th anniversary of the death of the national hero.

  • The monument to Mother Albania, 12 metres high, was inaugurated in the Dëshmoret e Kombit cemetery in 1971.

  • The Academy of Sciences building was completed in April 1972.

  • The Gallery of Figurative Arts was created in 1976 and includes around 3200 works by Albanian and foreign artists.

  • The International Cultural Centre, formerly the Enver Hoxha Museum, was inaugurated in 1988. Popularly referred to as ‘the Pyramid’, it was designed by a group of architects under the direction of the dictator's daughter, Pranvera Hoxha, and her husband Klement Kolaneci.

  • The National Historical Museum was built in 1981. The ornamental mosaic on its facade is called "The Albanians".

  • The presidential palace, Tirana, also known as the Palace of Brigades, was built by King Zog as his residence in the 1930s.
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