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Tirana: History Print E-mail

Tirana MozaicTirana is relatively a new city. It was founded in 1614 by Sulejmen\r\nPashe Bargjini, feudal lord of that time from this region, who built\r\nthe first objects (a mosque, a bakery and a Turkish sauna) of the new city.

This settlement has been inhabited as early back as the Neolithic\r\nperiod. The ruins of die castle of first century A.D. which is likely\r\nto be the castle mentioned with the name Tirkan by Byzantine historian Procop (VI century) have been unearthed in the foot of Dajti mountain.

There are some hypothesis about the origins of the name Tirana:

  • First, it is thought that Tirana comes from the word Theranda found in ancient Greek and Latin sources because those living there called it Të ranat ("fallen material"), because the plain was formed as a result of the strong materials which were brought by the water from the surrounding mountains.
  • Second, Tirana comes from Tirkan. Tirkan was a castle on the face of mount Dajti.
  • Third, Tirana comes from Teheran, the capital of Iran, in remembrance of the victory by Sulejman Pasha (founder of the city), head of the Turkish army during the campaign in Persia.
  • Fourth, an old Tirana tale says that Sulejman Pasha took the name of the city from an old lady whom he had met at the site where he was going to build the city. When Sulejman Pasha asked the old lady what she was doing she answered “ Po tir an (meaning "spinning silk")”.
  • Fifth “Tirana“ comes from old Greek, “Tyros” which means dairy. It is thought that this variant remained, because in the field of Tirana, the shepherds of the nearby areas used to trade dairy products.

For the first time, Tirana’s name in the nowadays form was mentioned in 1418 in a Venetian document.

For the first time the registration of lands was done under the ottoman invasion in 1431-1432. Tirana had 60 inhabited areas with near 1000 houses and 7300 inhabitants. In the XV -century as Marin Barleti mentions, there was Tirana e Madhe and Tirana e Vogël (Big and Small Tirana).

In the registrations of 1583, the area of Tirana resulted to have 110 inhabited areas, 2900 houses and 20,000 inhabitants.

The first district in Tirana was Bami. Sulejman Pasha, whose background was from Mullet, established Tirana in 1614. First, he constructed a mosque, a bakery and a hamam (Turkish sauna).

Two centuries later, the direction of the city went to the family of Toptani, from Kruja. The two oldest neighborhoods of Tirana were that of Mujos and that of Pazari, situated between the actual center and “Elbasani“ street, in the two sides of Lana.

In 1703 Tirana had 4000 inhabitants.

In 1769 Tirana ‘s area exported 2600 barrels of olive oil and 14.000 stuffed packages of tobacco to Venetian trades.

In 1820 Tirana had 12.000 inhabitants.

In 1901 Tirana had 15.000 inhabitants.

At the beginning of the XX - century Tirana had 140.000 olive trees, 400 oil mills, while the market numbered 700 shops.

In 1838 Tirana had 38.000 inhabitants.

In 1945 it had 60.000 inhabitants.

The mosque in the center of Tirana, called the mosque of Ethem Beu began its construction in 1789 by Molla Beu from Petrela. The mosque was finished in 1821 from Molla Beu‘s son, Sulejman Pasha‘s grandnephew. The best masters of Albania worked for it.

Tirana clock tower, AlbaniaHaxhi Et’hem Beu started the Clock’s Tower around 1821-1822 and it was finished with the help of the richest families of Tirana. The family of Tufina made the restoration of the Clock. In 1928 the Albanian state bought in Germany a modern clock and the Tower was raised in the height of 35 m. During the World War II, the Clock was damaged, but it restarted work in July 1946.

The Tabak Bridge (in front of the Albanian parliament) dates back to the 18th century.

The Orthodox Church of Saint Prokop was built in 1780.

The Catholic Church of Saint Maria was constructed in 1865 with the Austrian-Hungarian expenses of the Emperor, Franc Josef. Bridge of Tabakëve and bridge of Terzive (actually the bridge of the “Elbasani” Street) date with the beginning of the XIX century. Kapllan Hysa‘s mosque (near to the monument “Ushtari I Panjohur “ (The Unknown soldier) was constructed in 1816.

The Library was established in 1922 and had 5000 volumes.

The Fortress of Petrela, 12 km far from Tirana, dates IV century BC. It took the actual form in the XIII century, under the rule of Topiaj and later passed to the property of Kastriots.

Tirana become the temporary capital on 8 February appointed by the Congress of Lushnja and finally took this status on December 31, 1925.

Tirana is the world main center of bektashis from 1925, a year when the bektashis were stopped and expulsed by Turkey.

Estef Frashëri compiled the first regulatory plan of the city in 1923. “Durrësi“ Street was opened in 1922 and was called “Nana Mbretneshë “(Queen Mother). A lot of houses and yards were demolished for its construction. The existing Parliamentary building was raised 1924 and firstly, it served as a Club of Officers. There, on September 1928, Ahmet Zogu proclaimed the Monarchy.

The center of Tirana is projected by well-known Italian architects of Mussolini period, Florestano de Fausto and Armando Brasini.

Their works are the Palace of Brigades (the ex-Reigning palace), the ministries buildings, the National Bank and the Municipality.

Tirana today, Albania“Dëshmoret e Kombit “ (Martyrs of the Nation) boulevard was constructed in 1930 with the name “Zogu I“ boulevard. In the communism period, the part from “Skanderbeg“ square up to the Train Station was named “Stalin“ boulevard.

The Palace of Culture where the Theatre of Operas and Ballet and the National Library stand was finished in 1963. It was raised on the ex-old Trade of Tirana and the ex- soviet president Nikita Hrushov put on the first brick in 1959.

The monument of Skanderbeg built in 1968 is a work of Odhise Paskali in collaboration with Andrea Mana and Janaq Paço. It was placed there for the occasion of the 500-th anniversary of the death of our national hero.

The monument “Mother Albania” (Nënë Shqipëri), 12 m high was inaugurated in the cemetery “Dëshmoret e Kombit “ in 1971.

The Academy of Sciences was finished on April 1972.

The Gallery of Figurative Arts was created in 1976 and it includes around 3200 works of Albanian and foreign authors.

The National Historic Museum was built in 1981 and the ornament on its frontal part is called “Albania“.

The International Cultural Center, the ex- museum “Enver Hoxha“ was inaugurated in 1988. “The Pyramid“ was projected by a group of architects under the direction of Pranvera Hoxha and Klement Kolaneci.

In 1990 Tirana had 250.000 inhabitants. Actually, the massive overrun of inhabitants from all the other parts of the country in the capital has increased the population of Tirana to over 700.000 inhabitants.

In 2000 the center of Tirana, from the Central University Corpus and up to the “Skanderbeg“ square was declared as Cultural Assemble with particular values under the state ‘s protection, that same year in this area began a restoring process named “Return to Identity.”

Source: World66 travel Guide & official website of municipality of Tirana

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 September 2005 )
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