Tirana is the capital and the largest city of Albania. Although a new and modern capital city the origins of Tirana as an inhabited centre are quite old with several theories and myths associating its current name with ancient versions. One version is that it’s name derives from the word ‘Theranda’ that Greek and Latin sources employ to refer to the area, after the term ‘te ranat’ used by the inhabitants, meaning ‘fallen material’, in reference to the composition of the terrain out of hard earth swept down by water from the nearby mountains. Another theory is that it comes from the word ‘Tirkan’, the name used by the sixth century Byzantine historian Prokop to refer to a castle, first built in the first century BC, on Mount Dajti, and the ruins of which are extant. Some say it comes from ‘tyros’, the old Greek word for ‘dairy’, on the hypothesis that it was in the field there that the shepherds of surrounding areas gathered to trade dairy products.
Whatever the case the name Tirana has been used in the present form from at least beginning of the 15th century as mentioned in a Venetian document of 1418. Records of the first land registrations under the Ottomans in 1431-32 reveal that Tirana then consisted of 60 inhabited areas, with nearly 1000 houses and 7300 inhabitants. A century later in 1583 the population had tripled reaching 20 000 inhabitants Modern Tirana was founded in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini ‘Pasha’, a local ruler from Mullet who constructed a mosque, a bakery and a hamam (Turkish sauna).
The city began to grow at the beginning of the 18 century, but it remained an unimportant town until it was proclaimed Albania’s capital in 1920. This was mainly due to its geographical position more or less in the middle of the country, on the fault-line between the northern Ghegs and the southern Tosks. It wasn’t until the late 1920 when Italian influence became quite strong, that the centre of the city took the appearance of a capital city.
Well known architects of the Mussolini period in Italy Florestano de Fausto and Armando Brasini, where the masterminds which build the main square, which today bears the name of Albanian National Hero Scanderbeg, the huge boulevard, ministry buildings, national bank, the town hall and the Palace of Brigades (former royal Palace, today Presidential Palace). Today Tirana is the centre of the political, economical, and cultural life of the country with over 700 000 inhabitants. In the last few years Tirana has seen substantial changes in its appearance. The dull communist-style apartment blocks have been painted over in bright colors and abstract patterns by an artist turned Mayer. This is not only a quick fix but also an uplifting experience for inhabitants and visitors alike. Furthermore it has seen an increased development in modern infrastructure contributing to the city’s metropolitan look.
Interesting facts and hypothesis about Tirana
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