11 Things to do for free in Tirana
11 Things to do for free in Tirana
Tirana is not a city packed with sights but look a little deeper into Albania‘s capital and you will find you can achieve a lot, all without spending a penny. So let us tighten our shoestrings and take at a look at Hitch-Hikers Handbook‘s 11 things to do for free in Tirana…
① Sheshi Nënë Tereza (Mother Teresa Square) is surrounded by some of the city’s most important buildings. On the east of the square lies the Archaeological Museum, in front of which, can be found some unique monuments to totalitarianism. Including a piece of the Berlin Wall and one of the many bunkers that can be found throughout the country.
② Ura e Tabakëve (Tanners’ Bridge) is an interesting piece of architecture and is an 18th century Ottoman stone footbridge which once formed part of the larger Shëngjergj Road that linked Tirana with the eastern highlands.
③ Katedralja e Ringjalljes së Krishtit (Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral: Rr. Ibrahim Rugova) was opened in 2012 and is the third largest Orthodox church in Europe. The building consists of a large dome building and an adjacent bell tower and is free to visit everyday 12 a.m.-11 p.m
④ Take a stroll around Tregu i Madh (the Big Market: Rr. Ferit Xhajko), the largest of Tirana’s Turkish bazaar style markets. It is located north of the city centre, near the Mother Teresa hospital and is famed for its Turkish influenced products such as coffee, traditional sweets, carpets and handicrafts.
⑤ Piramida (The Pyramid: Rr. Papa Gjon Pali II) is a unique pyramid-shaped structure that formerly housed as the Museum to the legacy of the former dictator Enver Hoxha. Despite slowly falling apart and almost beyond decay, if you’re a fan of blocky communist architecture, you’ll love it.
⑥ Sheshi Skënderbej (Skanderbeg Square) is the heart of Albanian’s capital and its most emblematic public space. Once an elegant and bustling centre of cultural life in the city; today, the square buzzes with the sound of traffic, the beeping of horns and the chug of engines. On the upside, the square is surrounding by a number of notable buildings including the National Historical Museum, Town Hall, Xhamia e Et’hem Beut & Kulla e Sahatit.
⑦ Parku i Madh (Grand Park) is the lungs of the city and a great place to escape the traffic and dust of summertime Tirana. The park is extremely popular with locals who take the time to fish or swim in the artificial lake and snooze on the grass after lunch. To reach the park walk up the path to the west of the university building on Mother Teresa Square.
⑧ If you take a quick trip up Rr Murat Toptani being the National Art Gallery you can find a 6m high wall covered in vines. This wall is the last remnant of the once great Byzantine-era Kalaja e Justinianit (Fortress of Justinian) that dates back to the 14th century.
⑨ Tirana’s most fashionable district Blloku (The Block) was once an area reserved for those in power alone but today it is teeming with shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. If you want to see and be seen, this is the place to head to.
⑩ Xhamia e Et’hem Beut (Et’hem Bey Mosque: Sheshi Skënderbej) was spared destruction during the turbulent atheism campaign of the late 1960s because of its cultural significance, and is one Tirana’s oldest and prettiest buildings. Particularly delightful are the frescoes depict trees, waterfalls and bridges, even more so being that still-life paintings are a rarity in Islamic art. It is free to visit everyday 8-11 a.m.
⑪ The pedestrianised Rruga Murat Toptani is probably the city’s most picturesque street. It contains the Kinema Millenium gardens, a rather expensive but pleasant cafe area, and during December it is transformed into a Christmas market, which is rather surprising given that its a Muslim country.
written by: Jon