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TIRANA

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Tirana, the capital of Albania   
 
 
 
Tirana (or Tiranë as it is known in Albanian) has been the capital of Albania since 1920. It is a very compact city and can easily be explored on foot. In the city you will find both eastern and western architectural influences, as well as soviet style buildings. The main open space in the city center is Skënderberg Square. To the east rises 1612 m (5030 ft) high Mt Dajti. If you walk from the square eastwards in the direction of the mountain, you will come to a big market that is well worth a visit.
 
The tallest building in Albania is the 15 storey Tirana International Hotel, with its façade completely covered by a huge mosaic mural called Albania. Next to this hotel you will find the country's best and largest museum; the National Museum of History. In the eastern part of the capital, the Palace of Culture is situated. It is an ugly soviet style building that houses a theatre, restaurant, cafes and art galleries. The National Library is housed in the same building, but the entrance is on the southern side, so you will have to go round the building. On the other side you will see the cupola and minaret of one of the Tirana's nicest buildings, the Mosque of Ethem Mey. This mosque was built in 1793. Next to the mosque is Tirana's clock tower, founded in 1830.
 
 
Founded in the early 1600s, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920. The largest city in Albania, Tirana serves as the nation's industrial, commercial, and cultural center. The city's downtown district boasts wide thoroughfares and intersperses old stone buildings with more modern structures.

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