Top Historic Sights in Tirana, Albania

Explore the historic highlights of Tirana

Skanderbeg Square

The Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square. In 1917, the Austrians built a public square, where the Skanderbeg Square is located nowadays. After Tirana became the capital in 1920, and the population increased, several city plans were planned. During the time of the Albania ...
Founded: 1917 | Location: Tirana, Albania

Et'hem Bey Mosque

The Et'hem Bey Mosque construction was started in 1791 or 1794 by Molla Bey and it was finished in 1819 or 1821 by his son Haxhi Ethem Bey, grand-grandson of Sulejman Pasha. At the time it was built it was part of complex buildings that compose the historical center of Tirana. In front of mosque was the old Bazaar, in east the Sulejman Pasha Mosque, which was built on 1614 and destroyed during World War II, and in the no ...
Founded: 1791 | Location: Tirana, Albania

National Museum of History

The National Museum of History of Albania was opened in 1981. Above the entrance of the museum is a large mural mosaic titled The Albanians that depicts purported ancient to modern figures from Albania's history. The museum includes the following pavilions, the Pavilion of Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Independence, Iconography, National Liberation Antifascist War, Communist Terror, and Mother Teresa. Antiquity ...
Founded: 1981 | Location: Tirana, Albania

Tirana Castle Ruins

Fortress of Justinian or simply known as Tirana Castle dates is a remnant from the Byzantine-era. The preserved ruins show that the castle was probably founded in antiquity, maybe in the Early Byzantinum (400-600 AD). The fortress is the place where the main east-west and north-south roads crossed, and formed the heart of Tirana. The current fortification has three known towers and it is undergoing a process of restoratio ...
Founded: 400-600 AD | Location: Tirana, Albania

Kapllan Pasha Tomb

The Kapllan Pasha Tomb was built in the early 19th century, with carved stones and has an octagonal shape. The columns are made of stone, and placed also on stone bases and capitals with plant decor on the surface. The former ruler of Tirana was interned here in the 19th century, but was later repatriated back to Istanbul, Turkey. It stood next to the Sylejman Pasha Mosque, which was destroyed during World War II and ...
Founded: 1820 | Location: Tirana, Albania

Tirana Mosaic

The Tirana Mosaic is believed to have been part of a 3rd century Roman house, referred to by local archeologists as the "Villa rustica". Later, in the 5th and 6th centuries, a Paleo-Christian Basilica was built around this site. The ruins of this Paleo-Christian Basilica were discovered in 1972. In 2002, some other objects were found around the ruins of the house, and today they form the Archaeological Complex ...
Founded: 3rd century AD | Location: Tirana, Albania

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Cochem Castle

The original Cochem Castle, perched prominently on a hill above the Moselle River, served to collect tolls from passing ships. Modern research dates its origins to around 1100. Before its destruction by the French in 1689, the castle had a long and fascinating history. It changed hands numerous times and, like most castles, also changed its form over the centuries.

In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

Louis Jacques Ravené (1823-1879) did not live to see the completion of his renovated castle, but it was completed by his son Louis Auguste Ravené (1866-1944). Louis Auguste was only two years old when construction work at the old ruins above Cochem began in 1868, but most of the new castle took shape from 1874 to 1877, based on designs by Berlin architects. After the death of his father in 1879, Louis Auguste supervised the final stages of construction, mostly involving work on the castle’s interior. The castle was finally completed in 1890. Louis Auguste, like his father, a lover of art, filled the castle with an extensive art collection, most of which was lost during the Second World War.

In 1942, during the Nazi years, Ravené was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice, which turned it into a law school run by the Nazi government. Following the end of the war, the castle became the property of the new state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate). In 1978 the city of Cochem bought the castle for 664,000 marks.