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

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.