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A leisurely Sunday in Tirana

Tirana day four

View Tirana 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Modern architecture in Tirana

Our last full day and the sun was shining again. It was Sunday, so we started the day with an English mass in the chapel of the striking Catholic Cathedral we'd previously visited as sightseers. Afterwards we had brunch at the Millennium Garden near the cinema. We loved the relaxed atmosphere, the sunshine filtering through the trees, and the food and coffee were good too (I had the pancakes!)

Musicians on Shëtitorja Murat Toptani


We then spent a pleasant hour strolling around the streets to the east of Skanderbeg Square where we found a number of monuments. The statue of Sulejman Pasha, the city’s founder, stands in the small square of the same name. This was once the location of his tomb. However this was ruined by bombing in 1944, along with the nearby mosque of the same name (Tirana’s first) which had stood here since 1614.

Statue of Sheshi Sulejman Pasha

The communist government, under Enver Hoxha, destroyed what remained of these structures in 1967, apart from Kapllan Pasha’s tomb. This is now tucked under a cleverly designed modern building across the road. It has one lower corner cut away in an arc of gold to accommodate and set off the ancient tomb. Kapllan Pasha was an Ottoman administrator of Tirana, who died in 1819. The tomb was built in the early 19th century but today is empty, as Kapllan Pasha’s remains were later exhumed and reburied in Istanbul. However the tomb itself remains and is protected as the only remnant of the mosque.

The tomb of Kapllan Pasha, and the monument to the Partisan

Where the mosque itself once stood is now the statue to the Unknown Partisan. It depicts a soldier with fist and gun extended, marching towards victory, and was created by Andrea Mano in 1949. The monument was dedicated to the fallen heroes of the National Liberation War in Albania.

Also in this area is the striking Friendship Monument, a gift to Albania from Kuwait (its colours are those of the Kuwaiti flag).

The Friendship Monument

Flea market

Nearby we stumbled across a wonderful market. One area sold produce, one souvenirs (mostly at the tacky end of the spectrum – I wasn’t tempted!) and one was devoted to a flea market. The latter was the most interesting, with a real jumble of items from military caps to old radios to German LPs to books about Hoxha to ... Well, you name it and it was probably there, somewhere!




Flea and souvenir market

This was also a good area for some surreptitious street photography, with locals out enjoying their Easter Sunday.


Near the flea market

The Grand Park

We crossed back over the square and followed our usual route back over the Lana River to the apartment. There we dropped off the warm tops we'd needed at the start of the day before walking further along the street to Tirana's Grand Park. I was surprised, and pleased, to find not manicured lawns but a wild flower strewn woodland near the entrance.


In the Grand Park

But this soon gave way to more traditional park scenes such as a lively children’s play area and seating by the lake. It was very busy with local families picnicking, playing and soaking up the sun.


In the Grand Park

We strolled around for a while but as we couldn't find anywhere for refreshments (it was far too busy!) we didn’t linger long, instead retreating back to our favourite ice cream place near the apartment.


When we'd met the local polyglot in a nearby bar, Quo Vadis, two days ago, as we were photographing the Newcastle Brown Ale adverts, he'd told us it was likely they would be showing our Premier League match against Tottenham this afternoon. And sure enough when we went along to check, they were. And what a match – we were so glad we managed to see it! Newcastle won 6-1 with a majestic first half performance in particular.

Football in Quo Vadis
Taken just seven minutes in - I stupidly neglected to take one later in the game when the score was more impressive!

The game finished just before five so we were able to relax back at the apartment for a while before dinner. For the latter we decided to go back to Era which we’d enjoyed a lot two evenings ago. This time we shared some hummus and flatbread before Chris had the same meatballs we'd both liked previously while I mixed it up with a traditional chicken and rice dish – a sort of Albanian risotto. Our bill for a shared starter, two mains and two beers came to 2,324 lek – just over £18!

The terrace of Bar Laveen

We finished the evening on the terrace of the same bar we’d visited a couple of times before, Laveen, with our last Albanian raki.

Posted by ToonSarah 17:42 Archived in Albania Tagged park monument market tirana albania street_photography

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That market certainly looks fascinating and very photogenic. I would also really have enjoyed the overgrown park by the water.I guess the football was the icing on the cake that really made your day for you.

by irenevt

And very sweet icing it was Irene 😄 ⚽

by ToonSarah

It sounds like a perfect ending. I've enjoyed following this journey.

by littlesam1

Thank you Larry, glad you enjoyed this trip :)

by ToonSarah

Awesome photo of the accordionplayer! :)

by hennaonthetrek

That was a sneaky one Henna, from the other side of the road!

by ToonSarah

The city might be different, but it sure makes for a great 'escape' for a few days! :) :)

by Ils1976

Yes, definitely Ils!

by ToonSarah

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