Swinging Tirana

A new life and energy run through the streets of the capital

Just twenty years ago, the city of Tirana was a sort of Pyongyang in the heart of Europe, the capital of a paranoid, isolated nation. Today Tirana is a vibrant, ambitious town, welcoming those who ran away during the Nineties now back richer, and with a better instruction. It’s people in their thirties – artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, architects – ready to invest in a new idea of Albania: young (30% of population is less than 18 years old), with a vision (former, brilliant Tirana’s mayor Edi Rama is now Albania’s Prime Minister) and well into Europe. “Being in the European Union – they affirm – will bring strict rules and a new image, promoting tourism”.

Tirana is no doubt leading this renaissance, funded (even) by investors from Italy, Germany, Canada, Turkey and China. The icon of all this is Biloku, Tirana’s upper class district: the very same area where once the communist elite used to live, in a golden isolation. It’s the place where, between luxury and an exciting nightlife scene, the optimism and the future prospects of a whole nation show off.