Bold, erratic, and conspicuously diverting: Tirana has more than just a melodic name. After it awoke from the gloomy Soviet dream that influenced its architecture, the Albanian capital blossomed at full speed. Today, it is famous for the creatively painted buildings and a mix of Ottoman and socialist-style architecture nestled in the history-laden alleys. The overall appearance of Tirana may not be appealing to every taste. Still, it manages to enchant visitors as the most offbeat city in Europe. A day trip will reveal how it was revived several times under different administrators. In Tirana, it is not just the streets and cafes that are buzzing with life. Brace your eyes for a visual carnival of patterns because each building has its own story to tell.

Head out from the spacious nucleus of the city, Skanderbeg Square. Funky street art and eccentric structures pop out at every corner leading to leisurely pedestrian zones. There, cafes come in all shapes and sizes lined up on the sidewalks. It is the chaotic heart of Tirana, owing to the mayor of the 2000s. When the mayor decided that the city needed some color, the gray and somber communist buildings became washed in vivid colors and intricate shapes. Street art came as a perfect complement to architecture in a more contemporary period. And together, they became the primary quality that makes Tirana a touristic center today.

Among other appeals are the National History and Archeological Museums and the iconic Pyramid. This tacky structure is a curious sight at the center of the city, almost repelling with its timeworn facade covered in graffiti art. Nevertheless, it remains a popular sight as visitors enjoy climbing to the top or just hanging around in its airy surroundings.

Tirana Gallery

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