• Albanian History

    A journey through Albania's history.

    Tirana's Italian heritage.

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    Tirana's vast main plaza.

    First built by the Austro-Hungarians in 1917, it's dominated by the monument to the 15th Century National hero Gjergj Kastrioti, known as Skanderbeg. Several of the square's pre-World War II buidlings were detonated by the Communist government. The square also housed a huge Stalin monument, which was first moved in 1968 and then taken down after demonstrations against Communist rule in 1990.
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    Some of Tirana's Ottoman heritage. Albania formed part of the Ottoman Empire from 1479 to 1912.
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    The National Museum of History, built 1981, leaves you speechless from the outside.

    Inside awaits a vast and stunning treasure chest of the country's rich heritage - from antiquity to today.

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    The head of Apollo - the God of sun, light, music, knowledge. 4th century BC. 

    From Butrint, now UNESCO's World Heritage Site.
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    The Bektashi Türbe of Kapllan Pasha.

    Designated as a Cultural monument, the 19th century shrine was restored under Communism.

    Tucked under the roof of Tirana's Plaza Hotel.
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    The flag and seal of the Albanian organisation 'Desire' - Bulgaria, late 19th century.

    Albanians shared the aspirations of other Balkan nations for self-determination and independence from the Ottoman Empire.
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    A heroic vision of Albania's distant past in the prescribed canon of socialist realism.

    Mural by the prominent artist Fatmir Haxhiu. National Museum of History.
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    One of the very few surviving monuments from the Communist period in central Tirana.

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    No matter how urgent your business might be, there's always time for a 'filxhan kafeje' in Tirana.

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    Bari, April 1939. Italian soldiers heading to Albania and the occupation of the country.

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    Tirana 1939. Albania on its knees to Fascist Italy.

    Apart from the Durrës area, the defence lines of the Albanian army collapsed with little resistance, King Zog I went into exile and the Italian ambassador to Albania, Francesco Jacomoni was promptly promoted to Viceroy, effectively the governor during most of the occupation.
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    The victims of Albanian Communism under the 41 years of Enver Hoxha's rule were many tens of thousands.

    Their memories are well preserved and honoured in today's Albania.
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    Some of the worst affected and persecuted by Enver Hoxha's regime were the clergy - Sunni, Bektashi, Catholic, Orthodox.
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    The National Museum of History in Tirana has preserved and exhibits the precious belongings of the victims and their testimonies.
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    This attractive villa from the Italian period was used for interrogation and torture by the Communist police.

    Today it houses the Association of Politically Persecuted People.
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    The House of Leaves is a national museum, dedicated to the Sigurimi, the notorious Secret police of Enver Hoxha.

    It displays the tools of its craft - the surveillance of a whole nation.
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    Tirana's House of Leaves, a former house of horror, now preserving the memories of a nation.
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    At the House of Leaves - how the Sigurimi extracted confessions from its victims.
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    At the House of Leaves - some of the equipment, used by the Communist secret police to record simultaneously and watch over the lives of its victims.
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    At the House of Leaves - the testimonies of the victims.
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    At the House of Leaves - some of the agents' arsenal.
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    At the House of Leaves - the multichanneling tasks of a Sigurimi agent.
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    At the House of Leaves - for the Sigurimi agents, surveillance and propaganda film footage went hand in hand.
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    A truly sinister place. The nuclear bunker, built for Enver Hoxha, five floors under Tirana.
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    Into Enver Hoxha's nuclear bunker.
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    At the nuclear bunker deep under Tirana, Enver Hoxha's room.
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    At the nuclear bunker - one of the largest rooms is Mehmet Shehu's, Hoxha's Prime Minister and defence minister. Shehu personally supervised the construction of the bunker.
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    At Mehhmet Shehu's desk.
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    Enver Hoxha's communications.
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    Enver Hoxha, who ran Albania for 41 years, dotted his country with countless bunkers, fearing an invasion from the outside.

    In the end, his regime collapsed from within.
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    Toppling of the bronze statue of the late communist leader Enver Hoxha, Tirana 20 February 1991.
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    Tirana's rather charming theme cafe 'Komiteti kafe muzeum'
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    Christmas is a huge celebration for all in Tirana, not just for the city's large Christian community.
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Gallery Balkans

Albania history

Albania history

Albania Saranda 1991

Albania Saranda 1991

Ukraine's Mountain People - Hutsuls

Ukraine's Mountain People - Hutsuls

Yugoslavia 1926

Yugoslavia 1926

Prizren Old Homes

Prizren Old Homes

End of the War 1996

End of the War 1996

Sarajevo 1994

Sarajevo 1994

Mostar 1998

Mostar 1998

Serb Krajina 1994

Serb Krajina 1994

Mladic Lived Here

Mladic Lived Here

Borderlands

Borderlands

Tirana

Tirana

Mostar 2010

Mostar 2010

Albania, Vlore and Durres

Albania, Vlore and Durres

Sarajevo Winter

Sarajevo Winter

Prizren

Prizren

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