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, city (1989 pop. 238,057), capital of Albania and of Tiranë dist., central Albania, on the Ishm River. It is the largest city and the chief industrial and cultural center of the country.
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the capital of the People’s Republic of Albania and the main political, economic, and cultural center of the country. Tirana is situated in an intermontane valley at an elevation of 89 m above sea level, in the foothills of the Kruja-Dajti Mountains, 40 km from the Adriatic Sea. Tirana has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers (average July temperature, 25°C) and humid, mild winters (average January temperature, 4°–5°C). Annual precipitation is 1,376 mm. Tirana is a separate administrative unit. Area, 30 sq km. Population, more than 200,000 (1975; 11,000 in 1923, 40,000 in 1939, 108,000 in 1955, and 136,300 in 1960).
Administration. Tirana is under republic jurisdiction and is the administrative center of Tirana District. The city’s governing body is the People’s Council, elected for a three-year term by all citizens who have reached the age of 18. People’s councils are also elected in the urban districts of Tirana. These councils elect executive and administrative bodies, called executive committees.
History. Tirana is first mentioned in 15th-century sources, which describe it as a small settlement. The city was established in the early 17th century. Its advantageous location at the crossroads of trade routes aided its development. Tirana was continually the arena of the Albanian people’s struggle against the Turkish conquerors and local feudal lords.
In January 1920 the Albanian National Congress, meeting in Lushnje, proclaimed Tirana the capital of Albania and the seat of government. In the 1920’s, the first trade unions came into being in Tirana. Tirana was occupied by fascist Italy from April 1939 to September 1943, when it was occupied by fascist Germany. The city was the center of the national liberation struggle of the Albanian people. In November 1941 the Communist Party of Albania was formed in Tirana. On Nov. 17, 1944, the city was liberated from the fascist German aggressors by the National Liberation Army. On Nov. 28, 1944, the popular democratic government moved to Tirana from Berat, and on Jan. 11, 1946, the People’s Republic of Albania was proclaimed. In the 1950’s, with the help of the USSR and other socialist countries, a number of modern enterprises were built in Tirana and several cultural institutions were established.
Economy. A significant portion of the country’s industry is concentrated in Tirana. The city has textile, food, tobacco, footwear, metalworking, and ceramic and glass industries. Among Tirana’s largest enterprises are a textile combine, a wool-weaving factory, a mechanical engineering plant, wood-products, footwear, and tobacco factories, a meat-packing plant, a distillery, a butter factory, a furniture factory, cement plants, a building-materials combine, a plant producing spare parts for tractors, and a charcoal-briquette factory. There are also many cooperative workshops and a district heat and power plant. Most of the industrial enterprises are located in the western and southwestern parts of the city. There are coal mines near Tirana, at Krraba and Priska. In 1951 the V. I. Lenin Hydroelectric Power Plant, the first in the country, was built near Tirana with Soviet assistance. Water flows to the plant’s turbines through tunnels from the mountain sources of the Selita River, and then through an aqueduct into the city. Tirana is linked by rail with the port of Durrës and the city of Miloti and by highway through the cities of Elbasan, Kruja, and Durrés with the other cities of Albania. Rinas Airport is located near Tirana.
Architecture and city planning. Tirana has a radial-ring layout. The old parts of the city have narrow, winding streets and buildings set far back in courtyards. An administrative and cultural center that was built in the 1920’s and 1930’s contains the Skanderbeg Square complex, a bank, a university, and the Opera and Ballet Theater. A plan for the modernization of the city was adopted for the period 1953–58 (architects G. Strazimiri and M. Mele). Extensive housing projects have been built, and the New Albania Film Studio was constructed (1952; Soviet architect G. L. Lavrov). The city has monuments to V. I. Lenin (cement, 1950’s; sculptor K. Hoshi) and to the Partisans (bronze, 1947; A. Mano).
Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Among Tirana’s educational institutions are the State University of Tirana and institutes of agriculture, fine arts, and physical culture. Scientific and cultural institutions in the city include the Albanian Academy of Sciences, the Central Research Station for Zootechnics, the Institute of Veterinary Research, the National Library, the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, the Museum of the Struggle for National Liberation, the Natural Science Museum, and the Lenin-Stalin Museum.
Tirana is the home of many theaters, including the Opera and Ballet Theater (with a ballet school), the People’s Theater, the Variety Stage and Circus Theater, and the Puppet Theater. A conservatory and a philharmonic society, the A. Moissi Higher Schools for Actors, the J. Misja Arts Lycée, and the New Albania Film Studio are also located in the city.