Colorful Tirana, with Art and History Museums

Colorful Tirana, with Art and History Museums

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$ 75

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      Tirana, Albania
      5 Hours
      Moderate
      From (USD)
      $ 75
      • City sights: See Skanderbeg Square with its 36-foot equestrian monument to a larger-than-life hero, the Palace of Culture, National Theater, Et'hem Bey Mosque, the University, and the trendy Blloku quarter – once the private domain of dictator Enver Hoxha.
      • National History Museum: See a replica of Skanderbeg's massive sword, priceless Roman antiquities, magnificent painted icons, Mother Theresa artifacts, and the haunting "Pavilion of Communist Terror."
      • National Art Gallery: Visit a light-filled space where Albania's story comes alive in art, from 19th-century paintings of village life to a powerful collection of Socialist Realism propaganda images of workers and soldiers.

      Meeting point

      Please make your way to in front of the Albanian National History Museum at Sheshi Skenderbej 1, Tirana 1000 to meet your tour representative.

      Helpful hints

      In need of retail therapy after your tour? Shopping is available 7 days a week, although early closing at 3:00pm on Sundays is generally observed. Look for traditional Albanian souvenirs - embroidery, woolen items and Raki Skrapari, the local liquor.

      Getting around

      Plan to walk a total of 1 mile with up to 50 steps over varying surfaces including cobblestones and flat terrain.

      Activity type

      Cultural, Scenic, Walking Tour

      Transportation used

      46-seat Motorcoach

      Languages

      English, German, French, Spanish

      Tour ID

      TR-EUR-ALB-TIRA-EN-1001

      Tour Participation Requirements

      Activity Level

      This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.

      Age restrictions

      Suitable for all ages.

      Special Medical Restriction

      Travelers must be in good health, disclose their physical fitness and advise any conditions that might impact their participation in the tour.

      Color is everywhere in free Tirana, fully emerged from decades under the shadow of totalitarianism. The buildings themselves have become colorful canvases, including the giant throng of characters captured in mosaic above the National History Museum's facade. They represent a who's who of Albanian history – everyone from the seafaring Illyrians who founded the country in the 6th century B.C. to proud Communist workers marching in 1981, the year the building opened. A decade later, free elections arrived at last, and Albanians were finally able to march to the ballot box – and be sure their vote would actually be counted.

      Many chapters of this long and tumultuous journey are represented within the museum's eight pavilions. Some are magnificent, like the 2nd-century Beauty of Durres – a large ellipticalRoman mosaic lost for two millennia, found, and then lost again before finally being brought here for permanent view.

      Other chapters are inspiring, like the exhibit dedicated to the life of Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, an ethnic Albanian better known as Mother Theresa. Or brilliantly captured in pigment, like the works of Onufri, a 16th-century icon-painting master who invented a particularly vibrant pigment of red that's never been equaled. (He apparently took the formula with him to his grave.)

      But perhaps the most memorable chapter of all is the one that recounts Albania's dark, 45-year era of Communist prison camps and terror squads via film, document, and relic. If, like most non-Albanians, you weren't fully aware of how off-the-rails things were here, this will open your eyes.

      Equally eye-opening is the remarkable collection of Socialist propaganda art you'll see at the National Gallery. These powerful images serve as a vivid reminder that people under totalitarian rule endure a constant bombardment of state-sponsored PR.

      Ironically, reproductions of these colorful works sell big in the West: an unintended capitalist success story created by art that vilifies capitalism. It's likely less popular in countries like Albania, where the long years of darkness so recently lifted.

      Once around the Blloku

      After surveying Skanderbeg Square and visiting the museums, your tour ends across the River Lana for some free-range exploring in a neighborhood with a totally different vibe. Here in "the Block," it's all hipster, all the time. Formerly the drab residential enclave of high Communist Party officials, it's now bustling with fashionable hotels, cafes, and boutiques. Be sure to stop and sip a syrupy-smooth Turkish coffee as you watch the beautiful people go by.

      Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.

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      Tirana, Albania
      Great photo opportunities
      Bring money
      Bring water
      Wear sunscreen
      Wear Sunglasses
      Wear Hat
      Wear comfortable shoes
      Wear light clothing

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      General disclaimer

      Your order is subject to TourTrek's Booking Ticket Agreement, including all TourTrek and GoBe policies incorporated therein.

      To book this tour for a large group, visit ourGROUPS PAGE for special discounted group rates