Tirana (Tiranë), Albania
Albania’s predominantly Muslim capital is situated 17 km east of the Adriatic coast on the Ishm River in central Albania. Positioned on a fertile plain, its surrounding area contains evidence of Neolithic inhabitants. A Roman fortress was present around AD 520, but the establishment of the modern city is generally put at around 1614 when the Turkish general, Barkinzade Süleyman Pasa, is reputed to have constructed a mosque, bakery and some baths.
During the eighteenth century the town began to grow as a trade centre and gained a reputation for its fabrics, leather, pottery and silverware. It was during this period that the Etehem Bay mosque, still preserved in the city’s main Skanderbeg Square, was constructed. During the nineteenth century Tirana was the subject of feudal conflicts until the Toptani family gained control. Around this time several prominent figures of the Rilindja (the Albanian nationalist awakening) were active in the city and the nationalist...