Tirana is the capital city and main urban area of Albania, with a population of 454,000 inhabitants.
For Albania as a Nation, Tirana represents the center of culture and business. The scale and grandour of the Et'hem Bey Mosque indicates that the majority of the population are Muslim, but in addition, historic communities of Orthodox and Catholic Christians co-exist - from where Mother Teresa originated.
Tirana has been transformed, with high-quality blocks of flats, good small hotels, excellent bars, patisseries and restaurants. There are even bookshops which sell the Guardian.
There are many pavement bars and restaurants where it is perfectly safe to sit out at night.
Tirana is notable for its open design, with the center dominated by the enormous Skanderbeg Square. A statue of the one-time dictator, Enver Hoxha, now stands guard.