Ura e Tabakëve
The Tanners' Bridge in Tirana
|Material||Stones of the Lanë stream|
|Number of spans||3|
|Construction end||18th century|
|Daily traffic||Before used by farming caravans, now as pedestrian bridge|
The Tanners' Bridge (Albanian: Ura e Tabakëve) is an 18th-century Ottoman period stone footbridge located in Tirana, Albania. The bridge was once part of the Saint George Road that linked Tirana with the eastern highlands. The Saint George Road furnished the city with agricultural produce and livestock. The bridge went across the Lanë stream and was adjacent to the area of butchers and leather workers. The Lanë was rerouted in the 1930s and the bridge was neglected. In the 1990s the bridge was restored to its former glory and is now used by pedestrians only.
The Tanners' Bridge was part of the road that connected Tirana with Debar through Shëngjergj, also called Shëngjergj Road (Albanian: Rruga e Shëngjergjit). The road to Debar passed through Priskë e Madhe, Qafe Priskë, Domje, Shëngjergj, and further it continued through Bizë, Martanesh, Zerqan and finally Debar. It was an important axis which linked Tirana with the eastern highlands of the city, and was mainly used by caravans of farming products or livestock to be butchered in the city. The butchering profession was owned by certain families such as Xheleti, or Kuka families. They were called tabakë in Albanian which is the profession that includes both butchering and tanning. The road within the city, a square and also the bridge itself were called Rruga e Tabakëve (English: Tanners' Road).
In the 1990s the bridge was cleaned and underwent restoration, which brought it to its former splendor, and now the bridge is used for pedestrians only. In 2007 one of the engineers that worked on the "Ethnography in movement" project declared to the Albanian News Agency (Albanian: Agjencia Telegrafike Shqiptare) that the underground infrastructural work on the bridge had been completed. During the restoring work the bridge's foundations were uncovered and an artificial pond was recreated on both sides of the bridge. In addition, the original stones of the bridge were cleaned up. A historical reevaluation of the area is in the municipality projects, inclusive of the construction of an underground market. The overall project intends that the entire area be used by pedestrians only. The intended area extends from the Tanners' bridge to the square where the flag of Albania was raised for the first time in 26 November 1912.
The bridge is now seen by the municipality of Tirana as one of the most important cultural heritage monuments of the city. The bridge is considered as a testimony of Tirana's urban development in the 18th century and of the increase of communication with the internal areas of Albania. The Tanner's Bridge is also a testimony of fine bridge construction from the area of Tirana.
The Tanners' Bridge is composed by a main arch, on which the bridge raises in a back shape. This arch has the light span of 8 meters and is built with two ranks of sideway arches which are 1 meter thick. The height from the water was 3.5 meters. The pavement of the bridge with 2.5 meters in width, constructed with river stones and placed without any apparent order. In the two sides of the main arch, there are two arches in the shape of circular segments with a small space.