Tirana Symbols on Skanderbeg Square
At the time of the Albanian monarchy, the square was composed of a number of buildings that would eventually be detonated during the communist period. The square was composed of a roundabout with a fountain in the middle. Tirana's Old Bazaar used to be established on the grounds of modern-day Palace of Culture, the Orthodox Cathedral at present-day Tirana International Hotel, while the former Municipal building on the grounds of where the National History Museum is located nowadays. A statue of Joseph Stalin was erected where today Skanderbeg's statue is located. Besides the construction of the above new elements during communism, the statue of Albania's leader Enver Hoxha was erected at the space between the National History Museum and the Bank of Albania. Following the fall of communism in 1991, the statue would be removed amid student-led demonstrations.
2010 Reconstruction Project
Former Tirana mayor Edi Rama embarked on a plan to modernize and Europeanize the square. In March 2010, works began to transform the square into a pedestrians and public transport only area. A new fountain would use rain water as its water supply, while a two-meter high pyramid would be built and leveled with a 2.5% slope throughout the square. During the construction period, detour roads have been put in place to gradually establish the new and permanent road in the ring road around the square. The entire project is funded by a grant from the State of Kuwait.
2011 Temporary Plan
In September 2011, the earlier plan was scrapped and a new one introduced by the new mayor, Lulzim Basha. The use of the square by all motor vehicles was restored through the construction of a narrower road segment around the center of the square including bicycle lanes. The existing green field south of Skanderbeg's statue was extended northward for a few hundred meters, while trees were planted in most places.
2016 Pedestrian Square Project
Tirana's mayor, Erion Veliaj, announced that, the 2010 plan would be reintroduced with minor changes such as greater green space areas around the square, underground parking, and the introduction of stone material taken from all corners of Albania and Albanian inhabited lands. The former garden behind Skanderbeg's monument would be restored to the pre-2010 state. Construction works started in 2016 with the finishing of the small ring road around the square. Once the project is completed, the square will serve as a venue where the surrounding institutions would showcase themselves in an open environment concept on the square. The square will also serve as a local farmers market with vendors from rural Tirana showcasing their organic products.
- Photos of the Square Photos of Skanderbeg Square
- Photos from the Skanderbeg Square Sheshi Skenderbej and other photos
- (Albanian) Sheshi "Skënderbej"- transformimi nga larvë në flutur Shekulli Online, 05 Prill 2008
- (Albanian) Rama: “Sheshi “Skënderbej”, kartvizita e kryeqytetit për të gjithë shqiptarët” 28.03.2010
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