Tirana is Albania’s capital and largest city, and has about 600,000 inhabitants. It was founded by Ottomans in 1614, and was made capital in 1920. The Ishem and Tirane Rivers flow through Tirana, and it is surrounded by hills. There are also four artificial lakes located throughout the city. Tirana is situated in the center of Albania, about 20 miles inland from the sea. It is a major education center in this country, with several universities and private academic institutions. It is also a major industrial center that produces agricultural products and metal products. There are a few cultural institutions like theaters and museums, as well as historic landmarks, Tirana also takes the role as media hub for Albania. This city is currently suffering problems due to overpopulation and pollution. Some renovations have gone under place; several tall buildings were put up in the past 10 years, and they have drawn up more parks and squares to give the city a more European feel.
Durres is the second largest Albanian city, with a population of almost 250,000. It is located on the coast, facing the Adriatic Sea. Because it faces Italy, it is an important port that is linked to Western Europe. Albania’s newest public university, Aleksander Moisiu University, has recently opened in this city.Durres is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to its foundation by Greek colonists in 627 BC. There are a few cultural institutions located around Durres, like a puppet theater and philharmonic orchestra, as well as a couple museums. Because of its beaches, it attracts many tourists in the summertime, particularly other Albanians from Tirana.
Elbasan is a city located in central Albania, on the Shkumbin River, and has a population of around 100,000. Before WWII, it used to be a pleasant city full of eastern and medieval style architecture, bazaars and cobblestone streets. Its history went through times of many different occupations, by Serbs, Bulgarians, Austrians, Italians and Ottomans. The center of the city is famous for a few historic churches, and there are four museums. It has been a major industrial center for the past few decades, and has been suffering from pollution as a result.