Distance from AS Tirana Hotel:1 km
Named after a national hero of Albania, Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the capital city of Tirana. All roads in Tirana seem to lead into the square, which has been the subject of various reconstruction plans since 2010. Many of the original buildings on the square were destroyed during communist times, but a few older structures do remain, like the early 19th century Et’hem Bey Mosque and Clock Tower. In 1968, a statue of Joseph Stalin was replaced by the Skanderbeg Monument, honoring a nobleman who once resisted the Ottoman invasion. The equestrian monument stands 11 meters tall and depicts Skanderbeg on horseback in full armor, with an Albanian flag flying alongside.
Heading clockwise around the square you’ll find the Palace of Culture, which houses the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Then comes the pretty Et’hem Bey Mosque (daily 8am–11pm except during prayer times), which was closed off during Communist rule; one sunny day in 1991, thousands flocked here to make use of their new-found religious freedom. Right next door is the tall clock tower, which offers superb views around Tirana.
During the Italian invasion of Albania, the city plan for Tirana was designed by Florestano Di Fausto and Armando Brasini in a Neo-Renaissance style with articulate angular solutions and giant order fascias.