Discussion by the Natolin Religion and Politics Nest - "Secularisation of Societies: Destiny or Normality?"
On 20 February 2024, the Natolin Religion and Politics Nest hosted a discussion titled Secularisation of Societies: Destiny or Normality?
Tirana, the capital and largest city of Albania, carries a history spanning from the Palaeolithic era to the modern day. Originally named Tërana by the Illyrians, the city itself is relatively modern, founded in 1614 by Sulejman Pashe Bargjini, a regional feudal lord. Its strategic geographic location, nestled between mountains and sea, in the heart of Albania, has made Tirana a magnet for residents. Modern Tirana witnessed significant growth in the 18th century. However, it gained prominence as Albania's capital in 1920, chosen for its central geographical position. The city's transformation into a capital, especially under Italian influence in the late 1920s, marked the beginning of its distinct appearance. Following the occupation by the fascist Axis powers Italy and Germany during the Second World War, Tirana was shaped by the totalitarian Communist rule of the country that ended in 1992 with Albania’s transition to democracy. Today, Tirana stands as the political, economic, and cultural center of Albania, hosting approximately 1,000,000 inhabitants. Recent years have seen substantial changes in the city's appearance, reflecting its dynamic nature.
Tirana's strategic location is complemented by an efficient transportation network. Nene Tereza International Airport serves as a key hub, offering access from 99 destinations across Europe, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East through 29 airlines. Well-established regional, national, and local transportation options ensure smooth connectivity within Tirana and its surrounding Albanian and Balkan major cities.
Tirana offers a vibrant lifestyle catering to diverse student interests. The city’s pulsating cultural scene, especially prevalent in the City Center and Bllok neighbourhood, not only features regular art exhibitions, music and film festivals, and theatrical performances but also is a melting pot of various cultural and religious influences, reflecting the rich tapestry of Albania’s society and history. Students can explore numerous sites and events that showcase the city’s multi-religious and multicultural aspects, offering a highly diverse environment for a unique educational experience.
Recreational opportunities are abound in prominent areas such as Lake’s Gran Park and Rinia Park, Nene Tereza and Skanderbeg Square, as well as the Pazari i Ri neighbourhood. Tirana’s nightlife is vibrant and diverse, offering trendy clubs, live music venues, and cozy cafes. The social scene fosters a sense of community, enhancing the overall experience for young residents.
Navigating Tirana is facilitated by over 30 bus lines and three terminals. The city is easily walkable due to its flat terrain, and additional features such as bike lanes and eco-friendly transportation options promote sustainable and efficient mobility for students.
Tirana's culinary landscape is a delightful blend of local and international flavours, influenced by Italian and Turkish cuisine. The cosmopolitan nature of the city is reflected in diverse dining options, providing a culinary journey for residents.