Tirana, the capital of Albania, was the seat of power for the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha from 1944-1985. He added numerous factories and Soviet towers to the city, significantly altering its character and composition. Since the fall of Communism in 1989, Tirana has struggled with change. In 1997, a collapsed Ponzi scheme brought it to the brink of ruin, at a time when chronic traffic, heavy air pollution, and blackouts were just some of the visible manifestations of the capital’s straining infrastructure.
For the most part, those difficult days are gone. Tirana has now found its feet, re-inventing itself as a bustling city with vibrant nightlife, festivals dedicated to fashion and jazz, symphonic orchestras, ballet and theatre, as well as fine museums exploring history, art, science, and archaeology. Its architecture is eclectic: alongside a slew of bright, bold, new skyscrapers, the city incorporates Fascist, Soviet, and Ottoman styles.