Albanian Architecture

Albanian Architecture is very odd. The first main point that I have found interesting is that almost every building has re-bar sticking out the top. This is because if you have plans to build more on to the building than it is still under construction and you don’t have to pay taxes. So If you just never add the top floor then you never have to pay taxes on the building as it is still under construction. For this reason, almost every building in the country has re-bar sticking out the top. The next interesting Architecture thing is that many buildings are started and then abandoned due to lack of money. Then a few years later someone comes along to the concrete shell and decides they want a penthouse so they finish the top floor and all the other floors below them are still empty. For this reason, the house kinda looks like it is on stilts. Lastly is the fact that Sarande is built on a very steep hill. For this reason, there is only one street that goes up and down the hill. all the other streets are across the hill one-way streets. So to get from one level to the next you must go to the end of town. there are staircases up and down the hill but obviously, you can’t drive up and down them.

Also with more modern development, the buildings are getting taller and taller. We are told that 40 years ago all houses had a sea view but then with more houses being needed, buildings were built up and now only the top floors have a sea view.

The architecture in Tirana is very different than that of Serande. The buildings are much more modern. Part of the reason for this is that communism only fell in the last 20 or so years so before then they did not have lots of technology. Now that communism has fallen they have built the whole city in the last 20 years so they have lots of modern tech. One example of this is the stoplights. They are poles and arches of glowing LED’s surronded by metel so they are very small and do not interrupt the everyday life and the amazing view’s in the city. The other advantage about them is that the underside of the arches have white LED’s so at night they can be used as bright streetlights You would never see anything like that at home as all the cities there have had their lights for a long time and replacing them would mean tearing the old clunky ones out which would be both expensive and time-consuming. These are some of the reasons that Tirana is one of the more modern cities out there. You will often times see old communist buildings next to super modern ones. Right now they are building a huge hotel and soccer stadium right next to each other so, from the top floors of the hotel, you will be able to watch the action in the games. I love Tirana as it reminds me of a lot of home. It is less crazy, dirty, and loud than a lot of the cities that we have been to on this trip. There is also a lot of international food like Sushi and even Mexican and Western American!

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