Tirana Local Customs

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    by Askla
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    by Askla
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    by tim07

Most Recent Local Customs in Tirana

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    Do you need a car?

    by Askla Written Jun 25, 2014

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    I came across this old car when I was walking back to my hotel. An old Swedish Volvo Amason from -66 for sale in Tirana! These were very popular when I was young.The engines would last for ever, it's not at all unusual to hear about cars that have rolled 400.000 or 500.000 km or even more.

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    Some books, anyone?

    by Askla Updated Jun 25, 2014

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    I saw quite a few men selling second hand books along the strech of Parku Rinia. Unfortunately all the books were in Albanian so there were nothing I could use.

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    Locals at the mosque

    by Arkeolog Written Mar 22, 2009

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    A local reading Koran

    At any time at Et'hem Bey Mosque, one may find an Albanian reading the Koran, or Muslims praying in the mosque, or visitors immortalising their trip by taking photographs, or enthusiasts of art history wishing to satisfy their curiosity.

    Please have a close look at the decoration of Et'hem Bey Mosque.

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    Tirana, 1988 forbidden photos of women in uniform

    by JLBG Updated Aug 2, 2007

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    Tirana, 1988 forbidden photos of women in uniform
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    In front of Tirana hotel, one guy from our little group could not resist to go and ask to a group of three women in uniform some silly question, just to see how they reacted (first photo). I do not remember what was the question but I know that they did answer very kindly. Our Albanian guide had told us that we should photography neither military facilities nor militaries themselves. But I wanted to have a photo of militaries, so I shot them and did not get in trouble.

    Then I did it again from closer (second photo) and the girls did not care…

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    Tirana, pytë, byrëk

    by JLBG Updated Aug 2, 2007

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    Tirana, pyt��, byr��k

    As we had spent several nights in Tirana Hotel, I had spotted a bakery and went early morning to buy a pytë (a kind of turnover stuffed either with cheese or ground meat or spinach or any other filling). The shop was full of people queuing up for bread. As soon as I entered the shop, they all withdraw and made me understand that I should go first. That was quite embarrassing but I could not hide that I was a foreigner. I had a beard, which was forbidden only two years earlier, even for foreigners. Anyway, I would have been unable to say "no, no, after you"! Thus I went on and got my pytë, which was delicious.

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    Tirana, 1988 post office

    by JLBG Updated Aug 2, 2007

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    Tirana, 1988 post office

    This small post-office was just behind Hotel Tirana. I wanted to phone to my daughter and I was convinced that I would not get the call. The phone operator connected me first to a distant phone operator who asked me why I wanted to call my daughter, what I had to tell her, etc… And finally, I was tuned and could talk for a while with my daughter. That was really unexpected!

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    A nod's as good as a wink.

    by antistar Written May 26, 2007

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    I was taking pictures of a building, when a guard came over with a stern face and wagged his finger at me: a clear signal to me to stop. No problem, I thought, and instinctively nodded in acceptance. He got agitated, pulled an even sterner face, and wagged his finger at me even more furiously. Then as he saw me putting my camera away, a look of realisation crossed his face and he smiled.

    In Albania it is customary to nod your head to say no, and to shake your head to say yes, the complete opposite of what we are used to in the rest of the world. Apart from that one incident above, this didn't lead me into any trouble, although I'm guessing that's largely to do with their own understanding that foreigners behave differently.

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  • Hospitality

    by agmoose02 Written Sep 3, 2006

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    The Albanian people are very hospitable and seem willing to go far out of their way to meet the requests of visitors. I have never seen anything quite like it, though I have travelled in a number of places that pride themselves on hospitality. I suggest if you visit, that you not take advantage of this wonderful cultural trait, as it would be a great loss if it were to disappear.

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    mani raki

    by call_me_rhia Written Jul 23, 2006

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    mani raki

    The national drink of Albania is called raki, which is very closely related to arak in the middle east - in fact it was the Ottomans that introduced raki in this part of the world.

    It is normally made from fermented and distilled fruit, usually grapes but sometimes plums. A special one in Albania is of a very light green colour called mani raki (in the picture)... it's made from white mulberry and its taste andsmell are quite something.

    Raki is sipped in small amounts - often as an aperitif, sometimes with a bit of water.

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    Tirana, 1988, traditional clothing

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, 1988, traditional Gheg clothes
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    These photos were taken at the end of the 1988 May 1st parade.

    The first photo shows a couple traditional clothes from Northern Albania (Gheg dialect).

    The second photo shows male traditional clothes from Northern Albania (Gheg dialect).

    The third photo shows female traditional clothes from the south (Tosk dialect), but I cannot tell of which region.

    The fourth photo shows slightly different clothes, most probably from a neighbouring district to the previous.

    The fifth is not really a traditional clothing. Before 1991, Romas were strongly discriminated. Cleaning the streets was one of the few jobs they could pretend. This was the garment they had to wear when they swept the streets.

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    Tirana, popular dances 2

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, popular dances 2
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    We were lucky that our guide managed to organize for us in the Palace of Culture a show by the state troop of popular dances, the Folklore Ensemble "Tirana". That was not scheduled but several of us asked him and he organized it in a couple of hours.

    The troop wore the traditional clothing of the various regions of Albania. I am unable to name them.

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    Tirana, popular dances 1

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, popular dances 1
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    We were lucky that our guide managed to organize for us in the Palace of Culture a show by the state troop of popular dances, the Folklore Ensemble "Tirana". That was not scheduled but several of us asked him and he organized it in a couple of hours.

    I have borrowed to their website the following presentation:

    The Folklore Ensemble "Tirana", founded in Tirana, in 1978 is composed from the group of dance, orchestra and the group of singers.

    The ensemble performs folkloric dances, songs and instrumental melodies, mostly from ethnographic regions of Tirana, but have also pieces from the different ethnographic regions of Albania and Kosovo, always in live music. That makes its performances having a variety of folk costumes of various areas, as well as numerous characteristic musical instruments, which are realized by the famous masters of Albanian ethnography.

    On their website, you can listen to samples of traditional music.

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    Tirana, kinkaleri

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, kinkaleri
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    I feel that this photo was taken on Bulevardi Dëshmorët I Kombit and anyway not far from Skënderbeg Square. It shows a few shops and sows also how Albanian can borrow words from seom languages. The shop on the left, better seen on the enlergement of the second photo is called "kinkaleri". That will not tell much to English speaking visitors but French will immediately recognize a "quincaillerie" (ironmonger).
    However, as the right shop writes "frute perime", encouraged by this easy translation, the French should not understand that it means "fruits périmés" (outdated fruits) as it indeed means "fruits and vegetables" !

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    Tirana, state owned car, 1988

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, state owned car

    As I have written, in 1988, no private citizens could own a car. Thus motor vehicles were mainly busses and trucks. Cars were very few and I have read that in 1988, there were less than a thousand cars in the whole country. These cars were then state owned and were either for the rulers of the country or for state officers on duty, including the army. This one looks more like a military car.

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    Tirana, bus stop

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, bus stop

    In 1988, it was forbidden to private persons to own a car. Consequently, people walked a lot and public transportation was very developed. However, there were obviously not enough busses and each one was assaulted by dozens of citizens that queued along the street at every bus stop.

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Tirana Local Customs

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