Tirana Local Customs

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Best Rated Local Customs in Tirana

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    kissing 4 times

    by skinz Updated Apr 4, 2005

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    In Abania, not only among women, but men as well kiss each other four times on the cheek when greeting.
    Recently, due to influences from abroad people may kiss twice as well and between men, just a firm hand shake. This is more spread in Tirana, as for other cities, the local custom is stricktely preserved.

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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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    Yes, or No?

    by skinz Written Feb 5, 2005

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    This is a custom not only in Tirana but all over Albania. Foreign travelers might be a bit confused when a local will say YES, but will move his head horizontaly - like saying NO. Vice versa, the locals say NO, by gesturing it as YES (the head moves vertically).

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    Coffee culture

    by skinz Updated Feb 15, 2005

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    There are many cafes all around Tirana, full in every hour of the day - and rather empty during the night.
    One of the reasons behind this is that some of the very best working meetings take place in the cafes. It is important to have a good social relation in order to build a good working relation afterwards.

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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, weighting booth, 1988

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, weighting booth
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    The booth on the first photo did not sell ice creams and at first sight, it was not easy to guess what they were selling.

    The second photo shows that it is a weighting station! On top is written " Sport kalitje shendet" and "Peshorë ekzakt", which means "Sport enhances joy" and "exact scale".

    I have made a close-up on the third photo to show that this is not only a scale to weight people but that you can also bring anything to weight on a smaller scale.

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    Tirana, ice-cream booth

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, ice-cream booth
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    Though we were at the beginning of May, I noticed that there were everywhere small booth or small carriages that sold ice creams. One must remember that in former Yugoslavia, Montenegrin were well known for their ice creams, all over the country. Montenegro is the first neighbor, north to Albania and it seems that Albanians have the same skill. As ice creams are not my cup of tea, I cannot tell how they taste.

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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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    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, death announcements

    by JLBG Written Feb 20, 2006

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    Tirana, death announcements
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    This kind of death announcements posted at every street corner is not seen only in Albania but in the whole Balkanic area. Nevertheless, this is a practice that always surprises visitors from Western Europe and the Americas where this is not done.

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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, 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, 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, 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 Local Customs

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