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  • Writer's pictureErin

Discover The Cultural And Historical Heart Of Tirana

Updated: Apr 17

This week we are traveling to the unique county of Albania. This is an incredible destination because when many people think of traveling to the Mediterranean, Greece is the first place to pops into their heads, but this tiny country just to the north offers a lot. With the geography ranging from mountains to the beach, there is something to do for everyone in Albania. The heart of the country is located in Tirana. As the largest city and the capital of Albania, Tirana is a bright and colorful city. Dating back to 1614, this ancient city has seen many different styles, challenges, and religions. A great door into the past is the Et'hem Bey Mosque.

Ethem Bey Mosque Tirana, Albania
Ethem Bey Mosque


The Et'hem Bey Mosque started construction between 1791 and 1794. The religious leader that began construction was Molla Mehmet Bey. He was a descendent of one of the founders of Tirana, Sulejman Pasha Bargjini. He intended this Mosque not only to be a place of worship but as a cultural hub of Tirana as it was located near the main square, Scanderbeg Square. Molla Bey passed away before the completion of the Mosque, but his son Haxhi Et'hem Bey Mollaj was able to see it finished between 1819 and 1821.

Entryway to Ethem Bey Mosque, Tirana, Albania
Entryway to Ethem Bey Mosque

Heart Of The City

When the Mosque was first constructed, it was one portion of the complex that made up the historical and cultural heart of the city. There was a bazaar with shops, and to the east was the Sulejman Pasha Mosque. Unfortunately, the Et'hem Bey Mosque is the only portion of this complex still standing, as the Sulejman Mosque was destroyed during World War II. After World War II and the start of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, the Et'hem Bey Mosque was closed down, and Atheism took over.

Ethem Bay Mosque, Tirana, Albania
Ethem Bay Mosque At Night

From The People

In January 1991, an incredible movement happened. Over ten thousand people marched into the Mosque and worshiped without permission from the government. The police did not intervene, and this event was a turning point in religious freedom and the fall of the socialist republic. After that demonstration, the Mosque reopened and has remained open ever since.

Clock Tower, Tirana, Albania
Clock Tower


Today you can visit and tour the Mosque daily. The area has grown to include a clock tower and, within the Mosque itself, a prayer hall, an entrance that surrounds the northern portion, and the minaret. One feature that makes this Mosque so unique is the paintings and depictions on the wall. These images and stories on the wall are rare in Islam but are a treasured addition to this Mosque.

This Mosque is one of the last remaining buildings of ancient Tirana and cannot be missed. Schedule your consultation to plan a visit today.

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