Sheshi Skënderbej

( Skanderbeg Square )

The Skanderbeg Square (Albanian: Sheshi Skënderbej) is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana, Albania. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The total area is about 40,000 square metres. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square.

The city plan for Tirana was initially designed by Armando Brasini in 1925 and continued by Florestano Di Fausto in a Neo-Renaissance style with articulate angular solutions and giant order fascias. Following the Italian invasion of Albania the master plan was updated in 1939 by Gherardo Bosio.

Many buildings including the Tirana International Hotel, the Palace of Culture, the National Opera, the National Library, the National Bank, the Ethem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, the City Hall, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Historical Museum are situated at the square.

In 1917, the Austrians built a public square, where the Skanderbeg Square is located nowadays. After Tirana became the capital in 1920, and the population increased, several city plans were planned. During the time of the Albanian monarchy from 1928 to 1939, the square was composed of a roundabout with a fountain in the center. The Old Bazaar used to be established on the grounds of modern-day Palace of Culture, the Orthodox Cathedral (present-day Tirana International Hotel), while the former City Hall building, on the grounds of where the National Historical Museum is located nowadays. A statue of Joseph Stalin was erected, where today the Skanderbeg Monument is located. Besides the construction of the above new elements during communism, the statue of Albania's leader Enver Hoxha was erected at the space between the National Historical Museum and the National Bank. Following the fall of communism in 1991, the statue would be removed amid student-led demonstrations. Since June 2017, the square has been renovated and is now part of the biggest pedestrian zone in the Balkans. The renovation has been distinguished with the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2018.[1] The project has also been praised at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and has received second prize for Contemporary Architecture 2019 by the European Union.[2]

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^ Renovation of Skanderbeg Square, retrieved 6 July 2018 ^ "Albanian Daily News".
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