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Tirana, Albania
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    (1614- )
    Capital and largest city of Albania
    Area: 41.8 km²
    Population: 763,634 (2011)
    Founded by Sulejman Bargjini, who built a bakery, mosque, and hammam on the site
    Proclaimed capital since February 8, 1920
    Urban development spiraled out of control for a decade after the demise of Communism.
    It witnessed a great deal of unrest as a result of post-communist domestic policies that sparked a coup attempt. (1997-1998)
    An anti-government demonstration in protest against alleged corruption and electoral fraud resulted in the Republican Guard killing four demonstrators and wounding at least 150 more. (January 21, 2011)
    There are four theories on how it got its name, with one of them saying that it is named after Tehran.
    Air and noise pollution are very high because the number of cars, particularly the old, diesel-fueled ones.
    Its drivers are highly reckless.
    A green light doesn’t guarantee immediate safety, and it’s advisable to cross the street with the locals.
    A sufi order called the Bektashis settled in the city when they were banned in Turkey. (1925)
    Hundreds of thousands of people chanted 'Freedom works!' in Skanderbeg Square when former US Secretary of State James Baker visited the city.
    Its main airport was used by NATO forces as a base during the Kosovo War.
    Its dull Communist-era apartments have been painted with bright colors to give the city a more vibrant look.
    Any traces of Enver Hoxha’s influence in the city is slowly disappearing.
    Even his former mausoleum has been repainted and converted into a cultural center.
    It has a hospital and public square named after Mother Theresa.

Credit: Big Lenny

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