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Bleron Nelaj

Welcome to Tirana, the colorful capital of Albania!

Just like Maastricht, my city has it’s own share of urban problems and is looking for solutions on a daily basis. I always wanted to help in finding solutions to traffic congestion, air pollution and the lack of green spaces there, but never really knew how to tackle these issues. That is why when I was offered to become part of the ‘Global Youth Mayors’ I immediately accepted, knowing that I would be able to solve urban issues with a team of diverse and talented teenagers, with whom I work to acquire the necessary tools for improving Maastricht and Tirana. I have always taken an interest in urban development, which in combination with economics and politics, are the areas I am most interested in for future growth.

My City

Tirana is the capital city of Albania, situated at the heart of the country, where North, South, East and West Albania all coalesce. A diverse mixture of cultures have converged in Tirana over the centuries; including Illyrian, Roman, Ottoman and Italian-style buildings, ranging from the Byzantine castle walls near the Parliament to the Fascist architecture of the Ministries. Apart from this, the city pushes you to relax and enjoy your days, be it in a cafe, a bar or maybe having delicious food in one of the city’s thousands of restaurants. Since the fall of communism, Tirana has grown exponentially over the years, replacing old communist attitudes with youthful excitement, such as the transformation of the ‘Block’ area, where communist officials once resided, into the most stylish neighborhood in Albania, full of clubs, expensive shops and luxury cars filling the streets. Of course, this rapid development has taken a toll on the city’s infrastructure, with traffic congestion polluting the air and waste polluting the city’s waterways, such as the two rivers which pass through it. In addition, traffic congestion creates a range of other problems such as time theft, respiratory problems and inefficient transport of goods from one part of the city to another. Though the present local government has done a lot to combat these problems, Tirana is in need of massive investment and technological innovation to keep up with the economic growth of the city and it’s rising population.

  • Population: 557,422 

  • Mayor: Erjon Veliaj

  • It has been inhabited since the ‘Paleolithic’ era

  • The city has many lakes that are walking distance from the center, ‘Dajti’ mountain is 10 min by cable car, sea is 30 min by car

  • Oldest structure is a Roman mosaic dating back to circa 300 AD. 

  • Home to more than sixteen castles from different periods, though only a few are still intact

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