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Tirana: a capital city transformed by the Italians

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The city of Tirana was transformed into a capital city between 1923 and 1943. This transformation took place during a period when there was close collaboration between Italy and Albania and can be divided both by political history and architectural styles into two stages: first, under the monarchy of the Albanian King Zog and then the actual annexation of Albania by Italy at the time of the Second World War. The first stage, from 1920 to 1939, began with the proclamation of Tirana as the capital of Albania. It was marked by Zogu's presence on the political scene and his close ties with Italy. In 1939, with the fall of the Albanian monarchy, the country was put under Italian Fascist rule from 1939 to 1943. The paper is divided into two parts, corresponding to the two historical periods. Each one examines plans and projects for the city's transformation and the strategies put into effect to represent political power, as well as ties and legacies inherited from the past. Town planning actions are, therefore, described from three points of view: the organization of urban structures and housing policies; the relationship with the pre-existing situation; modes of urban growth and the underlying social vision. The analysis is based on a study of the urban fabric before and after the various changes, divided into the principal time frames of 1916, 1937, 1943 and 1953. The study is based mainly on original documents from the Technical Archives for Construction of Tirana.1

Keywords: Italian Fascist urban planning; Tirana; capital city project; colonial planners

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Osservatorio sul Moderno a Roma, Dipartimento di Architettura,Sapienza Università di Roma, via Pienza 22600139Roma, Italy

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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