Tirana is the capital and largest city of Albania and as well the heart of Albania's cultural, economic and governmental activity. It is located on the western center of the country surrounded by hills with the Dajti Mountain on the east and a slight valley opening on the north-west overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the distance. The city is located some 700 kilometres north of Athens, Greece, 290 km west of Skopje, Macedonia, 250 km south-east of Pristina, Kosovo and 160 km south of Podgorica, Montenegro.
Tirana is one of largest cities in the Balkan Peninsula and ranks 7th with a population of 800,000. The municipality, has a total population of 800,986. It is also the biggest Metropolitan area in Albania and the only one with a population of over 800.000. Being Albania's primate city, Tirana is a hometown of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. The city is ranked in the Top 10 of the sunniest cities in Europe with a total of 2544 hours of sun.
The area occupied by Tirana has been populated since Paleolithic times dating back 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. As argued by various archaeologists, Tirana and its suburbs are filled with Illyrian toponyms as its precincts are some of the earliest regions in Albania to be inhabited. Tirana was founded as a city in 1614 although the area has been continuously inhabited since antiquity. An almost unimportant centre until the beginning of the 20th century, Tirana was proclaimed as the capital of Albania in 1920.
Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other European metropolises has a never-ending movement and energy. With its clubs, pubs, cafes, and taverns, Tirana is worth discovering by both day and night. The value and hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country. There are different thoughts regarding the origin of the name of the city. Some think that it relates to Tyrrenia (a name of Etruscan origins), while other believe that it relates to the word Theranda (harvest), or to the Tirkan (a castle at the foot of Mount Dajti).