Tiranë (tēräˈnə) [key] or Tirana tēräˈnä, city (1989 pop. 238,057), capital of Albania and of Tiranë dist., central Albania, on the Ishm River. It is the largest city and the chief industrial and cultural center of the country. Tiranë is located on a fertile plain that yields a variety of agricultural products. Its manufactures include metal products, agricultural machinery, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and foodstuffs. After 1990 (the end of Communist rule), new industries sprang up in scattered locations around the city. Lignite is mined nearby. A railroad and highway link Tiranë with the port city of Durrës, its chief outlet. The center of the city is Scanderbeg Square, with the government buildings and the 18th-century mosque of Etchem Bey. The bazaar and the mosque of Sulayman Pasha are nearby. The city has a university (founded 1957) and the institute of sciences of Albania. The population of Tiranë is mostly Muslim.
Tiranë was founded in the early 17th cent. by the Turkish general Sulayman Pasha, who is buried there. It was originally named Tehran, for a Turkish victory in Persia. The larger part of Tiranë was built after 1920, when it was selected as the capital of Albania. A new residential quarter was built under Italian rule (1939–43), and an industrial sector was developed after World War II. On Jan. 11, 1946, the Communist government of Enver Hoxha was proclaimed there. In the early 1990s, Tiranë was rocked by massive and often violent demonstrations that forced the Communist government to institute substantial political and economic reforms. Since the end of the Communist dictatorship the city has experienced enormous population growth.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.