5. TIRANA’S CHANGING APPEARANCE

Each year Tirana changes. There were high hopes a couple of years ago when Edi Rama the socialist prime minister was elected, but cynicism and accusations of corruption still abound. Mr Rama, an artist and moderniser has literally painted the city with hopefulness, and this year the frenetic Skanderbeg Square with its crazy traffic roaring round, has been transformed into a sea of marble in the new plaza. A scheme to pedestrianize and green the city. But the people continue struggle for employment and even simple services.

The iconic bunkers have gone, and the buildings are brighter. The secrecy of the Sigurimi police is being revealed through underground bunkers and rooms being opened to the public – something which many have qualms about – Albania’s emergence from communist tyranny is not a generation away.

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