While I was visiting Tirana I managed to spend a few hours at the National Gallery of Art. I am a frequent art museum and gallery visitor and what I found at this particular museum landed it in my top favorite art museums of all time.
What was it about this particular museum that made it so special? Its female visibility. Living in New York I have noticed that one of the biggest issues with art museums is their lack of feminism. This issue is in both the percentage of female artist’s work they carry and in exhibiting art that displays women in a modern way. This is such an issue that there are separate art museums and galleries established in order to give woman the visibility that they deserve.
I was not faced with this particular problem when entering Albania’s National Gallery. Instead, I found examples of artwork that portrayed woman in non-traditional and strong roles. This is perhaps due to the isolated communism the country faced. One good thing about communism? It requires everyone to be equal – this includes the women.
There was also a traveling exhbit while I visted displaying the artwork of Sofia Papadhimitri: a woman who clearly knew how to capture the bodies of people.
This museum was quite the refreshing change from the usual artwork that I see. A change that has welcomed itself into my heart to stay for a long time to come.
I have been wanting to visit Tirana for a while now. My cousin currently lives there while she is attending the University of Arts of Albania. So when she invited me to stay with her for a while, I jumped at the opportunity to finally get the chance to explore Albania‘s capital. When first arriving, this is what my cousin had waiting for me back at her apartment:
Below are some of the many things we saw and visited while in Tirana. While we managed to do some of the bigger things, there is still so much more that the city has to offer that I have not seen or done yet!
National History Museum
Personally, I think this is a must when visiting Tirana. It will give you a well rounded understanding of Albanian history – a history that not many people of the world know much about. And I also happen to adore the mural on the exterior of the building.
National Gallery of Art
Another must do while in Tirana is go to the National Gallery of Art. To this day it is one of my favorite art museums I have ever visited. I particularly enjoyed all the female visibility – both depicted in the artwork in non-traditional roles and as the artist themselves.
While the majority of the Gallery consists of permanent installations, there was even a room for a temporary exhibit demonstrating the artwork of Sofia Papadhimitri.
When I visited Tirana, I visited dead smack in the middle of the summer. Which meant that it was hot outside. And after hours of walking around the city we decided to go up the mountains where it was cool. I personally did not find the trip up there scary, but if you are afraid of heights you might want to think about it. The restaurant at the top surrounded by the cooling mountain breeze was much needed.
I actually like this structure quite a lot even though the local politicians appear to hate it and are trying to do everything they can to get rid of it. It gave me a skate park vibe. Perhaps that’s what they should turn it into? I say UP the graffiti!
Stolling The Streets
Tirana is a city growing every single day. Around every corner there is something new and exciting to see. And I predict that it will be different every time. My favorite part of the city, however, is that every few steps you take you find yourself staring at books being sold on the streets. As a fellow book lover, Tirana captured my soul with it’s love of literature. Here are some of the pics I took.
There is SO much more to do in Tirana that I regret not having more time. Honestly, a lot of my time was spent in cafés and restaurants with my cousins just enjoying my time there. So perhaps not visiting enough sites in the city is my fault, because I enjoy to take things slow. But I truly believe that taking things slow is the best way to really experience a city. Besides, it is a good thing that there is so much still left for me to see. It gives me an excuse to go back. And I think I will be going back for many years to come.