Tirana is the capital and largest city of Republic of Albania. It is the administrative, cultural, economic, and industrial center of Albania.
The population of the city proper at the 2015 census was 610,070 and the municipality of Tirana, created in 2015, has a total population of 800,986. It is the biggest metropolitan area in Albania, and the only one with a population of over 500.000. The city is host to many public institutions and public and private universities, and is the centre of the political, economic, and cultural life of the country.
The Municipality of Tirana is located at (41.33°N, 19.82°E) in Tirana County, about 32 kilometers (20 mi) inland. Tirana’s average altitude is 110 meters (360 ft) above sea level and its highest point measures 1,828 m (5,997.38 ft) at Mali me Gropa. The city is mostly surrounded by hills, with Dajti Mountain on the east and a slight valley opening on the north-west overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the distance. The Tiranëriver runs through the city, as does the Lanë stream.
The city has four artificial lakes: the Tirana Artificial Lake around which was built the Big Park, Paskuqani Lake, Farka Lake, Tufina Lake, and other smaller lakes or reservoirs.
The present Tirana municipality was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Baldushk, Bërzhitë, Dajt, Farkë, Kashar, Krrabë, Ndroq, Petrelë, Pezë, Shëngjergj, Tirana,Vaqarr, Zall-Bastar and Zall-Herr, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the city Tirana. The total population is 557,422 (2011 census), in a total area of 1110.03 km2. The population of the former municipality at the 2011 census was 418,495.
The area occupied by Tirana has been populated since the Paleolithic era, dating back 10,000 to 30,000 years ago, as suggested by evidence from tools excavated near Mount Dajt’s quarry and in Pellumba Cave. As argued by various archaeologists, Tirana and its suburbs are filled with Illyrian toponyms, as its precincts are some of the earliest inhabited regions in Albania. The Illyrians called the settlement Tërana.
The oldest discovery in downtown Tirana was a Roman house, later transformed into an aisleless church with a mosaic-floor, dating to the 3rd century A.D., with other remains found near a medieval temple at Shengjin Fountain in the eastern suburbs. A castle possibly called Tirkan or Theranda, whose remnants are found along Murat Toptani Street, was built by Emperor Justinian in 520 A.D. and restored by Ahmed Pasha Toptani in the 18th century. The area had no special importance in Illyrian and classical times. In 1510, Marin Barleti, an Albanian Catholic priest and scholar, in the biography of the Albanian national heroSkanderbeg, Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis (The story of life and deeds of Skanderbeg, the prince of Epirotes), referred to this area as a small village.