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 (430 miles) north of Athens, 290 km (180 mi) west of Skopje, 250 km (160 mi) south-east of Pristina and 160 km (99 mi) south of Podgorica.
Tirana is a city with a rich history dating from the Paleolithic times back 10,000 to 30,000 years ago to the present day. The oldest settlement located in the area of the city was the Cave of Pellumbas, in today’s village of Pellumbas. As argued by various archaeologists, Tirana and its suburbs are filled with ancient Illyrian toponyms as its precincts are some of the earliest regions in Albania to be inhabited. One of the ancient monuments, the Tirana Mosaic is believed to have been part of a 3rd century ancient Roman house. Later, in the 5th and 6th centuries, a Paleo-Christian Basilica was built around this site. 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, the Congress of Lushnjë proclaimed Tirana as the capital of Albania, which had acquired Independence in 1912.
Tirana is one of largest cities in the Balkan Peninsula ranking 7th with a population of 800,000 and the largest Albanian-speaking city in the world. 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 the leading political, social and cultural center of Albania. Almost all of the largest companies, media and scientific institutions have their headquarters in the city. The city is ranked in the Top 10 of the sunniest cities in Europe with a total of 2,544 hours of sun.