Tirana

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Tirana ("te-RAH-nah", also spelt Tiranë) is the political capital and largest city (pop. 300,000) of Albania.

Located on the Ishm River, Tiranë is Albania's chief industrial and cultural centre. The principal ndustries include agricultural products and machinery, textiles, pharmaceuticals and metal products. Tiranë has experienced rapid growth and established many new industries since the 1920s. The population is predominately Muslim and the mosque of Sulejman Pasha is a significant landmark. Tiranë also features a university (founded 1957) and the Albanian Institute of Sciences. Tiranë is presently trying to develop a tourist industry, although this effort is hampered by the public perception of political instability in the region, due to the military conflicts in Albania and nearby Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia in the late 1990's.

History
Tiranë was founded in 1614 by the Ottoman general Sulejman Pasha, who originally named it "Tehran", as a tribute to his military victory at Tehran in Persia (now Iran). The small town was selected as the capital of Albania by the provisional government established at the Lushjë Congress (January 1920), and in November 1944 the communist government of Enver Hoxha was established there. The city's population, estimated at only 12,000 in 1910, rose to 30,000 at the 1930 census, and 60,000 in 1945 despite the intervening years of foreign occupation and war. During the 1950's Tiranë experienced a period of rapid industrial growth, raising the population to 137,000 in 1960. During the late 1980's and early 1990's Tiranë was the focal point of violent demonstrations which ultimately led to the collapse of the communist government.