Tirana, Albania

Tirana, Albania

Trendy bars, art galleries, cultural centers. The Albanian city has changed its face. It wants to become a hub of the new Europe. Being led by entrepreneurs, many of them former boys of “boat generation”: those who fled to Italy with ships in 1991.

It was 1991 and the Albanians on the docks were screaming “Italy, Italian, you are the world.” It was the North Korea of ​​Europe, at that time, Albania: a paranoid and isolated country from which so many wanted to escape. Ships leaving in Puglia departed packed with women and men from Vlora, Durres, Saranda. In the port of Himara, in the crowd, there was also a little blond boy of 13 years. Agron was called, he was with his mom and dad, waiting to get on a tramp steamer.

Today Agron Shehaj 37, arrives breathless in suits, sitting at a bar in Tirana and begins to tell: “I lived in Bolzano, I graduated in economics in Florence, I did various odd jobs and lived in New York. But in 2006 I returned to Albania. ” Agron was a pioneer: he opened the first call center for the Italian market. Today is the head of a company with three thousand employees.

The full article was originally published in Italian here:
http://espresso.repubblica.it/archivio/appoggio/2015/02/24/news/com-e-cool-tirana-simbolo-della-nuova-albania-1.200889