The painted buildings of Tirana
As joyous as vast expanses of dismal Cold War concrete are it’s nice to make a change once in a while and Tirana, the capital of Albania has certainly put the past behind it with a great splash of colour.
Artistically minded mayor, Edi Rama, decided on his election in 2000 that the best way to declare an end to the grim years under dictator Enva Hoxha was to throw a coat of paint or two, or even seven, over the grey facades of the capital’s buildings. Randomly stroll through the city streets and you will regularly come across his glorious vision of buildings emblazoned with graphic art. At times, whole series of apartment blocks are decorated with variations of a theme. Often, if you find one display of colour you will find others close by, as if the virus of realisation has prompted others to join in.
At times the painters may have lacked the skill to achieve the level of perfection envisaged by the mayor but I am all for the triumph of enthusiasm over ability when it only adds to the charm.
Many hunks of communist concrete have been transformed by an imaginative paint scheme.
Not sure what colour to paint your building? Just look at your neighbour’s colour palette and make your choice.
As a consequence many more modern buildings are designed with the same spirit in mind and use graphic designs and colour.
What could easily have been left as a dull Balkan backwater, Tirana has been transformed by one man’s vision.
If only more mayors were so inspired.