When we bought this apartment (in April 2017) it was really falling apart. It had been abandoned, rented out and then left to crumble. This is a historical building and as you know, we do love everything related to history so we decided to bring it back to life!
A Fun Little History:
The Shallvare is the name that locals gave the building at the time of the construction. These are a form of traditional large pants (MC Hammer-style, if you get the reference) which were very fashionable among Ottoman and Albanian men about 100 years ago. Ottoman soldiers used to come to the area to enjoy horse races and an Ottoman garrison was nearby.
The Communists were still good friends with the USSR in 1951 when the construction started. It ended in 1953. The apartment itself used to belong to the Koleka family and the grandfather was Spiro Koleka (highly ranked among Nomenclatura of the Communist Party of Albania) and one of the rare leaders to have managed to survive Enver Hoxha’s paranoia and fear of best friends and supporters. We know Comrade Spiro enjoyed quality time with his daughter and grandsons in here and his own house was just a few meters on the other side of the Lana river (in the very private and mysterious area that is still called the Block.)
It can’t be any better! It’s in the heart of all the action. Within 200 meters we have counted about 15 restaurants (hard to count the number of bars!) There’s a small selection of products in the shop at the entrance of the building – it’s definitely worth checking out what Bardhi (the owner) brought for customers from the “Magic Mountain” of Tomorri (products like dried fruit, cheese, meat and all sorts of teas.) There’s a supermarket from which to buy all groceries you might need for a short or long stay in Tirana!
The rest of the services are all within sight: pharmacies, taxi stations, shopping areas, clubs, a post office, exchange offices, etc. All you need to do is check the Shallvare on the map and you will see and understand. It’s only a 5 minute walk to get to Skanderbeg Square, the History Museum, the National Gallery of Arts, Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard, the Pyramid, the Block and all connections to bus stations and the airport shuttle.
The Apartment Itself: