Story of The Best Mayor of Tirana who turned his City Colorfully

Edi Rama won the award for The Best Mayor In The World in 2004 for his astonishing success in restoring the Albanian capital just 4 years after he was elected. Edi Rama, the current Prime Minister of Albania and the former mayor of Tirana, an artist, and a painter, decided to revive the city by splashing it with colors. He wanted to enliven the grey, depressing, concrete communist monsters.

Let’s explore the story of a Mayor who brought his city back to life with colors.

Photo by Valter Zhara

When he splashed a radiant orange on the somber gray of a facade, something unimaginable happened

There was a traffic jam, and a crowd of people gathered as if it were the location of some spectacular accident or the sudden sighting of a visiting pop star. They laughed and were surprised to see the bright color in the middle of the gray. 

What were the consequences of this Colorful Revolution?

On the whole history, Albania seems to have had more downs than ups with being occupied first by Fascist, next by corrupted by a communist dictatorship, and many cases of organized crime. But what did this city look like when the colorful revolution came? 

Edi Rama let his imagination run wild and created the most astonishing arrangements of colors and shapes. Then, despite the EU’s opposition to his outrageous plan, he insisted on painting Tirana and transforming it into a wholly original location in Europe. He removed the concrete from the city, threw trash into the Lana River, and restored Tirana’s green spaces.

The inhabitants of Tirana are more confident. They started going out and spending more time outdoors because they feel safe on the streets. Their hopes for a better future were also revived. This gives them power over their own lives. 

The City of Tirana today

Photo by David Dufrense

Tirana is still incredibly colorful, even though some hues have already faded. In unexpected locations, colorful homes, apartment complexes, office buildings, and institutional structures appear. Circles coexist with stripes, triangles, and dots, and the combinations of colors are never obvious. It’s not possible to ignore how Tirana is expressing its message through colors – it’s a city in transition.

It’s not possible to ignore how Tirana is expressing its message through color – it’s a city in transition. With this movement, Albanians’ approach to life is also changing. They are discovering how to appreciate and accept it. They start to trust that they have the power to shape their realities. Additionally, they become more conscious of aesthetics and design.

We hope this short story brings you inspiration to add more colors to your life.

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