From 24-28 March 2011 I was with my wife Pauline in Tirana for a conference of the Hizmet movement also known as the Fethullah Gülen network for education, social emancipation and interreligious harmony. In various short stories I will record some impressions of this most interesting and revealing trip.
Tirana was the capital of the most severe communist country in the period 1950-1990. All churches, all mosque but one, various holy places of the Bektashi movement were destroyed. The centre of the town was reconstructed with broad, empty alleys, fit for the monstrous demonstrations that we known from North Korea. People of Tirana compare that Stalinist period under Enver Hoxha (died 1985). The most curious building along the broad central lane is the Pyramid, designed as the mausoleum for the Communist leader, who is now replaced to a private grave only known to his family. There are not yet final plans for the building under the new constitution since the collapse of Communism in 1991.