Ambiguous Memorial Landscapes in Post-socialist Cities: The Case of Tirana’s Pyramid

Peter Nientied, Eranda Janku


This article is a descriptive study that narrates the history of the so-called “Pyramid” since 1991 and explores why it was never either restored or demolished. The Pyramid is a memorial landscape in Tirana, constructed to commemorate former socialist leader Enver Hoxha. The Pyramid became a landmark building in Tirana and has been recurrently discussed. The Pyramid has survived all discussions, decisions, and plans, but is now in decay. Generating clear answers regarding the continued existence of the Pyramid proved to be arduous, as the Pyramid has been subject to overlapping discourses around architecture and urban design, politics, history, memory, and identity. The first main conclusion of the study is that the Pyramid is hardly recognized as a memorial landscape. A second is that various governments have developed ideas, discussed, and quarrelled, but political parties could not reach an actionable conclusion – refunctioning of the Pyramid is apparently too complex. A survey was carried out to understand what the general population thinks about the Pyramid. Most respondents indicated that their attachment to the Pyramid is not very strong and they are in favour of redevelopment. The paper concludes with recommendations for adding elements of a memorial landscape to the planned redevelopment of the Pyramid. 


memorial landscape, memory, identity, post-socialist city, Tirana

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ISSN: 2239-267X

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