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Tanners’ Bridge,an 18th-century Ottoman period cobblestone footbridgein Tirana

The Tanners’ Bridge is an 18th-century Ottoman period stone footbridge located in Tirana, Albania. The bridge has a height of about 7 meters and a half. Tabak’s Bridge has a stone structure, formed with two arches and paved with cobblestone. It stands out for its harmonious architecture, as well as for the proportional distribution of its elements. The bridge consists of a main arch on which a bridge is raised. This arch has an 8m space and is constructed with 2 rows of sideways 1 meter thick. The height from the water level was 3.5 meters. This is a  2,5 m long cobblestone bridge, with asymmetric river stones.

The bridge, built near the Tanners’ Mosque, was once part of the Saint George Road that linked Tirana with the eastern highlands. The road was the rout by which livestock and produce entered the city. The bridge crossed the Lana stream near the area where butcher shops and leather workers were located. The bridge fell into disrepair when the Lanë was diverted in the 1930s. In the 1990s the bridge was restored for use by pedestrians.

The Tanners’ Bridge was part of the road that connected Tirana with Debar through Shëngjergj.The road to Debar passed through Priskë e Madhe, Qafe Priskë, Domje, Shëngjergj, and further it continued through Bizë, Martanesh, Zerqan and finally Debar. The road connected Tirana with the eastern highlands, and was mainly used by farmers bringing livestock products to the city.

Different people settled in the suburbs of Tirana at that time waiting for the highland cattle caravans. They became “specialists” mainly in the slaughter of livestock and the processing of skins.Some old Tirana families are still engaged in this activity, such as Xheleti, Kuka, families etc. It was precisely from this butchering and tanning activity that the neighborhood was called “Tabakaan” and the street was called “Tabakë Street”, meaning leather processing.

With this name was also baptized the bridge of the eighteenth century that connected the two banks of the River Lana, so called the Bridge of Tabak. It is a proof of the city’s development and the increase of communication with the inner areas.People passed over Tabak’s Bridge to cross Lana River until the 1930s. The old stone bridge bears witness to the ancient traditions of our country in the field of construction. They prove the great work of Tirana master builders.

/Klara Ruci/