One of the oldest and most historical residential neighborhoods in the city of Tirana, Pazari i Ri (The New Bazaar) has been newly renovated and reinvigorated. Many of the traditional elements of the old town have been conserved while the square has been refreshed with a modern new look. The name is taken from the local farmer’s marketplace situated at the center, where more than 300 farmers of the surrounding areas come to sell their fresh fruits, vegetable, meats, seafood, spices and much more. The farmers are the best people to talk to. They will help you find the best products and even let you know about the history of the place. There is no language barrier here. Even those who don’t speak English will find a way to communicate with you!
This old town neighborhood is a hotspot for both locals and tourists. In fact, this is one of those rare places that truly reflects what happens in the city. With countless bars and restaurants serving freshly brewed beers and local cuisine ranging from fast food joints to fine dining, every evening feels like a weekend. You may choose to eat the traditional Albanian fast food special qofte zgare (grilled burger patties/meatballs shaped like hot dogs) or sit in the restaurant Merkata e peshkut (Fish market). The locals enjoy finishing their shopping during the day and gathering with friends in one of the many pubs in the area. Just imagine having Oktoberfest every day!
The entire atmosphere can be best defined as a pleasantly chaotic, a mix of old and new that stirs the spirit. Strolling around the area, browsing the many small artisanal and antique shops (favorites of collectors of historical objects or books), you will also find a gem of place: a small intimate boutique called Bar Biçikleta (Bicycle Bar). The name may reference the iconic farmers who brought their daily loads on their bicycles (as well as donkeys until the 1980s!) or the bicycle market with countless bicycle shops.
Around the corner as you exit the bazaar, there is a small restaurant called Oda, one of ten restaurants to try in Tirana according to Culture Trip. The name refers to the small rooms inside the traditional Ottoman homes in Tirana and the interior is decorated accordingly with low tables and traditional carpets adorning the floor. The food is as authentic as it gets, delicious and inexpensive, featuring roasted lamb, byrek, fërgesë, pllaqi, and more. If you would like to feel like part of a traditional Albanian family, you will not want to miss this place! Oh, and it has the best selection of homemade raki, that strong Albanian drink you most probably have heard about.
That is not all! Pazari i Ri is the oldest, new place to be in Tirana with so much more to discover. Once you visit, you may end up spending your entire day here!