Albania is a country in Southeast Europe that encompasses an area of 11,100 sq mi and has an estimated population of 2,876,591. The country is governed as a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, and the President of Albania serves as the head of state, commander-in-chief, and representative of the people of Albania. The president also sets the date of elections and grants both pardons and state awards. In cases of incapability, the Chairperson of the Parliament can serve as acting president until the president resumes office or a new election is held. Albania's president is elected by a majority or three-fifths of parliament members, for a five-year term, and can serve for a maximum of two terms. Once appointed, the president takes an oath of office before the Parliament of Albania and is expected to live in the Presidential Palace.
The Presidential Palace, popularly known as the Palace of Brigades, and formerly known as the Royal Palace, is the official residence of the President of Albania. The palace is located in Albania's capital, Tirana, and was commissioned and built as the official residence of King Zog I of Albania. Construction of the palace began in 1936 and was completed in 1941. In 1945, a communist government replaced Albania's monarchist regime, and the palace no longer served as the royal residence. In 1946, the government renovated the building and converted it into a government facility for state ceremonies and receptions. In 2013, it was declared the official residence of the president once again, and President Bujar Nishani moved into a villa within the palace grounds. The Presidential Palace was designed in a rationalism architecture style, which is associated with fascist architecture. At the present time, the building shows signs of age and wear, and requires significant restoration.
History of the Palace
King Zog I conceived the idea of constructing the palace in the 1930s, but required funding from Italian financiers, which included loans and the opening of a national bank in Albania. The Second World War began before construction of the palace was completed, and following the Italian invasion of Albania, King Zog I fled the country. Occupying forces completed the palace and used it as a military headquarters. In 1945, it was renamed as the Palace of Brigades, a name that was used throughout the communist regime. When the communist regime ended in 1992, the building was renamed as the Presidential Palace.
The Presidential Palace is located close to the Grand Park of Tirana, and therefore its gardens are extensive. The building is surrounded by trees for nearly 650 ft, and is decorated in various patterns and shapes. A tennis court was also constructed within the palace.
Ownership Legal Challenge
In 2013, Leka Zogu, the only son of King Zog I, claimed he was the rightful successor to the Albanian throne, and declared himself the Crown Prince of Albania. Leka Zogu also claimed ownership of the Presidential Palace, arguing ownership based on inheritance. However, as of 2019 the Albanian government still owns the palace, and it continues to serve as the President of Albania's official residence.