Tirana is the capital and largest city of Albania as well as heart of Albania's cultural, economic and governmental activity. It is located on the western center of the country surrounded by hills with the Dajti Mountain on the east and a slight valley opening on the north-west overlooking the Adriatic Sea in the distance. The city is located some 700 kilometres (430 miles) north of Athens, 290 km (180 mi) west of Skopje, 250 km (160 mi) south-east of Pristina and 160 km (99 mi) south of Podgorica.
Tirana was founded as a city in 1614, although the area has been continuously inhabited since antiquity. One of the ancient monuments, the Tirana Mosaic is believed to have been part of a 3rd-century Ancient Roman house. Later, in the 5th and 6th centuries, a Paleo-Christian Basilica was built around this site. Tirana did not attain much significance until the early 20th century, when the Congress of Lushnjë proclaimed it Albania's capital following the country's declaration of independence in 1912.
Tirana is the largest city in Albania and one of largest cities in the Balkans, ranking 7th, with a population of 800,000. The city is ranked among the ten sunniest cities in Europe, with 2,544 hours of sun per year.
Being Albania's primate city, Tirana is considered the heart of Albania because of its central location and its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education, service, research and healthcare. Almost all of the country's largest companies, media and scientific institutions have their headquarters in the city. Tirana is also the seat of power of the Government of Albania, the residences for work of the President and the Prime Minister of Albania. Tirana retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a number of Ottoman monuments.