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Photographer's Note

The Giro (pronounced [dziro]) means spin which is most definitely an Italian word. However in Albania more than anything else it means to walk up and down usually on the main boulevard.

Forget about Religion, Traditions, Festivals, Rituals etc. the Giro is by far the most important social institution in Albania. It is the social stage on which most of social discourse is played and constructed.

Like religion, fests and other rituals The Giro has its own dress code, acceptable and non acceptable language and non verbal behaviour and so on. People are defined socially by others and they define themselves on this popular stage.

Even though most Albanians take it for granted, going for a Giro requires rigorous preparations such as polishing your shoes, dressing appropriately, doing your hear, checking the time, anticipating your Giro friend and your audience etc.

Having sorted their presentation out, people walk down to the main boulevard and start “giroing” then friends join in, the rest is walk and talk and more walk talk. They walk and talk in groups of 2,3,4,5 and sometimes even more. Politics and sport are popular topics but everything is talked here. When they get tired then sit on a bench or a cafe or just go back home.

Everyone does the Giro, young and old, men and women but it is older men who usually spend more time on this popular stage. And the stage can get really busy sometimes so busy that you need to be ready to change course.

These men are in the town of Polican and this is a quick morning Giro, usually it gets a lot busier especially in warm summer evenings. I have posted two more photos from Berat Giro which is much bigger, renown and probably the best giro in the country.

tyro, Vasa, edcone, Kofman, holmertz has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Aleks Gjika (agjika) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 105 W: 39 N: 552] (3616)
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