ALBANIA (/ælˈbeɪniə, ɔːl-/ (_ listen ), a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə_ ;
Albanian : _Shqipëri/Shqipëria_;
Gheg Albanian : _Shqipni/Shqipnia
or Shqypni/Shqypnia _), officially the REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA (Albanian :
_Republika e Shqipërisë_, pronounced ), is a country in
Albania spans 28,748 square kilometres (11,100
square miles) and had a total population of almost 3 million people as
of 2016 .
Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic with the
Tirana , the country's largest city and main economic and
commercial centre, followed by
Vlorë . It is located in
the south-western part of the
Balkan peninsula , bordered by
Montenegro to the northwest,
Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic
of Macedonia to the east, and
Greece to the south and southeast. The
country has a coastline on the northern shore of the
Adriatic Sea to the west and the
Ionian Sea to the southwest
Albanian Riviera begins.
Albania is less than 72 km (45 mi)
Italy , across the
Strait of Otranto which connects the Adriatic
Sea to the
Ionian Sea .
In classical times , the area which now forms
Albania was home to
several Illyrian , Thracian and Greek tribes, as well as several Greek
colonies established on the Illyrian coast. In the 3rd century BC, the
area was annexed by Rome and became part of the Roman provinces of
Dalmatia , Macedonia and
Moesia Superior . In 1190, the first Albanian
Principality of Arbanon was established by archon Progon
in the region of
Krujë , within the
Byzantine Empire . The territory
Albania was conquered by the
Ottoman Empire in the 15th century, of
which it remained part of for the next five centuries. After the
collapse of the
Ottoman Empire in Europe, following the
Balkan Wars ,
Albania declared its independence in 1912 and was recognized the
following year. The Kingdom of
Albania was invaded by
Italy in 1939,
which formed Greater
Albania , before becoming a Nazi German
protectorate in 1943. The following year, a socialist People\'s
Republic was established under the leadership of
Enver Hoxha and the
Party of Labour .
Albania experienced widespread social and political
transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much
of the international community. In 1991, the Socialist
dissolved and the
Albania was established.
Albania is a democratic and developing country with an upper-middle
income economy. The service sector dominates the country's economy,
followed by the industrial and agriculture sector. Following the
collapse of communism in 1990,
Albania went through a process of
transition from a centralized economy to a market-based economy.
Albania has a high
Human Development Index
Human Development Index and is ranked
thirty-seventh in the world for life expectancy . It provides
universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its
Albania is a member of the
United Nations ,
NATO , the WTO , the
World Bank , the Council of
Europe , the OSCE , and the Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation . It is also an official candidate for
membership in the
European Union .
Albania is one of the founding
members of the
Energy Community , the Organization of the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation , and the
Union for the Mediterranean
Union for the Mediterranean . It is
home to the largest lake in Southern
Europe and one of the oldest
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Antiquity
* 2.4 Ottoman Period
* 2.5 National Awakening
* 2.6 Independence
* 2.7 First
World War II
World War II
* 2.9 Communism
* 2.10 Fourth
* 2.11 Present-day
* 3 Environment
* 3.1 Geography
* 3.2 Climate
* 3.3 Biodiversity
* 4 Demographics
* 4.1 Population
* 4.2 Urbanization
* 4.3 Language
* 4.4 Religion
* 4.5 Education
* 4.6 Health
* 5 Politics
* 5.1 Government
* 5.2 Foreign relations
* 5.3 Law
* 5.4 Military
* 5.5 Administrative divisions
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Primary sector
* 6.2 Secondary sector
* 6.3 Tertiary sector
* 6.4 Science and technology
* 6.5 Energy
* 6.6 Infrastructure
* 6.7 Media
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Architecture
* 7.2 Music
* 7.3 Arts
* 7.4 Literature
* 7.5 Mythology
* 7.6 Clothing
* 7.7 Cuisine
* 7.8 Cinema
* 7.9 Sports
* 8 International rankings
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
The name "Albania" is the
Medieval Latin name of the nation. It may
be derived from the
Illyrian tribe of the Albani _(Albanët)_ recorded
Ptolemy , the geographer and astronomer from
Alexandria , who
drafted a map in 150 AD, that shows the city of
northeast of the city of
Durrës . The name may have a continuation
in the name of a medieval settlement called Albanon or Arbanon,
although it is not certain that this was the same place. In his
History written in 1079 to 1080, the
Byzantine historian Michael
Attaliates was the first to refer to
Albanoi as having taken part in a
Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects
of the Duke of
Dyrrachium . During the
Middle Ages , the Albanians
called their country "Arbëri" or "Arbëni" and referred to themselves
as "Arbëreshë " or "Arbëneshë".
Albanians today call their country "Shqipëri" or "Shqipëria". As
early as the 17th century the placename _Shqipëria_ and the ethnic
demonym _Shqiptarë_ gradually replaced _Arbëria_ and _Arbëresh_.
The two terms are popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" and
"Children of the Eagles".
History of Albania and
Timeline of Albanian history
See also: Prehistory of
Albania _ The Cave of Pëllumbas_ near
Tirana , was inhabited during the
Paleolithic period .
The first traces of human presence in Albania, dating to the Middle
Paleolithic and Upper
Paleolithic eras, were found in the village of
Mount Dajt near
Tiranë . The objects found
in a cave near Xarrë include flint and jasper objects and fossilized
animal bones, while those found at
Mount Dajt comprise bone and stone
tools similar to those of the
Aurignacian culture . The Paleolithic
Albania show great similarities with objects of the same era
found at Crvena Stijena in
Montenegro and north-western Greece.
Bronze Age artefacts from tumulus burials have been unearthed
in central and southern
Albania that show close connection with sites
in south-western Macedonia and
Lefkada , Greece. Archaeologists have
come to the conclusion that these regions were inhabited from the
middle of the third millennium BC by Indo-European people who spoke a
Proto-Greek language . A part of this population later moved to
Mycenae around 1600 BC and founded the Mycenaean civilisation there.
Another population group, the Illirii, probably the southernmost
Illyrian tribe of that time that lived on the border of
Montenegro , possibly neighbored the Greek tribes.
See also: Origin of the
Ardiaei , and
Taulantii The Monument of Agonothetes in Apollonia . (6th
In ancient times, the territory of modern
Albania was mainly
inhabited by a number of Illyrian tribes. This territory was known as
Illyria , corresponding roughly to the area east of the
to the mouth of the
Vjosë river in the south. The first account of
the Illyrian groups comes from _
Periplus of the Euxine Sea _, an
ancient Greek text written in the middle of the 4th century BC. The
south was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the
Chaonians , whose
capital was at
Phoenice , while numerous colonies, such as Apollonia ,
Amantia , were established by Greek city-states on the
coast by the 7th century BC.
One of the most powerful tribes that ruled over modern
Ardiaei . The
Ardiaean Kingdom reached its greatest extent under
Agron , son of
Pleuratus II . Agron extended his rule over other
neighboring tribes as well. After Agron's death in 230 BC, his wife
Teuta inherited the Ardiaean kingdom. Teuta's forces extended their
operations further southward into the
Ionian Sea . In 229 BC, Rome
declared war on
Illyria for extensively plundering Roman ships. The
war ended in Illyrian defeat in 227 BC.
Teuta was eventually succeeded
Gentius in 181 BC.
Gentius clashed with the Romans in 168 BC,
Third Illyrian War . The conflict resulted in Roman
victory and the end of Illyrian independence by 167 BC. After his
defeat, the Roman split the region into three administrative
Albania in the
Middle Ages The city of
the capital of the Albanian State in the Middle Ages.
During the medieval period, the area what is now known as Albania,
Byzantine control until the Slavs began to overrun the
country from the 7th century. Later it was captured by the Bulgarian
Empire in the 9th century. After the weakening of the
Bulgarian Empire in the 13th century, some of the territory of
Albania was captured by the Serbian Principality . In general,
the invaders destroyed or weakened Roman and
centers in the lands, that would become Albania.
The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in the Middle
Ages, as the
Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of
Albania . The
Principality of Arbër or Albanon _(Arbër or Arbëria)_, was the
first Albanian entiy during the Middle Ages, it was established by
archon Progon _(Progoni i Krujës)_ in the region of
Krujë , in 1190.
Progon, was succeeded by his sons Gjin and Dhimitri, the latter which
attained the height of the realm. After the death of Dhimiter, the
last of the
Progon family , the principality came under the Greek
Gregory Kamonas Lord of
Krujë , and later Golem . The
Principality was dissolved in 1255. Pipa and Repishti conclude that
Arbanon was the first sketch of an "Albanian state", and that it
retained semi-autonomous status as the western extremity of an empire
(under the Doukai of Epirus or the Laskarids of Nicaea ).
The Kingdom of
Albania _(Mbretëria e Arbërisë)_ was established by
Charles of Anjou _(Karli Anzhu)_ in the Albanian territory. In 1271,
he conquered from the
Despotate of Epirus . One year later in February
1272, he took the title of King of
Albania . The kingdom extended from
the region of
Durrës ), south along the coast to
Butrint . After the creation of the kingdom, a catholic political
structure was a basis for the papal plans of spreading Catholicism in
the Balkans. This plan found also the support of
Helen of Anjou , a
cousin of Charles of Anjou , who was at that time ruling territories
in North Albania. Around 30 catholic churches and monasteries were
built during her rule in North
Albania and also in Serbia. From 1331
to 1355, the
Serbian Empire wrestled control over Albania. After the
dissolution of the Serbian Empire, several Albanian principalities
were created, and among the most powerful were the
Balsha , Thopia ,
Kastrioti , Muzaka and Arianiti . In the first half of the 14th
Ottoman Empire invaded most of Albania. In 1444, the
Albanian principalities were united under George Castrioti Skanderbeg
_(Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu)_, who became the national hero of the
Albanian medieval history.
Ottoman Albania and
Islamization of Albania
After serving the
Ottoman Empire for 20 years
Skanderbeg deserted and
began a rebellion that halted Ottoman advance into
Europe for 25
Ali Pasha of Tepelena was notably one of the most
powerful autonomous Muslim Albanian rulers, he ruled over the Pashalik
of Yanina , and even attempted to rival the
Dey of Algiers in the
At the dawn of the establishment of the
Ottoman Empire in
Europe , the geopolitical landscape was marked by
scattered kingdoms of small principalities. The
Ottomans erected their
garrisons throughout southern
Albania in 1415 and occupied most of the
country in 1431. However, in 1443 a great and longstanding revolt
broke out under the lead of the Albanian national hero George
Skanderbeg _(Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu)_, which lasted
until 1479, many times defeating major Ottoman armies led by the
Murad II and
Mehmed II .
Skanderbeg united initially the
Albanian princes, and later on established a centralized authority
over most of the non-conquered territories, becoming the ruling _Lord
of Albania_. He also tried relentlessly but rather unsuccessfully to
create a European coalition against the
Ottomans . He thwarted every
attempt by the Turks to regain Albania, which they envisioned as a
springboard for the invasion of
Italy and western
Europe . His unequal
fight against the mightiest power of the time, won the esteem of
Europe as well as some support in the form of money and military aid
Venice , Ragusa and the
Papacy . With the arrival of
Islam was introduced in the country as a third
religion. This conversion caused a massive emigration of
other Christian European countries, especially the Arbëreshë of
Italy. Along with the
Bosniaks , Muslim
Albanians occupied an
outstanding position in the Ottoman Empire, and were the main pillars
of Ottoman Porte's policy in the Balkans.
Enjoying this privileged position in the empire, Muslim Albanians
held various high administrative positions, with over two dozen Grand
Viziers of Albanian origin, such as Gen.
Köprülü Mehmed Pasha , who
commanded the Ottoman forces during the
Ottoman-Persian Wars ; Gen.
Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed , who led the Ottoman armies during the
Austro-Turkish War ; and later
Muhammad Ali Pasha
Muhammad Ali Pasha of
Egypt . The
Historic Centres of
Berat (LEFT) and
Gjirokastër (RIGHT) are an
UNESCO World Heritage Site . Both cities have been inhabited
continuously since antiquity.
During the 15th century, when the
Ottomans were gaining a firm
foothold in the region, Albanian towns were organised into four
principal sanjaks . The government fostered trade by settling a
Jewish colony of refugees fleeing persecution in
the end of the 15th century). The city of
Vlorë saw passing through
its ports imported merchandise from
Europe such as velvets, cotton
goods, mohairs, carpets, spices, and leather from
Constantinople . Some citizens of
Vlorë even had business associates
Albanians could also be found throughout the empire in
Algeria and across the
Maghreb , as vital military and administrative
retainers. This was partly due to the
Devşirme system. The process
of Islamization was an incremental one, commencing from the arrival of
Ottomans in the 14th century (to this day, a minority of Albanians
are Catholic or Orthodox Christians, though the vast majority became
Timar holders, the bedrock of early Ottoman control in
southeast Europe, were not necessarily converts to Islam, and
occasionally rebelled; the most famous of these rebels is Skanderbeg
(his figure would rise up later on, in the 19th century, as a central
component of the Albanian national identity). The most significant
impact on the
Albanians was the gradual Islamisation process of a
large majority of the population, although it became widespread only
in the 17th century.
Mainly Catholics converted in the 17th century, while the Orthodox
Albanians followed suit mainly in the following century. Initially
confined to the main city centres of
Shkodër , by this
period the countryside was also embracing the new religion. The
motives for conversion according to some scholars were diverse,
depending on the context. The lack of source material does not help
when investigating such issues.
Albania remained under Ottoman
control as part of the
Rumelia province until 1912, when independent
Albania was declared .
Main articles: National Awakening and
League of Prizren Further
information: Activists of the National Awakening The League of
Prizren building in
Prizren from inside the courtyard.
The National Renaissance _(Rilindja Kombëtare)_ began in the 1870s
and lasted until 1912, when the
Albanians declared their independence
League of Prizren (League for the Defense of the Rights of the
Albanian Nation) _(Lidhja e Prizrenit)_ was formed on June 1878, in
the old town of
Vilayet . At first the Ottoman
authorities supported the League, whose initial position was based on
the religious solidarity of Muslim landlords and people connected with
the Ottoman administration . The
Ottomans favoured and protected the
Muslim solidarity, and called for defense of Muslim lands, including
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina . This was the reason for naming
the league 'The Committee of the Real Muslims' _(Komiteti i
Myslimanëve të Vërtetë)_. The League issued a decree known as
Kararname . Its text contained a proclamation that the people from
northern Albania, Epirus and Bosnia" are willing to defend the
'territorial integrity' of the
Ottoman Empire by all possible means
against the troops of the Bulgarian , Serbian and Montenegrin
Kingdoms. However, it was signed by 47 Muslim deputies of the League
on June 18, 1878. Around 300 Muslims participated in the assembly,
including delegates from Bosnia and mutasarrif (sanjakbey ) of the
Prizren as representatives of the central authorities, and
no delegates from
Scutari Vilayet . _ The letters of Naum
Veqilharxhi 's alphabet (Alfabeti i Vithkuqit)_ published in 1845.
Ottomans cancelled their support when the League, under the
influence of Abdyl Bey Frashëri , became focused on working toward
the Albanian autonomy and requested merging of four Ottoman vilayets ,
Kosovo , Scutari , Monastir and Ioannina into a new
vilayet of the
Ottoman Empire , the Albanian
Vilayet . The League used
military force to prevent the annexing areas of Plav and Gusinje
Montenegro by the
Congress of Berlin . After several
successful battles with Montenegrin troops such as in Novsice , under
the pressure of the great powers , the
League of Prizren was forced to
retreat from their contested regions of Plav and
Gusinje and later on,
the league was defeated by the Ottoman army sent by the Sultan. The
Albanian uprising of 1912, the Ottoman defeat in the
Balkan Wars and
the advance of Montenegrin, Serbian and Greek forces into territories
claimed as Albanian, led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail
Qemali in southern
Vlorë , on November 28, 1912.
Albanian Revolt of 1912 ,
Independent Albania ,
Treaty of London (1913) ,
Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania , Peasant Revolt in
Albania during the
Balkan Wars ,
Albania during World War I
Albanian Declaration of Independence The proposed
boundaries of the newly established Albanian state in 1913 to 1914.
All-Albanian Congress in southern
Vlorë on 28 November 1912,
the participants constituted the Assembly of
Vlorë . The assembly
of eighty-three leaders, declared the nation as an independent country
and set up a provisional government. The Provisional Government was
established on the second session of the assembly on 4 December 1912.
Furthermore, it was a government of ten members led by
Ismail Qemali ,
until his resignation on 22 January 1914. However the Assembly also
established the Senate _(Pleqësi)_, with an advisory role to the
government, consisting of 18 members of the Assembly.
The independence of
Albania was recognized by the Conference of
London on 29 July 1913. The drawing of the borders of the newly
Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania ignored the demographic realities
of the time. The
International Commission of Control was established
on 15 October 1913 to take care of the administration of newly
established Albania, until its own political institutions were in
order. Its headquarters were in
Vlorë . The International
Gendarmerie was established as the first law enforcement agency of the
Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania . In November, the first gendarmerie members
arrived in the country. Prince of
Wilhelm of Wied _(Princ
Vilhelm Vidi)_ was selected as the first prince of the principality.
On 7 March, he arrived in the provisional capital of
started to organise his government, appointing Turhan Pasha Përmeti
to form the first Albanian cabinet. The city of
being captured by Albanian revolutionaries in August 1912 after
defeating the Ottoman forces holding the city.
In November 1913, the Albanian pro-Ottoman forces had offered the
Albania to the Ottoman war Minister of Albanian origin,
Ahmed Izzet Pasha . The pro-Ottoman peasants believed that, the new
regime of the
Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania was a tool of the six Christian
Great Powers and local landowners, that owned half of the arable land.
In February 1914, the
Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was
Gjirokastër by the local Greek population against
incorporation to Albania. This initiative was short lived and in 1921,
the southern provinces were finally incorporated to the Albanian
Principality . Meanwhile, the revolt of Albanian peasants against
the new Albanian regime erupted under the leadership of the group of
Muslim clerics gathered around
Essad Pasha Toptani
Essad Pasha Toptani , who proclaimed
himself the savior of
Albania and Islam. In order to gain support of
Mirdita Catholic volunteers from the northern part of Albania,
Prince Wied appointed their leader,
Prênk Bibë Doda , to be the
foreign minister of the
Principality of Albania
Principality of Albania . In May and June
International Gendarmerie was joined by
Isa Boletini and his
men, mostly from
Kosovo , and northern
Mirdita Catholics, were
defeated by the rebels who captured most of Central
Albania by the end
of August 1914. The regime of Prince Wied collapsed and later he left
the country on 3 September 1914.
FIRST REPUBLIC AND MONARCHY
Albanian Republic and Kingdom of
of Zog I with
Geraldine of Albania in 1938.
The short-lived principality (1914–1925) was succeeded by the first
Albanian Republic (1925–1928). In 1925 the four-member Regency was
abolished and Ahmed Zogu was elected president of the newly declared
Tirana was endorsed officially as the country's permanent
capital. Zogu led an authoritarian and conservative regime, the
primary aim of which was the maintenance of stability and order. Zogu
was forced to adopt a policy of cooperation with Italy. A pact had
been signed between
Albania on 20 January 1925 whereby Italy
gained a monopoly on shipping and trade concessions.
The Albanian republic was eventually replaced by another monarchy in
1928. In order to extend his direct control throughout the entire
country, Zogu placed great emphasis on the construction of roads.
Every male Albanian over the age of 16 years was legally bound to give
ten days of free labor each year to the state. King Zogu remained a
conservative, but initiated reforms. For example, in an attempt at
social modernization, the custom of adding one's region to one's name
was dropped. Zogu also made donations of land to international
organisations for the building of schools and hospitals. The armed
forces were trained and supervised by Italian instructors. As a
counterweight, Zogu kept British officers in the
strong Italian pressure to remove them. The kingdom was supported by
the fascist regime in
Italy and the two countries maintained close
relations until Italy's sudden invasion of the country in 1939.
Albania was occupied by Fascist
Italy and then by
Nazi Germany during
World War II.
WORLD WAR II
Albanian Kingdom (1939–43) and Albanian resistance
World War II
World War II Albanian partisans march in
After being militarily occupied by
Italy , from 1939 until 1943 the
Albanian Kingdom was a protectorate and a dependency of
by the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III and his government. After the
Axis' invasion of
Yugoslavia in April 1941, territories of Yugoslavia
with substantial Albanian population were annexed to Albania: most of
Kosovo, as well as Western Macedonia, the town of Tutin in Central
Serbia and a strip of Eastern Montenegro. In November 1941, the small
Albanian Communist groups established an Albanian Communist Party in
Tirana of 130 members under the leadership of
Enver Hoxha and an
eleven-man Central Committee. The party at first had little mass
appeal, and even its youth organization netted few recruits.
After the capitulation of
Italy in 1943,
Nazi Germany occupied
Albania too. The nationalist Balli Kombetar , which had fought against
Italy, formed a "neutral" government in Tirana, and side by side with
the Germans fought against the communist-led National Liberation
Albania . The Center for Relief to Civilian Populations
(Geneva) reported that
Albania was one of the most devastated
countries in Europe. 60,000 houses were destroyed and about 10% of the
population was left homeless. The communist partisans had regrouped
and gained control of much of southern
Albania in January 1944.
However, they were subject to German attacks driving them out of
certain areas. In the Congress of Përmet, the NLF formed an
Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation to act as Albania's
administration and legislature. By the last year in World War II
Albania fell into a civil war-like state between the communists and
nationalists. The communist partisans however defeated the last Balli
Kombëtar forces in southern
Albania by mid-summer 1944. Before the
end of November, the main German troops had withdrawn from
and the communists took control by attacking it. The partisans
Albania from German occupation on 29 November 1944.
A provisional government, which the communists had formed at
Enver Hoxha as prime minister.
Communism in Albania A
Cultural Revolution poster
depicting the Albanian-Chinese cooperation featuring
Enver Hoxha and
Mao Zedong .
The two leaders met only twice: in 1956 during Hoxha's visit to China
, and in 1957 at the Moscow meeting of communist and workers parties.
By the end of the second World War , the main military and political
force of the nation, the Communist party sent forces to northern
Albania against the nationalists to eliminate its rivals. They faced
open resistance in
Nikaj-Mërtur , Dukagjin and
Kelmend led by Prek
Cali . On 15 January 1945, a clash took place between partisans of
the first Brigade and nationalist forces at the Tamara Bridge,
resulting in the defeat of the nationalist forces. About 150 Kelmendi
people were killed or tortured. This event was the starting point of
many other issues which took place during
Enver Hoxha 's dictatorship.
Class struggle was strictly applied, human freedom and human rights
were denied. The
Kelmend region was almost isolated by both the
border and by a lack of roads for another 20 years, the institution of
agricultural cooperatives brought about economic decline. Many
Kelmendi people fled, some were executed trying to cross the border.
After the liberation of
Albania from the Nazi occupation , the
country became a
Communist state . Afterwards, the People\'s Republic
Albania _(renamed "People's Socialist
Republic of Albania" in
1976)_ was founded, which was led by
Enver Hoxha and the Labour Party
Albania . The socialist reconstruction of
Albania was launched
immediately after the annulling of the monarchy and the establishment
of a People\'s
Republic . In 1947, Albania's first railway line was
completed, with the second one being completed eight months later. New
land reform laws were passed granting ownership of the land to the
workers and peasants who tilled it. Agriculture became cooperative ,
and production increased significantly, leading to Albania's becoming
agriculturally self-sufficient. By 1955, illiteracy was eliminated
among Albania's adult population. An old communist bunker
overlooking the peaks of Valbona Valley . By 1983 approximately
173,371 concrete bunkers were scattered throughout the country .
During this period,
Albania became industrialized and saw rapid
economic growth, as well as unprecedented progress in the areas of
education and health care. The average annual increase in Albania's
national income was 29% higher than the world average and 56% higher
than the European average. . The nation incurred large debts, first
Yugoslavia until 1948, then the
Soviet Union until 1961, and
China from the middle of the 1950s. The communist constitution did
not allow taxes on individuals; instead, taxes were imposed on
cooperatives and other organizations, with much the same effect.
Religious freedoms were severely curtailed during the communist
regime, with all forms of worship being outlawed. In August 1945, the
_Agrarian Reform Law_ meant that large swaths of property owned by
religious groups (mostly Islamic waqfs ) were nationalized, along with
the estates of monasteries and dioceses. Many believers, along with
the ulema and many priests , were arrested and executed. In 1949, a
new Decree on Religious Communities required that all their activities
be sanctioned by the state alone.
After hundreds of mosques and dozens of Islamic libraries, containing
priceless manuscripts, were destroyed,
Enver Hoxha proclaimed Albania
the "World's first atheist state " in 1967. The churches had not
been spared either, and many were converted into cultural centers for
young people. A 1967 law banned all "fascist, religious, warmongerish,
antisocialist activity and propaganda". Preaching religion carried a
three to ten-year prison sentence. Nonetheless, many Albanians
continued to practice their beliefs secretly. The Hoxha dictatorship's
anti-religious policy attained its most fundamental legal and
political expression a decade later: "The state recognizes no
religion," states Albania's 1976 constitution, "and supports and
carries out atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific
materialistic world outlook in people."
Enver Hoxha 's political
Ramiz Alia oversaw the dismemberment of the "
state during the collapse of the
Eastern Bloc in the late 1980s.
Fall of communism in Albania , Pyramid schemes , and
Civil War of 1997 In 1988, the first outsiders were allowed to
walk into the
Skanderbeg Square , the main plaza in
After the revolution of 1989 , reforms were made by the communist
government in 1990. Subsequently, the People\'s
Republic was dissolved
and the 4th
Albanian Republic was founded on 29 April 1991. The
communists retained a stronghold in the Parliament , after popular
support in the first multi-party elections in 1991. In March 1992,
amid liberalization policies resulting in economic collapse and social
unrest, a new coalition led by the new Democratic Party took power
after victory in the parliamentary elections of 1992.
In the following years, much of the accumulated wealth of the country
was invested in Ponzi pyramid banking schemes, which were widely
supported by the government . The schemes swept up somewhere between
one sixth and one third of the Albanian population . Despite the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) warnings in late 1996, President
Sali Berisha defended the schemes as large investment firms, leading
more people to redirect their remittances and sell their homes and
cattle for cash to deposit in the schemes. The schemes began to
collapse in late 1996, leading many of the investors to join initially
peaceful protests against the government, requesting their money back.
The protests turned violent in February 1997 as government forces
responded with fire. In March, the Police and Republican Guard
deserted, leaving their armories open. These were promptly emptied by
militias and criminal gangs. The resulting crisis caused a wave of
evacuations of foreign nationals and of refugees.
The crisis led Prime Minister
Aleksandër Meksi to resign on 11 March
1997, followed by President
Sali Berisha in July in the wake of the
June General Election. In April 1997,
Operation Alba , a UN
peacekeeping force led by
Italy , entered the country with two goals:
to assist with the evacuation of expatriates and to secure the ground
for international organizations. The main international organization
involved was the Western
European Union 's Multinational Albanian
Police element (MAPE) , which worked with the government to
restructure the judicial system and the
Albanian Police . The
Socialist Party had won the previously mentioned parliamentary
elections in June 1997 , and a degree of political stabilization
followed. In 1999, the country was affected by the
Kosovo War , which
caused a great number of ethnic
Kosovo to seek refuge
Further information: Albania–
NATO relations and Accession of
Albania to the
Albania joined the 2010 NATO
Headquarters summit in
On 23 June 2013, the eighth parliamentary elections took place, won
Edi Rama of the Socialist Party . During his tenure as 33rd Prime
Albania has implemented numerous reforms focused on the
modernizing the economy and democratizing of state institutions like
the judiciary and law enforcement . Additionally, unemployment has
been steadily reduced to the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the
After the collapse of the
Eastern Bloc ,
Albania started to develop
closer ties with Western Europe. At the
2008 Bucharest summit , the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) invited
Albania to join the
alliance. In April 2014
Albania became a full member of
NATO . Albania
was among the first southeastern European countries to join the
Partnership for peace programme.
Albania applied to join the European
Union , becoming an official candidate for accession to the European
Union in June 2014.
Albania received candidate status for the European Union
membership in 2014 (based on its 2009 application), the European Union
has twice rejected full membership. The
European Parliament warned
the Government leaders in early 2017 that the 2017 parliamentary
elections in June must be free and fair before negotiations could
begin to admit the country into the union.
Environment of Albania
Geography of Albania See also: Atlas of
Albania seen from the space taken by NASA
Terra satellite. The Gjipe Canyon in southern Albania, where
the Adriatics meets the Ionian sea .
Albania is located in Southeastern and Southern
Europe , with
Montenegro bordering to the northwest,
Kosovo to the northeast,
Macedonia to the east and
Greece to the south. The
Adriatic and Ionian
seas makes up its entire west border of Albania. It lies mostly
between latitudes latitudes 42° and 39° N , and longitudes 21° and
19° E . The territory covers 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square
miles), making it the 145th largest country in the world. It's
coastline length is 476 km (296 mi) :240 and extends along the
Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the
Mediterranean Sea .
70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often
inaccessible from the outside. The three longest mountain ranges
includes the southernmost
Dinaric Alps ; the
Albanian Alps in the
Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest along the Albanian
Riviera and the
Korab Mountains in the east, around the border
triangle of Albania,
Kosovo and the
Republic of Macedonia. The highest
mountain is probably the Mount
Korab , reaching up to 2,764 metres
(9,068 ft), being the 4th highest mountain in the
Balkan Peninsula .
Albania is home to one of the three largest and deepest lakes in
Europe ; Lake
Shkodër in the northwest, with a surface which
can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one
third belongs to
Albania and the rest to Montenegro. However, Lake
Ohrid is considered to be one of the most ancient lakes in the world
and the oldest one in the European continent. It is situated in the
country's southeast and is shared between
Albania and Macedonia. It
has a maximal depth of 289 metres (948 feet) and a variety of unique
flora and fauna can be found there, including living fossils and many
endemic species. Due to its natural and historical value, Lake Ohrid
is under the protection of
UNESCO . There is also Lake
southern Albania, which is part of the
Butrint National Park . It is
renowned by its high vegetation and biodiversity.
The climate on the coast is typically
Mediterranean with mild, wet
winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers. Inland conditions
vary depending on elevation , but the higher areas above 1,524 metres
(5,000 feet) in the north, such as the
Albanian Alps , the
southernmost part of the
Dinaric Alps forming part of the Alpide belt
, are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions
with snow may linger into spring.
Climate of Albania
Albania map of Köppen climate
classification . Hot
Mediterranean climate Warm Mediterranean
climate Subtropical climate
Oceanic climate Continental
climate Subartic climate
Mediterranean climate in
With its coastline facing the
Ionian Sea in the west,
Albania's highlands backed upon the elevated
Balkan landmass, and the
entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather
patterns during the winter and summer seasons. Although
Albania has a
high number of climatic regions relative to its landmass. The coastal
lowlands have typically mediterranean climate ; the highlands have a
mediterranean continental climate . In both the lowlands and the
interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south. The
lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer
temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern lowlands,
temperatures average about 5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year.
The difference is greater than 5 °C (9 °F) during the summer and
somewhat less during the winter.
Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation
than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the
mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the
weather in Southeastern
Europe . Northerly and northeasterly winds
blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in
the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily
fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior
basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost
always cool. Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the
convergence of the prevailing airflow from the
Mediterranean Sea and
the continental air mass.
Subarctic climate on
Albanian Alps .
Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the
heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents
initiated when the
Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent
thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local
winds and torrential downpours. When the continental air mass is weak,
Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is
a dominant continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland
areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the
season's lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits,
groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern
and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter
temperatures. Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4
in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher
levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.
Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records
are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual averages are
probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550
millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas such as in the Albanian
Alps . However, the western
Albanian Alps are among the wettest areas
Europe , receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain annually. The
seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area. The
higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the
intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local variations,
but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area. In
2009, an expedition from the
University of Colorado discovered four
small glaciers in the Albanian Alps. The glaciers are at the
relatively low level of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), almost unique for
such a southerly latitude.
See also: Biodiversity and
Protected areas of Albania The
Albanian Alps are home to many endemic plants, including the Albanian
Although a small country,
Albania is distinguished for its rich
biological diversity . Due to its climatic, hydrological, geological
and topographical conditions,
Albania is host to 30% of the entire
flora and 42% of fauna of
Europe . Phytogeographically , Albania
straddles the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal region and
Mediterranean region within the Boreal kingdom . It falls within four
terrestrial ecoregions of the
Palearctic ecozone ; Illyrian deciduous
Balkan mixed forests ,
Pindus Mountains mixed forests , and
Dinaric Alpine mixed forests . The
Golden eagle is the national
symbol. The lynx still survives in Albania.
About 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles) of
forested and very rich in flora. About 3,000 different species of
plants can be found in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal
purposes. The coastal regions and lowlands have typical Mediterranean
macchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found on
higher elevations. Vast forests of black pine , beech and fir are
found on higher mountains and alpine grasslands grow at elevations
above 1,800 metres (5,900 feet). The forests are home to a wide range
of mammals , including wolves , bears , wild boars and chamois . Lynx
, wildcats , pine martens and polecats are rare, but survive in some
parts of Albania. There are around 760 vertebrate species found so
far in Albania. Among these there are over 350 bird species, 330
freshwater and marine fish and 80 mammal species. There are some 91
globally threatened species found within the country, among which the
Dalmatian pelican , pygmy cormorant , and the
European sea sturgeon .
Rocky coastal regions in the south provide good habitats for the
Mediterranean monk seal . Some of the most significant bird
species found in the country include the golden eagle , which is known
as the national symbol of Albania, vulture species, capercaillie and
numerous waterfowl .
Demographics of Albania See also:
Regions with a traditional presence of ethnic groups other than
Albanian. Representation of the distribution of ethnic groups
within the nation, as of to the 2011 census. Districts colored gray
are those where a majority of people did not declare an ethnicity (the
question was optional). The census was criticized and boycotted by
minorities in Albania.
According to the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) Census of 2011, the
total population of
Albania was approximately 2,821,977 with a low
Fertility rate of 1.49 children born per woman. The last census, was
conducted in 1989.
The fall of the Communist regime in 1990,
Albania was accompanied
with massive migration. External migration was prohibited outright in
Albania while internal migration was quite limited, hence
this was a new phenomenon. Between 1991 and 2004, roughly 900,000
people have migrated out of Albania, about 600,000 of them settling in
Greece . Migration greatly affected Albania's internal population
distribution. Population decreased mainly in the North and South of
the country while it increased in
Durrës center districts.
According to the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) as of 1 January
2015, the population of
Albania is 2,893,005.
Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate.
Although official statistics have suggested that
Albania is one of the
most homogeneous countries in the region (with an over 97 per cent
Albanian majority) minority groups (such as
Greeks , Macedonians ,
Montenegrins , Roma and
Aromanians ) have often questioned the
official data, claiming a larger share in the country's population.
According to the 2011 census, ethnic affiliation was as follows:
Albanians 2,312,356 (82.6% of the total),
Greeks 24,243 (0.9%),
Macedonians 5,512 (0.2%), Montenegrins 366 (0.01%),
(0.30%), Romani 8,301 (0.3%),
Balkan Egyptians 3,368 (0.1%), other
ethnicities 2,644 (0.1%), no declared ethnicity 390,938 (14.0%), and
not relevant 44,144 (1.6%). On the quality of the specific data the
Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities stated that "the results of the census should be
viewed with the utmost caution and calls on the authorities not to
rely exclusively on the data on nationality collected during the
census in determining its policy on the protection of national
Albania recognizes almost three national minorities,
Macedonians and Montenegrins , and two cultural minorities: Aromanians
Romani people . Other Albanian minorities are
Bulgarians , Gorani
Balkan Egyptians ,
Bosniaks and Jews . Regarding the Greeks,
"it is difficult to know how many
Greeks there are in Albania. The
Greek government, it is typically claimed, says that there are around
Greeks in Albania, but most western estimates are
around 200,000 mark (although _EEN_ puts the number at a probable
100,000)." The Albanian government puts the number at only
CIA World Factbook estimates the Greek minority at 0.9%
of the total population and the US State Department uses 1.17% for
Greeks and 0.23% for other minorities. However, the latter questions
the validity of the data about the Greek minority, due to the fact
that measurements have been affected by boycott.
Macedonian and some Greek minority groups have sharply criticized
Article 20 of the Census law, according to which a $1,000 fine will be
imposed on anyone who will declare an ethnicity other than what is
stated on his or her birth certificate. This is claimed to be an
attempt to intimidate minorities into declaring Albanian ethnicity,
according to them the Albanian government has stated that it will jail
anyone who does not participate in the census or refuse to declare his
or her ethnicity. Genc Pollo, the minister in charge has declared
that: "Albanian citizens will be able to freely express their ethnic
and religious affiliation and mother tongue. However, they are not
forced to answer these sensitive questions". The amendments
criticized do not include jailing or forced declaration of ethnicity
or religion; only a fine is envisioned which can be overthrown by
Greek representatives form part of the Albanian parliament and the
government has invited Albanian
Greeks to register, as the only way to
improve their status. On the other hand, nationalists, various
intellectuals organizations and political parties in
expressed their concern that the census might artificially increase
the number of Greek minority, which might be then exploited by Greece
to threaten Albania's territorial integrity.
About 53.4% of Albania\'s population living in cities. According the
Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) , the three largest counties account
for half of the population. Over 1 million people lives in the Tirana
Durrës , making it the largest urban area in Albania. The
Tirana , is one of largest cities in the
Balkan Peninsula and
ranks 7th with a population about 800,000. The second largest is the
port city of
Durrës , with a population of 201.110, followed by
Vlorë , the largest city in southern Albania, with 141.513
LARGEST URBAN AREAS OF ALBANIA
(INSTAT Population and Housing Census 2011 )
Albanian language and
Languages of Albania Map
showing the various dialects of Albanian in
Albania and all
Albanian is the official language of the
Republic of Albania. Its
standard spoken and written form is revised and merged from the two
Gheg and Tosk , though it is notably based more on the
Tosk dialect. The
Shkumbin river is the rough dividing line between
the two dialects. Also a dialect of Greek that preserves features now
lost in standard modern Greek is spoken in areas inhabited by the
Greek minority . Other languages spoken by ethnic minorities in
Albania include Aromanian , Serbian , Macedonian , Bosnian , Bulgarian
, Gorani , and Roma . Macedonian is official in the Pustec
Municipality in East Albania. One road sign in Albanian and
a minority language (Macedonian) and one in Albanian and a foreign
language for tourists (English) in Pustec (LEFT) Road sign in Albanian
and a minority language (Greek) in Goranxi (RIGHT)
Greek is the second most-spoken language in the country, with two
thirds of families having at least one member that speaks Greek. La
Francophonie states 320,000 French speakers can be found in Albania.
Other spoken languages include Italian, English, French, German, and
According to the 2011 population census, 2,765,610 or 98.767% of the
population declared Albanian as their mother tongue (_mother tongue is
defined as the first or main language spoken at home during
Religion in Albania The leaders of Albania's four
main denominations in
Paris , France, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks
from 2015 . From left to right: Sunni, Orthodox, Bektashi, and
According to the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) Census of 2011,
Albanians adhere to
Islam , making it the largest religion
in the country; Christianity is practiced by 17.06% of the population,
and 24.29% of the total population is either non-religious, belongs to
other religious groups, or are 'undeclared'. Both the Albanian
Orthodox church and the
Bektashi Sufi order refused to recognize the
2011 census results regarding faith, with the Orthodox claiming that
24% of the total population are Albanian Orthodox Christians rather
than just 6.75%. Before World War II, 70% of the population were
Muslims, 20% Eastern Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholics. According to
a 2010 survey, religion today plays an important role in the lives of
only 39% of Albanians, and
Albania is ranked among the least religious
countries in the world. A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that
65% of Albanian Muslims are non-denominational Muslims . According to
2008 statistics from the religious communities in Albania, there are
1119 churches and 638 mosques in the country. The Catholics declared
694 churches, the Orthodox 425 churches, the Muslim community 568
mosques and the
Bektashi 70 tekkes.
Albania is one of the most ancient countries of Christianity . There
are thought to have been about seventy Christian families in the port
Durrës as early as the time of the Apostles. The
Durrës was purportedly founded by the apostle Paul
while preaching in
Illyria and Epirus. The
Albanians first appeared
in the historical record in
Byzantine sources of the late 11th
century. At this point, they were already fully Christianized. Islam
came for the first time in the 9th century to the region which is
Albania today. It later emerged as the majority religion
during the centuries of Ottoman rule, though a significant Christian
minority remained. After independence (1912) from the Ottoman Empire,
the Albanian republican, monarchic and later Communist regimes
followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official
functions and cultural life.
Albania never had an official state
religion either as a republic or as a kingdom. In the 20th century,
the clergy of all faiths was weakened under the monarchy, and
ultimately eradicated during the 1950s and 1960s, under the state
policy of obliterating all organized religion from Albanian
territories. _ Fan Noli was the founder of the Albanian
Orthodox Church . (left_)
Pope Clement XI was the Pope from 1700 to
1721. He was born to an Albanian father descended from the noble
Albani family from the region of
Malësi e Madhe in Albania. (_right_)
The Communist regime that took control of
Albania after World War II
persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions and
entirely banned religion to the point where
Albania was officially
declared to be the world's first atheist state . Religious freedom has
Albania since the regime's change in 1992.
Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 1992, following the fall
of the communist government, but did not attend the 2014 conference
due a dispute regarding the fact that its parliament never ratified
the country's membership. Albanian Muslim populations (mainly secular
and of the
Sunni branch) are found throughout the country whereas
Albanian Orthodox Christians as well as Bektashis are concentrated in
the south and Roman Catholics are found in the north of the country.
The first recorded Albanian Protestant was Said Toptani, who traveled
around Europe, and in 1853 returned to
Tirana and preached
Protestantism. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman
authorities in 1864. Mainline evangelical Protestants date back to the
work of Congregational and later Methodist missionaries and the work
British and Foreign Bible Society in the 19th century. The
Evangelical Alliance, which is known as VUSh, was founded in 1892.
Today VUSh has about 160 member congregations from different
Protestant denominations. VUSh organizes marches in
one against blood feuds in 2010. Bibles are provided by the
Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania. The first full Albanian
Bible to be printed was the Filipaj translation printed in 1990.
Seventh-day Adventist Church , The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints , and Jehovah\'s Witnesses also have a number of
adherents in Albania.
Albania was the only country in
experienced growth during the Holocaust . After the mass emigration
Israel since the fall of Communist regime, only 200 Albanian Jews
are left in the country today.
Education in Albania The University of
the largest and highest ranking university in the country.
Following the fall of communism in
Albania in 1991, a reorganization
plan was announced that would extend the compulsory education program
from eight to ten years. The following year, major economic and
political crisis in Albania, and the ensuing breakdown of public
order, plunged the school system into chaos. Widespread vandalism and
extreme shortages of textbooks and supplies had a devastating effect
on school operations, prompting
Italy and other countries to provide
material assistance. In the late 1990, many schools were rebuilt or
reconstructed, to improve learning conditions. Most of the
improvements have happened in the larger cities of the country
Nowadays, education is mostly supported by the state and is composed
of three stages, primary education (arsimi fillorë), secondary
education (arsimi i mesëm), and tertiary education (arsimi
universitarë). The academic year is very similar to the one in the
United States , with classes starting in September or October and
ending in June or July. Albanian is the primary language of
instruction in all public schools . The primary education is
obligatory from grade one to nine. Students must pass the graduation
exams at the end of the 9th grade in order to continue their
education. After the primary school, the general education is provided
at the secondary schools. Students get prepared for the Matura
examination, allowing them to obtain their matura diploma, which
grants admission to higher education . Although,
Albania follows the
Bologna model in accordance with the 2007 Law on Higher Education.
These institutions can be public or private, and may offer one, two or
three levels of higher education depending on the institution.
The school life expectancy of
Albania is 16 years, ranking 25th in
the world. Literacy rate in
Albania is 99.2% for males and 98.3% for
females, having an overall of 98.7%.
Health in Albania
Albanian cuisine is
characterized by the use of vegetables and olive oil .
Albania has a universal health care system run by the Ministry of
Health . According to the
World Health Organization ,
Albania had the
world's 55th best healthcare performance in 2000. The system has been
in a steep decline since the collapse of communism in the country, but
a process of modernization has been taking place since 2000. There
were a total of 51 hospitals in 2000 in the country, including a
military hospital and specialist facilities. The most common causes
of death are circulatory diseases followed by cancerous illnesses.
Demographic and Health Surveys completed a survey in April 2009,
detailing various health statistics in Albania, including male
circumcision , abortion and more. The leading causes of death are
cardiovascular disease, trauma, cancer, and respiratory disease.
Albania has successfully eradicated diseases such as malaria .
Life expectancy is estimated at 77.8 years (75.1 for males and 80.7
for females), ranking thirty-seventh in the world and outperforming a
European Union countries, such as Slovenia, Estonia, Poland,
Hungary and Slovakia. Albania's infant mortality rate, estimated at
12 per 1,000 live births in 2015. Compared to other European
Albania has a relatively low rate of obesity, probably
thanks to the health benefits of the
Mediterranean diet .
Politics of Albania
Government of Albania See also: Elections and
Ministries of Albania
Prime Minister since 2013. KRYEMINISTRIA (Council of
Tirana , the official workplace of the Prime Minister of
Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic in which
the President serves as the head of state and the Prime Minister as
the head of government .
The President is the head of state , commander-in-chief of the
military and the representative of the unity of the Albanian people.
The President is elected to a five-year term by the Parliament by a
majority of three-fifths of all its members. The President has the
power to guarantee observation of the Constitution and all laws,
exercise the duties of the Parliament , when the parliament is not in
session, and appoint the Prime Minister. The executive power is
exercised by the Prime Minister, serving as the head of government .
Ministers are also nominated by the President on the basis of the
Prime Minister's recommendation. The Parliament must give final
approval of the composition of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is
responsible for carrying out both foreign and domestic policies,
directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state
organs. The outer facade of the
Parliament of Albania .
Parliament of Albania is the unicameral representative body of
the citizens of
Albania and is elected by people to a four-year term
on the basis of direct, universal, periodic and equal suffrage by
secret ballot . There are 140 deputies in the Parliament, which are
elected through a party-list proportional representation system. The
Chairperson has two deputies and chairs the Parliament. There are 15
permanent committees. The Parliament has the power to decide the
direction of domestic and foreign policy; approve or amend the
constitution; declare war on another state; ratify or annul
international treaties; elect the President , the Supreme Court , and
the Attorney General and their deputies; and control the activity of
state radio and television, state news agency and other official
Albania has a multi-party system . The last parliamentary election
took place on 25 June 2017. This parliamentary election was the 9th
since the first multi-party election in 1991. The result was a victory
for the Socialist Party and its leader
Edi Rama . The 140 members of
Parliament were elected in twelve multi-member constituencies
analogous to the country's twelve counties.
Foreign relations of Albania The Albanian Foreign
Ditmir Bushati and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
Vienna , May 5, 2014.
Foreign relations are conducted through the Ministry of Foreign
Tirana . The current minister is
Ditmir Bushati . Since the
collapse of Communism in 1990,
Albania has extended its
responsibilities and position in European and international affairs,
supporting and establishing friendly relations with other nations
around the world.
The main objectives of the Albanian foreign policy are; the Accession
Albania to the
European Union , the International recognition of
Kosovo , the recognition of Expulsion of Cham
Albanians , helping and
protecting of the rights the
Montenegro , Macedonia ,
Greece , southern
Italy and the
Albanian diaspora . Albania
has a network of 40 foreign embassies and 46 diplomatic missions
Albania was among the first eastern European countries to join
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) . Major Albanian
politicians considered admission to
NATO as a top priority for the
country. Since 1992, it has been extensively engaged with NATO, and
has maintained its position as a stability factor and a strong ally of
United States and
European Union in the troubled and divided
region of the Balkans. At the April 2008 summit in
Bucharest , NATO
agreed to the accession of
Albania and Croatia. One year later in
April 2009, both countries joined the alliance.
Albania is a member of numerous international organizations,
United Nations , Council of
Europe , North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO),
International Organization for Migration ,
World Health Organization (WHO),
Union for the Mediterranean
Union for the Mediterranean ,
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation , Organization for Security and
International Monetary Fund , World Trade
La Francophonie .
Constitution of Albania ,
Law of Albania , and Law
Constitution of Albania _(Kushtetuta e Shqipërisë)_ is
the supreme law of the country and was ratified by a popular
referendum in 1998. The nation was constituted in 1913 as a monarchy ,
briefly a republic in 1920, then into a democratic monarchy in 1928.
Succeeding, it became a socialist republic , until the restoration of
capitalism and democracy, after the collapse of communism in
Albania\'s judicial system is a civil law system divided between
courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative
courts. Albanian law is codified and based on the French law . Major
institutions of the branch include the Supreme Court (_Gjykata e
Lartë_), the Constitutional Court (_Gjykata Kushtetuese_), the Court
of Appeal (_Gjykatat e Apelit_), and the Administrative Court
(_Gjykata Administrative_), which are all located in the capital city
Tirana . Law enforcement in the nation is primarily the
responsibility of the
Albanian Police _(Policia e Shtetit)_. It is the
main and largest state law enforcement agency in the country. It
carries nearly all general police duties thath includes criminal
investigation, patrol activity, traffic policing and border control.
In 2014, the Ministry of Internal Affairs started a modernization
process of the Albanian police , to modernize it's equipment and
methods. The first step was the acquisition of new police vans and
cruisers, the next one was the installment of body cameras on police
officers to improve their service and to be analysed after an
operation. Uniforms of the every uniformed department of the police
were overhauled and the logo was changed also. The agency are
organised under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
which consist primarily of the national police force.
RENEA is the
main counter-terrorist and critical incident response unit. The
responsibilities of the unit are rescue operations, hostage
situations, counter-terrorism and response to particularly violent
forms of crime.
Armed Forces of Albania Soldiers of the Albanian
Army (Forca Tokësore) in Afghanistan.
The Military were first formed after the Albanian declaration of
independence in 1912. The
Albanian Armed Forces (_Forcat e Armatosura
të Shqipërisë_) are the military and paramilitary forces of
Albania, under the
President of Albania as supreme commander. In times
of peace, the President's powers as a commander are executed through
the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister . The current Defence
Mimi Kodheli , being the first woman to be appointed to
The armed forces consist the General staff (_Shtabi i
Përgjithshëm_), the Land Force (_Forca Tokësore_), the Air Force
(_Forca Ajrore_) and the Naval Force (_Forca Detare_). The Chief of
the General Staff is appointed by the President .
nocompulsory military service . Compulsory conscription was abolished
in January 2010. The military service is voluntary, with the age of
19 years old being the legal minimum age for it.
Albania reduced the number of active troops from 65,000 in 1988 to
14,500 in 2009. The military now consists mainly of a small fleet of
aircraft and sea vessels. In the 1990s, the country scrapped enormous
amounts of obsolete hardware from China, such as tanks and SAM systems
. Increasing the military budget was one of the most important
NATO integration. Military spending has generally been
lower than 1.5% since 1996, only to peak in 2009 at 2% and fall again
to 1.5%. Since February 2008,
Albania has participated officially in
Operation Active Endeavor in the
Mediterranean Sea . It was
invited to join
NATO on 3 April 2008, and it became a full member on 2
According to 2016
Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index , the nation ranked 54th out of
163 countries in the world.
Administrative divisions of Albania
Albania is divided into 12 administrative counties (_Qark or
Prefekturë_). Since June 2015, these counties are divided into 61
municipalities (_Bashkia_). These counties were further divided in 36
districts (_Rrethe_), that became defunct in 2000. The government
introduced a new administrative division to be implemented in 2015,
whereby municipalities are reduced to 61 in total, while rural ones
called _Komuna_ are abolished. The defunct municipalities will be
known as Neighborhoods or Villages (_Lagje or Fshat_). There are
overall 2980 villages (_or communities_) in all Albania, formerly
known as localities (_lokalitete_). The municipalities are the first
level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law
enforcement. As part of the reform, major town centers in
being physically redesigned and façades painted to reflect a more
Korçë Kosovo_ _Macedonia_
_Greece_ _Montenegro_ _
Adriatic Sea_ _Ionian Sea_
_Qarku i Beratit_
_Qarku i Dibrës_
_Qarku i Durrësit_
_Qarku i Elbasanit_
_Qarku i Fierit_
_Qarku i Gjirokastrës_
_Qarku i Korçës_
_Qarku i Kukësit_
_Qarku i Lezhës_
_Qarku i Shkodrës_
_Qarku i Tiranës_
_Qarku i Vlorës_
Economy of Albania
Tirana is the economic hub of the
country. It is home to major domestic and foreign companies operating
in the country.
Albania's transition from a socialist centrally planned economy to a
capitalist mixed economy has been largely successful. "Formal
non-agricultural employment in the private sector more than doubled
between 1999 and 2013," notes the
World Bank , with much of this
expansion powered by foreign investment. With 14.7% (2016) Albania
has the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the
Balkans . Albania's
largest trading partners are Italy, Greece, China, Spain,
the United States.
In 2012, Albania's
GDP per capita
GDP per capita (expressed in purchasing power
parity ) stood at 30% of the EU average, while AIC (Actual Individual
Consumption) was 35%. Albania, Cyprus, and
Poland were the only
Europe to record an economic growth in the first quarter
of 2010. The
International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted 2.6% growth
Albania in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011.
Durrës build both the financial and business heart of the
Tirana is the major centre for trade, real estate,
banking and finance, retailing, transportation, new media as well as
traditional media, advertising, legal services, accountancy,
insurance, and fashion. Many roads and railways pass through Tirana
Durrës connecting the northern part of the country to the south
and the west with the east. Well-known companies include the petroleum
Taçi Oil ,
Albpetrol , ARMO and Kastrati, the mineral
cement Antea , the investment BALFIN Group (among the largest in
southeastern Europe) and the technology
Albtelecom , Vodafone ,
Telekom Albania and more other companies. According to the
of December 2016, the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was growing at
2.8%. The country had a trade balance of −9.7% and unemployment rate
of 14.7%. The
Foreign direct investment has increased significantly
in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious program
to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative
reforms. The Government is focused on the simplification of licensing
requirements and tax codes, and it entered into a new arrangement with
International Monetary Fund for additional financial and technical
The Economy is expected to expand in the near term, driven by a
recovery in consumption and robust investments. Growth is projected to
be 3.2% in 2016, 3.5% in 2017, and 3.8% in 2018. The medium-term
outlook depends on the pace and depth of the structural reforms and on
additional fiscal consolidation measures to reduce debt, sustained
reforms in the energy and financial sectors, improvements in the
management of public investments, and the recently approved reform of
the judiciary, which has implications for the investment climate and
Agriculture in Albania Due to the Mediterranean
climate , wine , olives and citrus fruits are mostly produced in
Agriculture in the country is based on small to medium-sized
family-owned dispersed units. It remains a significant sector of the
Economy of Albania. It employs 41% of the population, and about
24.31% of the land is used for agricultural purposes. One of the
earliest farming sites in
Europe has been found in southeastern of the
country. As part of the pre-accession process of
Albania to the
European Union , farmers are being aided through IPA 2011 funds to
improve Albanian agriculture standards.
Albania produces significant
amounts of tobacco , olives , wheat , maize , potatoes , vegetables ,
fruits , sugar beets , grapes , meat , honey , dairy products , and
traditional medicine and aromatic plants , figs and sour cherries .
Albania's proximity to the
Ionian Sea and the
Adriatic Sea give the
underdeveloped fishing industry great potential. The
World Bank and
European Community economists report that, Albania's fishing industry
has good potential to generate export earnings because prices in the
nearby Greek and Italian markets are many times higher than those in
the Albanian market. The fish available off the coasts of
carp, trout, sea bream, mussels, and crustaceans.
Albania has one of Europe's longest histories of viticulture . The
today's region was one of the few places where vine was naturally
grown during the ice age. The oldest found seeds in the region are
4,000 to 6,000 years old. In 2009, the nation produced an estimated
17,500 tonnes of wine During the communism, the production area
expanded to some 20,000 hectares (49,000 acres).
See also: Category:Mines in
Albania The Antea factory in
The secondary sector of
Albania have undergone many changes and
diversification, since the collapse of the communist regime in the
country. It is very diversified, from electronics , manufacturing ,
textiles , to food , cement , mining , and energy . The Antea Cement
plant in Fushë-
Krujë is considered as one of the largest industrial
greenfield investments in the country. Albanian oil and gas is
represents of the most promising albeit strictly regulated sectors of
Albania has the second largest oil deposits in the Balkan
Romania , and the largest oil reserves in Europe.
Albpetrol company is owned by the Albanian state and monitors the
state petroleum agreements in the country. The textile industry has
seen an extensive expansion by approaching companies from the European
Union (EU) in Albania. According to the Institute of Statistics
(INSTAT) as of 2016 , the textile production marked an annual growth
of 5,3% and an annual turnover of around 1,5 billion euros.
Albania is a significant minerals producer and is ranked among the
world's leading chromium producers and exporters. The nation is also
a notable producer of copper , nickel and coal . The
Batra mine ,
Bulqizë mine , and
Thekna mine are among the most recognised Albanian
mines that are still in operation.
Tourism in Albania Clockwise from
Ksamil Islands are four small islands located in southern
Saranda on the
Ionian Sea . Gjiri i Skalomës in the
Karaburun Peninsula . Koman Lake is one of the most popular ferry
rides in southern Europe.
The service industry represents the fastest growing sector of the
Albanian economy. A significant part of Albania's national income
derives from tourism . In 2014, it directly accounted for 6% of GDP,
though including indirect contributions pushes the proportion to just
Albania welcomed around 4.2 million visitors in 2012,
mostly from neighbouring countries and the
European Union . In 2011,
Albania was recommended as a top travel destination, by Lonely Planet
. In 2014,
Albania was nominated number 4 global touristic
destination by _
The New York Times _. The number of tourists has
increased by 20% for 2014 as well. With a total of 3.8 million
Albania is the 25th (out of 47 countries) most visited
country in Europe.
The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic
Ionian Sea coast. The latter has the most beautiful and
pristine beaches, and is often called the
Albanian Riviera . The
Albanian coastline has a considerable length of 360 kilometres (220
miles). The coast has a particular character because it is rich in
varieties of sandy beaches, capes, coves, covered bays, lagoons, small
gravel beaches, sea caves and others. Some parts of this seaside are
very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective
unexplored areas, very rare in
Mediterranean area. The Albanian Alps
, part of the
Prokletije or _Accursed Mountains_ range in Northern
Albania bearing the highest mountain peak. The southernmost glaciers
Europe were recently discovered in the Albanian part of the range.
The most beautiful mountainous regions that can be easily visited by
Dajti Mountain ,
Tropojë , Voskopoja , Valbona
Prespa , Lake Koman , Dukat and
The increase in foreign visitors has been dramatic.
Albania had only
500,000 visitors in 2005, while in 2012 had an estimated 4.2 million
– an increase of 740% in only 7 years. Tourism in the summer of 2015
increased by 25 percent in contrast the previous year, accouring to
the country's tourism agency. A _USAid agency_ report indicated that
the direct contribution of tourism is becoming a significant part of
the country's Gross Domestic Product, a full 4.8 percent of it in
2013. The total contribution to the GDP was about 17 percent
_including wider effects from investment and the supply chain_. This
is expected to increase in the future.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Science and technology in Albania
Until 1990, after the fall of
Communism in Albania , the country was
one of the world's most isolated and controlled countries, and
installation and maintenance of a modern system of international and
domestic telecommunications was precluded. Callers previously needed
operator assistance even to make domestic long-distance calls.
Albania is fast and inexpensive in comparison to the rest
of Europe. For example, an ISP known as ABcom, offers a 30mbit
download package for 306.999 lekë ($2.39579 USD) per month. In the
mobile network industry, providers such as Vodafone , Telekom ,
Albanian Mobile Communications and
Eagle Mobile provide both 3G and 4G
data plans. From 1993 human resources in sciences and technology have
drastically decreased. Various surveys show that during 1991–2005,
approximately 50% of the professors and research scientists of the
universities and science institutions in the country have emigrated.
However, in 2009 the government approved the "National Strategy for
Science, Technology and Innovation in Albania" covering the period
2009–15. It aims to triple public spending on research and
development (R&D) to 0.6% of GDP and augment the share of gross
domestic expenditure on R">
Renewable energy in Albania The Fierza Reservoir
was formed as a result of the construction of the Fierza Hydroelectric
Power Station in 1978.
Albania is dependent on
Albania is the
largest producer of
Hydroelectricity in the World, with a percentage
of 100%. It is host to five Hydroelectric power stations and a plant.
Almost four Hydroelectric power stations: Fierza , Koman , Skavica and
Vau i Dejës are situated on the Drin river, the longest in the
country with a total length of 335 km (208 mi). Its location, plays a
significant role for the production of electricity in Albania.
Croatia have discussed the possibility of jointly
building a nuclear power plant at Lake
Shkoder , close to the border
with Montenegro, a plan that has gathered criticism from Montenegro
due to seismicity in the area. In February 2009 Italian company Enel
announced plans to build an 800 MW coal-fired power plant in Albania,
to diversify electricity sources.
The Albanian _Devoll Hydropower_ company, owned and operated by
Statkraft _, is currently building two hydroelectricity
plants on the Devoll river near Banjë and Moglicë . The Moglicë
Hydro Power Plant is anticipated to be the world's highest of its kind
upon completion. The _Devoll Hydropower Project_ is one of the
largest hydropower investments in the
Balkan peninsula . The two
plants are expected to be completed in 2016 and 2018. After its
completion, it will produce 729 GWh annually, increasing the
electricity production in
Albania by almost 17%.
Transport in Albania _
Airport is the 10th busiest airport in the Balkans, handling over 2
million passengers per year. The A1 motorway in Northern
Albania near Kalimash to
Kosovo . The National Road 3 (SH3)_
from Lin to
Pogradec along the
Ohrid Lake . _ Scenic National
Road 8 (SH8)_ at
Llogara Pass along the
Albanian Riviera .
Following the collapse of the communist regime in Albania, the
transportation has undergone significant changes in the past two
decades, vastly modernizing the country's infrastructure. Improvements
to the road infrastructure, urban transport, and air travel have all
led to a vast improvement in transportation.
Currently there are three main motorways in Albania: the A1 , A2 ,
and A3 . The A1 motorway connects the port city of
Durrës on the
Adriatic Sea , to
Pristina , the capital of
Kosovo . Prospectively,
the motorway will link with
Pan-European Corridor X near
Serbia. The project was the largest and most expensive infrastructure
road project ever undertaken in the country. Two additional highways
are currently under construction. The A3 motorway is going to connect
the capital city
Tirana with Pan-European Corridor VIII , linking
Albania with Macedonia and
Bulgaria to the east. The North-South
motorway consists of SH1 and SH2 and makes up the Albanian portion of
Adriatic–Ionian motorway , a larger regional highway connecting
Greece along the
Adriatic and Ionian coasts. When all
three corridors are completed,
Albania will have an estimated 759
kilometers of highway linking it with all of its neighboring
The busiest and largest seaport in
Albania is the Port of
As of 2014 , the port ranks as one of the largest passenger ports on
Adriatic Sea , with annual passenger volume of approximately 1.5
million. Other seaports include
Sarandë , and
The ports serve an extensive system of ferries connecting numerous
islands and coastal cities in addition to ferry lines to several
cities in Croatia, Greece, and Italy. The highly advantageous
geographical location of
Durrës makes its port the busiest in Albania
and among the largest in the
Adriatic and Ionian Seas .
The only international airport in the country is the Tirana
International Airport Nënë Tereza . It is the only port of entry for
air travelers to the country. The airport offers international
connections to many European cities . In 2016, the Government of
Albania reached an agreement with
Tirana International Airport to end
its monopoly on flights, paving the way for the opening of an airport
Kukës in the north.
The railways in
Albania are administered by the national railway
Hekurudha Shqiptare . The railway system was extensively
promoted by the totalitarian communist regime of dictator Enver Hoxha
, during which time the use of private transport was effectively
prohibited. Since the collapse of the communist regime, there has been
a considerable increase in car ownership and bus usage. A new railway
line from the capital
Tirana International Airport to the
Durrës is currently planned. The location of this railway,
connecting the most populated urban areas in Albania, makes it an
important economic development project. The opening will take place
Telecommunications in Albania See also: Television in
Albania began officially in 1938 with the founding of RTSH
Albania Radio and Television - Radio Televizioni Shqiptar)_, and
television broadcasting began in 1960. Almost 4 regional radio
stations serve in the four extremities of Albania. The international
service broadcasts radio programmes in Albanian and seven other
languages via medium wave (AM) and short wave (SW). The international
service has used the theme from the song "Keputa një gjethe dafine"
as its signature tune . The international television service via
satellite was launched since 1993 and aims at Albanian communities in
Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia,
Montenegro and northern Greece, plus the
Albanian diaspora in the rest of Europe. According to the Albanian
Albania has an estimated 257 media outlets, including
66 radio stations and 67 television stations, with three national, 62
local and more than 50 cable TV stations. In Llast years,
organized several shows as a part of worldwide series like _Dancing
with the Stars _, _Big Brother _, _Got Talent _, _The Voice _, and _X
Albania ranked 34th in the 2003
Press Freedom Index report compiled
Reporters Without Borders . In 2016, it ranked 82nd. In 2016,
there were 1.82 million
Internet users in the country in percentage
63% of the population.
Culture of Albania
Architecture of Albania
Ancient architecture in
(5th century BC)
Due to its long history,
Albania is home to many valuable cultural
and historical landmarks. From antiquity to the modern period, major
cities in the country have evolved from within the castle to include
dwellings, religious, and commercial structures, with constant
redesigning of town squares and evolution of building techniques.
The country hosts three
UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the
ancient city of
Butrint south of
Sarandë , the medieval Historic
Gjirokastër , and
Gashi River and Rrajca, part
of the Shebenik Jabllanice National Park under the Primeval Beech
Forests of the Carpathians and other regions of Europe. However, the
Roman Amphitheatre of
Durrës , the Royal Illyrian Tombs of Selca e
Poshtme , the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region and
the ancient city of Apollonia are on the tentative list.
Many ancient architectural treasures from the
Illyrians such as
Shkodër can be found in Albania. Due
to the long period of rule of the
Albania is home to
Byzantine churches, castles, and monasteries.
Albania also has
many surviving monuments from the five centuries of Ottoman rule. In
the 19th century, Albanian medieval towns underwent urban
transformations by Austro-Hungarian and Italian architects, giving
them the appearance of European cities. During the Communism, many
socialist-styled complexes, wide roads, and factories were
constructed, while town squares were redesigned and a number of
historic buildings demolished.
Music of Albania _ The Albanian dancer_ by
Alexandre Decamps . (1835)
The Albanian folk music falls into two major groups, the northern
Ghegs and southern Labs and Tosks . The northern and southern
traditions are contrasted by the rugged and heroic tone of the north
and the relaxed form of the south. The Ghegs are known for a
distinctive variety of sung epic poetry. Many of the songs are about
the ancient history of the
Albanians but also the Albanian medieval
Skanderbeg , who led the struggle against the Turks, and the
constant Albanian themes of honour, hospitality, treachery and
revenge. Tosk music is soft and gentle, and polyphonic in nature.
Albania is also known for funeral laments with a chorus and one
to two soloists with overlapping, mournful voices. Its instrumental
music includes the sedate kaba, an ensemble-driven by a clarinet or
violin alongside accordions and lahutës. The kaba is an improvised
and melancholic style with melodies that Kim Burton describes as "both
fresh and ancient", "ornamented with swoops, glides and growls of an
almost vocal quality", exemplifying the "combination of passion with
restraint that is the hallmark of Albanian culture."
These disparate styles are unified by the intensity that both
performers and listeners give to their music as a medium for patriotic
expression and as a vehicle carrying the narrative of oral history ,
as well as certain characteristics like the use of rhythms such as
3/8, 5/8 and 10/8. The first compilation of Albanian folk music was
made by two Himariot song artists Neço Muka and Koço Çakali in 1929
and 1931 in
Paris during their interpretations with the Albanian song
diva Tefta Tashko Koço. Several gramophone compilations were recorded
in those years by this genial trio of Albanian artists which
eventually led to the recognition of the Himariot Isopolyphonic Music
UNESCO World Heritage .
The contemporary music artists
Ermonela Jaho ,
Inva Mula , Bebe Rexha
Era Istrefi , have achieved international recognition for their
Ermonela Jaho has been described by
The Economist as
"the world’s most acclaimed soprano". One widely recognised
Saimir Pirgu , an Albanian international
opera singer. He was nominated for the 2017
Grammy Award in the
category of _Best Opera Recording_.
Albanian art _
Motra Tone painted by Kolë
Idromeno in 1883. (LEFT) The Resurrection of Lazarus_
Onufri in the 16th century. Museum of Mediaeval Art in
Korçë . (RIGHT)
Albania's visual arts tradition has been shaped by the many cultures
that have flourished on its territory. The
Ottoman Empire ruled over
Albania for nearly five centuries, which greatly affected the
country's artwork and artistic forms. After Albania's joining with the
Ottoman Empire in 1478, Ottoman influenced art forms such as mosaics
and mural paintings became prevalent, and no real artistic change
occurred until Albanian Liberation in 1912 .
Following mosaics and murals from antiquity and the Middle Ages, the
first paintings were icons
Byzantine Orthodox tradition. Albanian
earliest icons date from the late thirteenth century and generally
estimated that their artistic peak reached in the eighteenth century.
Among the most prominent representatives of the Albanian iconographic
David Selenica . The museums of
Berat , Korçë
Tirana houses good collections remaining icons. By the end of the
Ottoman period, the painting was limited mostly to folk art and ornate
mosques. Paintings and sculpture arose in the first half of the
twentieth century and reached a modest peak in the 1930s and 1940s,
when the first organized art exhibitions at national level.
Contemporary Albanian artwork captures the struggle of everyday
Albanians, however new artists are utilizing different artistic styles
to convey this message. Albanian artists continue to move art forward,
while their art still remains distinctively Albanian in content.
Though among Albanian artist post-modernism was fairly recently
introduced, there is a number of artists and works known
internationally. Among most famous Albanian post-modernist are
Anri Sala ,
Sislej Xhafa , and
Helidon Gjergji .
Albanian language ,
Albanian literature , and List of
Albanian writers _ A excerpt from the
Meshari (The Missal)_
Gjon Buzuku . (1555)
Albanian language comprises its own branch of the Indo-European
language family. The language is considered an isolate within the
Indo-European . The only other languages that are the sole surviving
member of a branch of Indo-European are Armenian and Greek. It was
proved to be an
Indo-European language in 1854 by the German
Franz Bopp .
Albanian is often held to be related to the
Illyrian languages , a
language spoken in the
Balkans during classical times . Scholars argue
that Albanian derives from Illyrian while some others claim that it
derives from Daco -Thracian . (Illyrian and Daco-Thracian, however,
might have been closely related languages; see
The cultural renaissance was first of all expressed through the
development of the
Albanian language in the area of church texts and
publications, mainly of the Catholic region in the northern of
Albania, but also of the Orthodox in the south. The Protestant reforms
invigorated hopes for the development of the local language and
literary tradition, when cleric
Gjon Buzuku brought into the Albanian
Catholic liturgy , trying to do for the Albanian
Martin Luther did for the
German language .
Meshari (_The Missal_) written by
Gjon Buzuku was published in 1555
and is considered as one of the first literary work of written
Albanian during the Middle Ages. The refined level of the language and
the stabilised orthography must be the result of an earlier tradition
of written Albanian, a tradition that is not well understood. However,
there is some fragmented evidence, pre-dating Buzuku, which indicates
that Albanian was written from at least the 14th century. The earliest
evidence dates from 1332 AD with a Latin report from the French
Dominican Guillelmus Adae,
Antivari , who wrote that
Albanians used Latin letters in their books although their language
was quite different from Latin. Other significant examples include: a
baptism formula (_Unte paghesont premenit Atit et Birit et spertit
senit_) from 1462, written in Albanian within a Latin text by the
Pal Engjëlli ; a glossary of Albanian words of
1497 by Arnold von Harff, a German who had travelled through Albania,
and a 15th-century fragment of the Bible from the
Gospel of Matthew ,
also in Albanian, but written in Greek letters. Naum Veqilharxhi
lawyer and scholar (1797–1854)
Parashqevi Qiriazi teacher and
Albanian writings from these centuries must not have been religious
texts only, but historical chronicles too. They are mentioned by the
Marin Barleti , who in his book Siege of
i Shkodrës_) from 1504, confirms that he leafed through such
chronicles written in the language of the people (_in vernacula
lingua_) as well as his famous biography of
Skanderbeg Historia de
vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis (_History of
Skanderbeg_) from 1508. The _History of Skanderbeg_ is still the
Skanderbeg studies and is considered an Albanian
cultural treasure, vital to the formation of Albanian national
During the 16th and the 17th centuries, the catechism (_E mbësuame
krishterë_) (Christian Teachings) from 1592 written by Lekë
Matrënga , (_Doktrina e krishterë_) (The Christian Doctrine) from
1618 and (_Rituale romanum_) 1621 by
Pjetër Budi , the first writer
of original Albanian prose and poetry, an apology for George Castriot
Frang Bardhi , who also published a dictionary and folklore
creations, the theological-philosophical treaty _
Cuneus Prophetarum _
(The Band of Prophets) (1685) by
Pjetër Bogdani , the most universal
personality of Albanian
Middle Ages , were published in Albanian . The
most famous Albanian writer in the 20th and 21th century is probably
Ismail Kadare . He has been mentioned as a possible recipient of the
Nobel Prize in Literature several times.
Albanian mythology consist of myths, legends, folks, fairy tales and
gods of the
Albanian people . Many characters in its mythology are
included in the Songs of the Frontier Warriors (Albanian : Këngë
Kreshnikësh or Cikli i Kreshnikëve). The
Albanian mythology is
divided into two major groups such as legends of metamorphosis and
historical legends. The
Albanian mythology has its origin to the
Illyrians , that inhabited the modern area of
the classical time . Some of the legends, songs and characters
E Bukura e Dheut ,
E Bukura e Qiellit , En ,
Zana e malit .
Albanian folk tales, were first recorded in the middle of the 19th
century by scholars including
Johann Georg von Hahn , Karl H.
Giuseppe Pitrè and other scholars among them well-known
Indo-European linguists such as
Auguste Dozon , Jan Jarnik, Gustav
Meyer , Holger Pedersen ,
Gustav Weigand and
August Leskien .
Albanians wearing the
Fustanella (1875). (LEFT) "Albanian Peasants
costumes" illustration by
Percy Anderson from 1906. (RIGHT)
Main article: Traditional Clothing of
Almost each cultural and geographical region has its own specific
variety of costume that vary in style, material, color, shape, detail
and form. Presently, the national costumes are most often worn with
connection to special events and celebrations, mostly at ethnic
festivals, religious holidays, weddings, and by dancing groups. Some
conservative old men and women mainly from the high Northern as well
as Southern Lands and wear traditional clothing in their daily lives.
The clothing was made mainly of products from the local agriculture
and livestock such as leather, wool, linen, hemp fiber and silk.
Today, the Albanian traditional textiles are still embroidered in very
claborate ancient patterns. Among the most important parts of clothing
Qeleshe (_Plis)_, the
Albanian hat , the Qylafë, the
Fustanella , the
Xhubleta , the
Xhamadan , the Brez , the
Opinga and others.
Albanian cuisine Further information:
Tavë me oriz a traditional meal served in an oven-baked clay
bowl. (LEFT) Cannoli is very popular in Arbëreshë Regions . (RIGHT)
The Cuisine of
Albania – as with most
Mediterranean and Balkan
nations – is strongly influenced by its long history. At different
times, the territory which is now
Albania has been claimed or occupied
Greece , Romans ,
Byzantine and the Ottoman Turks and each
group has left its mark on Albanian cuisine.
The main meal of
Albanians is the midday meal, which is usually
accompanied by a salad of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers
, green peppers and olives with olive oil , vinegar and salt. It also
includes a main dish of vegetables and meat. Though it is used in
several dishes, pumpkins are more commonly displayed and traditionally
given as gifts throughout Albania, especially in the region of Berat.
Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal cities of
Vlorë . In high elevation localities, smoked meat and
pickled preserves are common.
Cinema of Albania _ Albanian-American actress
Eliza Dushku produced the documentary
Dear Albania _ with a crew from
Travel Channel and
Lonely Planet , promoting tourism in Albania.
The history of Cinema in
Albania dates back to 1911 and 1912 with the
first showings of foreign films and few documentaries in the pre-war
and inter-war period. The first public showing to occur in Albania
was a little-known title, _Paddy the Reliable_, a comical story. The
publication of foreign films began in the cities of
The first Albanian films were mostly documentaries ; the first was
Monastir Congress that sanctioned the
Albanian alphabet in
1908. During communism, the Albanian Film Institute that later became
Kinostudio Shqipëria e Re was founded with Soviet
assistance, focusing mostly on propaganda of wartime struggles.
After 1945, the communist government founded the Kinostudio
Shqipëria e Re in 1952. This was followed by the first Albanian epic
film , _Skënderbeu _, a cooperation with Soviet artists chronicling
the life and fight of the Albanian national hero
Skanderbeg . The film
was awarded from the
Cannes Film Festival .
Notable Albanian film directors include
Andamion Murataj , Besim
Xhanfize Keko ,
Dhimitër Anagnosti ,
Kujtim Çashku ,
Luljeta Hoxha ,
Saim Kokona ,
Saimir Kumbaro ,
Kristaq Mitro , Leon
Gjergj Xhuvani . Famous actors in
Albania include Nik
Klement Tinaj ,
Masiela Lusha ,
Blerim Destani ,
Aleksandër Moisiu ,
Tinka Kurti ,
Pjetër Malota ,
Sandër Prosi and
Margarita Xhepa .
By 1990, about 200 movies had been produced, and
Albania had over 450
theaters. With the economic transition after the collapse of communism
in the 1990s, the Kinostudio was broken up and privatised. A new
National Center of Cinematography was established, while cities built
modern cinema theatres showing mostly American movies.
Tirana International Film Festival was established in 2003 and
has become the premier and largest film festival in the country as
well as in the Balkans.
Durrës hosts the International Film
Durrës , the second largest international film festival
in the country which takes place every year in late August or early
Durrës Amphitheatre .
There are internationally renowned actors in the Albanian diaspora,
such as the Albanian-Americans
Eliza Dushku , Jim and
John Belushi ,
Bekim Fehmiu and
Arta Dobroshi and Turkish-Albanian
Barish Arduç .
Albania at the Olympics and
Albania at the Mediterranean
Lorik Cana is Albania's most capped player of all
time. He captained the French
Olympique de Marseille
Olympique de Marseille , as well as the
Albanian national team . (LEFT) Lorenzo Boriçi captained
winning the 1946
Balkan Cup . (RIGHT)
Albania participated at the Olympic Games in 1972 for the first time.
The country made their Winter Olympic Games debut in 2006 . Albania
missed the next four games, two of them due to the 1980 and 1984
boycotts, but returned for the 1992 games in Barcelona . Since then,
Albania have participated in all games.
Albania normally competes in
events that include swimming, athletics, weightlifting, shooting and
wrestling. The country have been represented by the National Olympic
Albania since 1972. The nation has participated at the
Mediterranean Games since the games of 1987 in Syria. The Albanian
athletes have won a total of 43 (8 gold, 17 silver and 18 bronze)
medals from 1987 to 2013 .
Popular sports in
Albania include Football , Weightlifting,
Basketball , Volleyball, Tennis, Swimming, Rugby , and Gymnastics.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Albania. It is governed
Football Association of Albania (Albanian : _Federata Shqiptare
e Futbollit_, F.SH.F.), which was created in 1930 and has membership
UEFA . Football arrived in
Albania early in the 20th
century when the inhabitants of the northern city of
surprised to see a strange game being played by students at a
Albania national football team , ranking 51th in the World in
2017 (highest 22nd in August 22, 2015) have won the 1946
Rothmans International Tournament 2000 , but had never
participated in any major
FIFA tournament, until
2016 , Albania's first ever appearance at the continental tournament
and at a major men's football tournament.
Albania scored their first
ever goal in a major tournament and secured their first ever win in
European Championship when they beat
Romania by 1–0 in a
2016 match on 19 June 2016. The most successful football clubs in
the country are Skënderbeu , KF
Tirana , Dinamo
Tirana , Partizani
and Vllaznia .
Weightlifting is one of the most successful individual sport for the
Albanians, with the national team winning medals at the European
Weightlifting Championships and the rest international competitions.
Albanian weightlifters have won a total of 16 medals at the European
Championships with 1 of them being gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze. In the
World Weightlifting Championships , the Albanian weightlifting team
has won in 1972 a gold in 2002 a silver and in 2011 a bronze medal.
Albanians have established communities in many
regions throughout southern
Europe . The modern
Albanian diaspora was
formed largely in the
15th century , when many
Albanians emigrated to
Italy , especially in
Calabria also to
Greece , to
escape either various socio-political difficulties and the Ottoman
conquest. Other destinations includes Turkey, United States, Argentina
and Chile. After the fall of communism in 1991, many
migrated out of
Albania to Australia ,
Italy , Scandinavia ,
Switzerland and the
United Kingdom .
Notable people of Albanian origin includes
Mother Teresa , Ferid
Rita Ora ,
Bebe Rexha ,
Dua Lipa ,
Tony Dovolani , Fadil
Shkodran Mustafi ,
Granit Xhaka ,
Xherdan Shaqiri , Mateo
Ernesto Sabato ,
Cecilia Bolocco and many others. (See
also: List of
International rankings of Albania
The following are international rankings of Albania, including those
measuring life quality, health care quality, stability, press freedom,
Literacy Rate 2011
Ease of Protecting Minority Investors 2015
Trade Freedom Index 2016
Europe LGBT rights 2015
Fiscal Freedom Index 2016
Life Expectancy 2015
Monetary Freedom Index 2016
Social Progress Index 2017
Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index 2015
Fragile States Index 2016
Human Development Index
Human Development Index 2015
Ease of doing Business Index 2017
Outline of Albania
Index of Albania-related articles
Bibliography of Albania
Albania _ – book
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dating from the tertiary period. As a deep and ancient lake of
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