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Albania is a small country in Southern, Southeastern Europe and Western Balkans strategically positioned on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea inside the Mediterranean Sea, with a coastline of about 476 km (296 mi).[1] It is bounded by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the southeast and south.[2]

Most of Albania rises into mountains and hills, tending to run the length of the country from north to south, as for instance the Albanian Alps in the north, the Sharr Mountains in the northeast, the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Pindus Mountains in the southeast, and the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest. Plains and plateaus extend in the west along the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coast.

Few of the most considerable and oldest bodies of freshwater of Europe occur in Albania. The second largest lake of Southern Europe, the Lake of Shkodër, is located in the northwest surrounded by the Albanian Alps and the Adriatic Sea.[3] Nevertheless, one of the oldest continuously existing lakes in the world, the Lake of Ohrid, straddles in the southeast,[4] while the highest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula, the Large and Small Lake of Prespa are well hidden among high mountains in the southeast.

Rivers originate in the east of Albania and loops towards the west into the sea. They are encompassed by the dr

Albania is a small country in Southern, Southeastern Europe and Western Balkans strategically positioned on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea inside the Mediterranean Sea, with a coastline of about 476 km (296 mi).[1] It is bounded by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the southeast and south.[2]

Most of Albania rises into mountains and hills, tending to run the length of the country from north to south, as for instance the Albanian Alps in the north, the Sharr Mountains in the northeast, the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Pindus Mountains in the southeast, and the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest. Plains and plateaus extend in the west along the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coast.

Few of the most considerable and oldest bodies of freshwater of Europe occur in Albania. The second largest lake of Southern Europe, the Lake of Shkodër, is located in the northwest surrounded by the Albanian Alps and the Adriatic Sea.[3] Nevertheless, one of the oldest continuously existing lakes in the world, the Lake of Ohrid, straddles in the southeast,[4] while the highest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula, the Large and Small Lake of Prespa are well hidden among high mountains in the southeast.

Rivers originate in the east of Albania and loops towards the west into the sea. They are encompassed by the drainage basins of the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Sea.[5] T

Most of Albania rises into mountains and hills, tending to run the length of the country from north to south, as for instance the Albanian Alps in the north, the Sharr Mountains in the northeast, the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Pindus Mountains in the southeast, and the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest. Plains and plateaus extend in the west along the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coast.

Few of the most considerable and oldest bodies of freshwater of Europe occur in Albania. The second largest lake of Southern Europe, the Lake of Shkodër, is located in the northwest surrounded by the Albanian Alps and the Adriatic Sea.[3] Nevertheless, one of the oldest continuously existing lakes in the world, the Lake of Ohrid, straddles in the southeast,[4] while the highest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula, the Large and Small Lake of Prespa are well hidden among high mountains in the southeast.

Rivers originate in the east of Albania and loops towards the west into the sea. They are encompassed by the drainage basins of the Adriatic, Aegean and Black Sea.[5] The longest river in the country, measured from its mouth to its source, is the Drin that starts at the confluence of its two headwaters, the Black and White Drin, though also notable is the Vjosë, one of the last intact large river systems in Europe.

For a small country, Albania is characterized for its biological diversity and abundance of contrasting ecosystems and habitats, defined in an area of 28,748 square kilometres.[6] This great diversity derives from Albania's geographic location on the Mediterranean Sea, with typical climatic conditions, varied topography, as well as the wealth of terrestrial and marine ecosystems providing a variety of habitats, each with its own typical flora and fauna.[7]

There are 799 Albanian protected areas covering a surface of 5,216.96 square kilometres.[8] These include two strict nature reserves, 14 national parks, one marine park, eight archaeological parks, 750 natural monuments, 22 habitat/species management areas, five protected landscapes, 4 protected landscapes, four managed resources areas and four ramsar wetlands.[9][10] The national parks cover a surface area of 210,668.48 hectares (2,106.6848 km2) or roughly 13.65% of the overall territory.[11]

A total surface area of 28.748 square kilometres (11,100 sq mi), the country is located in the southeastern part of the Adriatic and the northeastern part of the Ionian Sea, both located within the Mediterranean Sea. It has a length of borders of about 1,094 kilometres (680 mi), 657 kilometres (408 mi) of which are taken by terrestrial borders, 316 kilometres (196 mi) of shore borders, 48 kilometres (30 mi) river borders and 73 kilometres (45 mi) of lake borders.[12][13] Inland water surface is 1,350 square kilometres (520 sq mi), composed by natural lakes 325 square kilometres (125 sq mi), coastal lagoons 130 square kilometres (50 sq mi), artificial lakes 174 square kilometres (67 sq mi) and rivers 721 kilometres (448 mi).[14]

The countries of Montenegro (173 kilometres (107 mi)) and Kosovo (114 kilometres (71 mi)) border the country in the north and northeast, respectively.[15] A significant portion of this border connects high points and follows mountain ridges through the largely inaccessible Albanian Alps. The eastern border is shared with North Macedonia, which stretches 151 kilometres (94 mi). This border is located at the tripoint between Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia passing through the Sharr and Korab Mountains and continues until it reaches Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa.[16] The southern and southeastern border with Greece is 282 kilometres (175 mi) long.[15] The border is located at the tripoint border between Albania, North Macedonia, and Greece running across the Large and Small Lake Prespa until it reaches the Ionian Sea at the Strait of Corfu.

Physical geography

Topography

A scenic view of Gjiri i Gramës.

The Karaburun Peninsula is situated at the eastern side of Strait of Otranto, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea. Its area is 62 square kilometres (24 sq mi), having a length of 16 kilometres (9.9 mi), and a width of only 5 kilometres (3.1 mi).[51] The Mesokanali is the narrow channel, that separates the peninsula from the Sazan Island. Geologically, it is made up of carbonic limestone, dating back to the Mesozoic period, while in the northwestern it is composed of terrigenous sediment.[52] Furthermore, these formations have been continuously under the effect of Karst and are exploited as marble. The relief of the peninsula comprises a number of hills with an average altitude of about 800 metres (2,600 ft) above the Adriatic. The highest summits are Maja e Ilqës

Stretching until the Llogara Pass at 1,027 metres (3,369 ft), the mountain chain gets separated into the Ceraunians in the west and the Akroceraunians (or Reza e Kanalit) in the east within the Karaburun Peninsula.[50] The villages of Palasë, Dhërmi, Vuno, Himarë, Qeparo, Borsh, Pilur, Kudhës and Ilias are located on the Ceraunian range. The Llogara National Park covers an area of 10,100 square metres (109,000 sq ft) and

The Karaburun Peninsula is situated at the eastern side of Strait of Otranto, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea. Its area is 62 square kilometres (24 sq mi), having a length of 16 kilometres (9.9 mi), and a width of only 5 kilometres (3.1 mi).[51] The Mesokanali is the narrow channel, that separates the peninsula from the Sazan Island. Geologically, it is made up of carbonic limestone, dating back to the Mesozoic period, while in the northwestern it is composed of terrigenous sediment.[52] Furthermore, these formations have been continuously under the effect of Karst and are exploited as marble. The relief of the peninsula comprises a number of hills with an average altitude of about 800 metres (2,600 ft) above the Adriatic. The highest summits are Maja e Ilqës 733 metres (2,405 ft), Maja e Flamurit 826 metres (2,710 ft) and Maja Çadëri 839 metres (2,753 ft).[53]

The coastal landscape is characterized by a rough relief, that dips vertically into the Ionian Sea, it features several solitary peaks, large canyons, bays, caves and gulfs. Examples of typical landforms include Gjipe Canyon, Gjiri i Arushës, Gjiri i Dafinës, Gjiri i Gramës and so on. The geological evolution has formed also capes such as Haxhi Aliu, Galloveci and Kepi i Gjuhëzës, and other of 20 caves along the entire shoreline. The climate is Mediterranean, having hot summers and generally warm to cool, dry winters. Due to its climatic, hydrological and geological conditions, the area is characterized by its unique flora and fauna. Most of the territory consists of forests and is relatively well preserved, it includes many types of trees, such as The coastal landscape is characterized by a rough relief, that dips vertically into the Ionian Sea, it features several solitary peaks, large canyons, bays, caves and gulfs. Examples of typical landforms include Gjipe Canyon, Gjiri i Arushës, Gjiri i Dafinës, Gjiri i Gramës and so on. The geological evolution has formed also capes such as Haxhi Aliu, Galloveci and Kepi i Gjuhëzës, and other of 20 caves along the entire shoreline. The climate is Mediterranean, having hot summers and generally warm to cool, dry winters. Due to its climatic, hydrological and geological conditions, the area is characterized by its unique flora and fauna. Most of the territory consists of forests and is relatively well preserved, it includes many types of trees, such as Mediterranean oak, Manna ash, Kermes oak and Field maple.[54]