The Republic of Albania, or Albania (Albanian: Shqipria, meaning Land of
the Eagles), is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by
Montenegro in the north, Serbia in the north-east, the Republic of Macedonia
in the east, and Greece in the south, has a coast on the Adriatic Sea in the
west, and a coast on the Ionian Sea in the southwest.
Official language Albanian
Albania has been the site of several President Alfred Moisiu
Greek colonies, and was later part of
the Roman province of Illyricum. After Area Ranked 139th
being conquered by a number of Ź- Total 28,748 km2
nations, it became a part of the Ź- % water 4.7%
Ottoman Empire in 1478. Population Ranked 125th
Ź- Total (2000) 3,582,205
After the First Balkan War, Albania Ź- Density 122/km2
declared independence from the Ottoman
Empire in 1912, but the country Independence From the Ottoman
remained in unrest. Occupied by Italy Ź- Date Empire
November 28, 1912
during World War II, the (mainly
communist) resistance led by Enver Currency Lek
Hoxha seized control when the Italians Time zone UTC +2
left. National anthem Hymni i Flamurit
Until 1990, five years after the death Internet TLD .AL
of Hoxha, Albania was an isolationist Calling Code 355
communist state. A multi-party
democracy is emerging, but the country suffers from economic problems,
organised crime, and a large number of Albanian refugees from Kosovo.
Head of state is the president, which is elected by the Kuvendi Popullor, or
People's Assembly. The main part of the Assembly's 155 members are elected
by the Albanians in elections every 5 years. The president is assisted by a
council of ministers, which is appointed by the president.
Albania is divided into 36 districts, or rrethe. Several districts are then
grouped into a prefecture of which there are 12. The capital city, Tiran,
has a special status. The districts are:
* District of Berat * District of Lezh
* District of Bulqiz * District of Librazhd
* District of Delvin * District of Lushnj
* District of Devoll * District of Malsi e Madhe
* District of Dibr * District of Mallakastr
* District of Durrs * District of Mat
* District of Elbasan * District of Mirdit
* District of Fier * District of Peqin
* District of Gjirokastr * District of Prmet
* District of Gramsh * District of Pogradec
* District of Has * District of Puk
* District of Kavaj * District of Sarand
* District of Kolonj * District of Shkodr
* District of Kor * District of Skrapar
* District of Kruj * District of Tepelen
* District of Kuov * District of Tiran
* District of Kuks * District of Tropoj
* District of Kurbin * District of Vlor
Albania consists of mostly hilly and mountainous terrain, the highest
mountain reaching up to 2,753 m. The country mostly has a land climate, with
cold winters and hot summers.
Besides capital city Tirana, with 520,000 inhabitants, the principal cities
are Durrs, Elbasan, Shkodr, Vlor and Kor.
Albania is one of Europe's poorest countries, with half of the
economically-active population still engaged in agriculture and a fifth said
to be working abroad. The country has to deal with a high unemployment rate,
corruption up to high government levels and organised crime.
Albania is aided financially from abroad, notably by Greece and Italy.
The country exports nearly nothing and imports a lot from Greece and Italy.
The money for imports comes from the financial aid and from the money that
refugees working abroad bring to Albania. This is a good status-quo business
for both Greece and Italy. Also unofficially Greece government makes money
by selling visas unofficially to Albanian citizens, who are not allowed to
travel freely abroad. For this reason both countries have several visa
consulates in major cities of Albania, and oppose indirectly every
possibility of free movement from Albanian citizens in EU.
Most of the population (95%) is Albanian, but there is a sizeable Greek
minority (3%). Many ethnic Albanians also live in bordering Kosovo. The
language is Albanian, although some Greek is also spoken.
Since the occupation by the Ottomans, the majority of Albanians have been
Muslim (70%), even though religion was prohibited during the communist era.
The Eastern Orthodox (20%) and Catholic Church (10%) are the other main
religions in Albania.
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
1-January 2 New Year's Day Viti i Ri Ź
February 11 date varies, al-Eid saghir
(2003) Small Bayram Bajrami i Vogl in Islamic countries
March 7 Teacher's Day Dita e Msuesve non official
March 8 Mother's Day Dita e Nns non official
March 22 Nevruz Day Nevruz Ź
April 20 Catholic Easter Pashkt Ź
April 27 Orthodox Easter Pashkt Ź
May 1 May Day Nj Maji Ź
ratified by Albanian
October 19 Mother Teresa Dita e Nn Parliament as an official
and national holiday
November 25 date varies, Eid-ul-Adhain
(2003) Big Bayram Bajrami Madh Islamic countries
November 28 Independence Dita e Ź
November 29 Liberation Day Dita e lirimit Ź
December 25 Christmas Day Krishtlindje Ź