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Facts about Albania

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Where is Albania?
Albania is a country in south-eastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and spans across an area of 11,100 sq miles. The neighboring countries include Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro. Its western side is flanked by the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea borders its south-western side. It has a population of 2,994,667 as per 2011 census which is growing at a steady rate of 0.267%.

What is the capital of Albania?
The capital of Albania is Tirana which is also the largest city. It occupies an area of 16 sq miles and has a population of about 400,000. It is situated 110 m above sea level. It is bound by the Dajti Mountain to the east and the Tirana River runs through the city. It was established in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini.

What is the climate of Albania like?
The climate of Albania is predominantly mild. The lowlands have a Mediterranean climate with cool summers and rainy winters. The highlands however are cold and experience snowfall from November until March.

What are the important cities of Albania?
Important cities of Albania are Tirana, Durres, Vlora, Elbasan, Berat, Kruje, Fier etc. They are also major tourist destinations.

What is the currency of Albania?
The currency of Albania is called Lek and is issued by the Bank of Albania. The subunit Qindarke that is 1/100th of 1 Lek is no more in use. Frequently used are coins with denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Leke. Similarly, most frequently used banknotes are of 200, 500, 1000 mark.
1 US$ = 109.7 Leke (approx.)
1€ = 135.7 Leke (approx.)

What are the languages used in Albania?
Tosk, the southern Albanian dialect is the official language of Albania. The northern Albanian dialect is Gheg. There are seven other spoken languages which include Greek, Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Aromanian and Serbo-Croatian. Vlach is a variant of Latin. Macedonian is the language of eastern Albania whereas Aromanian is mostly spoken in Southern Albania. Besides, people are proficient in Italian and English as well.

What are the prominent festivals of Albania?
Albania observes a dance meeting at Durres in April which includes a captivating array of modern, classical and folk dances. An international Film Festival on Human Rights is held at Tirana every March which is open to citizens and tourists alike. The Korce City Beer Fest held in August is perhaps the most jovial occasion in Albania. Korce also holds a carnival in May in May much along the lines of Rio de Janeiro. A family event called the Pie Fest held in July also adds to the attractions of Korce. Albania also celebrates Christmas, New Year, Good Friday, Eid, Nawroz and Easter. The Independence Day falls on 28th November and the subsequent day of 29th November is celebrated as the Liberation Day. The day of Beatification of Mother Teresa on October 19 also falls in the list of major celebrations.

What are the ethnic groups of Albania?
Albanians constitute 97% of the population, followed by 1% Greeks. The remaining 2% is comprised of Vlachs, Roma, Serbs, Macedonians, Balkan Egyptians, and Bulgarians.

Which are the major religions of Albania?

The major religions of Albania are Islam and Christianity. In Albania 70% are Muslims, 20% are Albanian Orthodox Christians, and the remaining 10% are Roman Catholics.

What is the economy of Albania like?
Albania is considered one of the poorest countries of Europe but making optimum use of its human and natural resources it has exhibited a growth of 3.4% in 2011. The projected growth of the country by IMF for the year 2012 is 3.6% despite the global financial crisis. According to the Bank of Albania the per capita income has reached to $ 4,200 in 2012 and is expected to grow. Agriculture has always been the backbone of Albanian economy which is now effectively supplemented by the booming industrial and tourism sectors. Owing to an appreciable growth Albania has been the hub of investment of corporate giants like Vodafone, Australia Drillsearch, Croatia's INA group, Japan Tobacco etc.

What type of Government does Albania have?
Albania has a Parliamentary Democracy with three branches of Government namely the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judicial Wing. The Executive wing is made up of the President as the Head of State and Prime Minister as the Head of Government. It has a unicameral legislature called Kuvendi Popullor (People's Assembly) with 140 seats. Each member is duly elected by universal adult franchise and serves a term of four years. The Judicial organ is made up of a Constitutional Court, High Courts and several district courts. Voting rights are granted to every individual above 18 years of age. The current Prime Minister of Albania is Sali Berisha and President is Bamir Topi. Multiparty system exists in Albania. The most important parties are The Democratic Party of Albania, Albanian Socialist Party, Socialist Movement for Integration etc.

Who are the major leaders of Albania?
Skanderbeg is the most important name in the freedom struggle of Albania. He successfully overthrew three Ottoman sieges and also led several anti-Ottoman agitations in Albania. Ahmet Bey Zogu is another name who became the first president of Albania in 1925 and in 1928 ascended the throne under the name Zog I. Two major leaders following him were Enver Hoxha who led Albania into a cryogenic isolation and Mahmet Shehu who succeeded Hoxha in 1954. The national poet of Albania Naim Erasheri deserves special mention owing to his notable works Bageti-e-Bujqueshi, Histori- e -Skenderbeut and Lulet -e- Veres.. The credit for translating Old and New Testaments of Bible goes to Konstandin Kristoforidhi. Friar Gjergi Fishta was especially active in the Albanian Nationalist Movement. He also wrote Lahuta-e-Malcis, a long epic considered masterpiece of Albanian literature. Adding to the list is Bishop Fan Stylian Noli who translated many world classics into Albanian.

Interesting facts about Albania

Fact 1The Albanians call Albania 'Squiperia' or Republika e Shqiperise in full.
Fact 2Albania has never won a medal at the Olympics.
Fact 3In 1995, drivers in the Albanian city of Shkodra refused to pay a new traffic-light tax on the grounds that their city had no traffic lights.
Fact 4The only other Nobel Prize winner of Albanian origin was Ferid Murad (USA) who won the 1998 prize for Medicine. His father was Albanian.
Fact 5Albanians nod their head up and down to mean 'no', and shake it from side to side for 'yes'.
Fact 6John Belushi, star of the film The Blues Brothers, also had an Albanian father.
Fact 7Mother Teresa (Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) is generally celebrated as the only Albanian to win a Nobel Prize, though born in Skopje in 1910 (now in Macedonia but then in the Ottoman Empire).
Fact 8Albania, Armenia and Vatican City are the only European countries without a McDonald's branch.
Fact 9The Tirana International airport was named after Mother Teresa in 2001.
Fact 10King Zog of Albania (ruled 1928-39) was the only national leader in modern times to return fire during an assassination attempt.
Fact 11Albania is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is tied at 113 out of 176 with Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Niger on the corruption index. I write here about what it is like to live and work in a "culture of corruption."
Fact 12Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, Albania was declared the world's first atheist state in 1967
Fact 13Officially 70% of Albanians are Muslim but the number who actively practice is much lower.
Fact 14Nodding your head in Albania is a disagreement while shaking the head means "yes", so it can get pretty confusing for tourists!
Fact 15Nodding your head in Albania is a disagreement while shaking the head means "yes", so it can get pretty confusing for tourists!
Interesting Facts for kidsAlbanian most popular children's game is Hide and Seek.


Last Updated on: May 25, 2017


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