Cala Vinas, Mallorca, Spain
Flag: Black double-headed eagle on a red background
• International telephone prefix: +355
• Government: Parliamentary Democracy
• Population: 2,886,026 inhabitants
• Area: 28,748 km2
• Capital: Tirana
• Language: Albanian-Shqip
• Currency: Albanian Lekë
The Albanian population is approximately 2.88 million inhabitants, with about 113 inhabitants per square meter. The Albanian population is generally young and it is distinguished for its vitality. The most populated parts of the country are the area around the capital Tirana, the port of Durrës and generally in the western lowlands of the country. Albania is a country with a relatively homogeneous population. Minorities represent about 3 percent of the population. The largest one is the Greek minority (located in the southern part of the country, in the provinces of Dropull, Pogon and Vurg). Other minorities include Macedonians, located in the areas of the Great Prespa Lake, as well as Montenegrin, Roma etc. The largest populations are concentrated in the cities of Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan, Shkodra, Vlora, Korça etc. Other cities of tourist importance include Berat, Gjirokastra, Saranda, Kruja and Pogradec.
Albania has a Mediterranean climate with each season offering distinct- yet pleasant weather. Some features of the climate vary by region: The coastal areas have a Central Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The alpine areas have a Central Continental climate with cold, snowy winters and temperate summers. The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7°C, and summer temperatures average 24°C. Lowland rainfall ranges from 1,000 mm to more than 1,500 mm annually, with greater rainfall in the north. Nearly 95% of rainfall occurs in the winter and rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Despite the rain, Albanians enjoy a great deal of sunshine. The overall climate is pleasant and is favorable for outdoor activity. On average, Albanians enjoy a great deal of sunshine, second only to Spain (in Europe) in average annual sunny days.
Since the fall of communism, the development of the Albanian economy has been fueled primarily by the service and construction industries, though tourism has recently played an increasing role in the economy and is growing rapidly. Many people are curious to explore a country whose borders were closed to travel for many years. Given the continued development of both summer and winter resorts, people all over the world have begun to think of Albania as a tourist destination.
There are four official religious beliefs in Albania.
These belong to the Sunni Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Catholic Christian and Bektashi Muslim. Followers of Islam are found throughout the country. Catholics are concentrated mostly in the northern part of the country, the Orthodox in the south and center of the country, and the Bektashi sect of Sufism is found in some specific regions such as Skrapar, Krujë, Elbasan, Mat, Mallakastër, Korçë, etc. Freedom of religion is a right guaranteed by the Albanian Constitution. Besides official religions, it has also followers of other as those of Baha’is, Christian Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. Additionally there are also atheists and non-religious people.
Albania became unique in Europe in 1967, when all religious activity was banned by closing down churches, mosques, religious schools and tekkes. For about 23 years, Albania was the only atheist country in the world. In 1990, after a democratic movement, the freedom of religion was restored and churches and mosques were rebuilt, as well as many other religious buildings. Albania has several places of religious pilgrimage. The most important are those in honor of Shna Nues (St. Anthony) on 13 June at the Church of Lac, the pilgrimage of Abas Ali on 19 August in Tomorr Mountain, the one in honor of St. Mary on 15 August in some of the churches across the country, the pilgrimage in honor of Sari Salltik in Kruja and others.
The visa regime for foreign citizens in the Republic of Albania is provided for by Law No. 108/13 “On foreigners” and by the Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 513/13 “On the treatment of foreigners”, amended. 1) Can enter Albania without visa: a) Foreign citizens who have a valid, multiple-entry Schengen visa, which has been previously used in one of the Schengen states, or foreign citizens who have a valid permit of stay in one of the Schengen states; b) Foreign citizens who have a valid, multiple-entry US or UK visa, which has been previously used in the respective country of issuance, or have valid permit of stay in the US or UK. 2) Can enter without a short-term visa (without a visa Type C) for touristic motives during the period 15 May 2017 – 1 November 2017 citizens of Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Georgia, Qatar, Trinidad Tobacco, Oman, Ukraine, Russia, China; 3) Long – term visa (Type D) is required for all foreign citizens that will stay in Albania for more than 90 days during a six month period (90/180 days) and will apply for a residency permit from the migration office; 4) As attached please find the visa regulation table for foreigners: Visa regime for foreign citizens 5) All foreign citizens from countries that are not included in the table are required to have a visa before travelling to Albania. They can apply for a visa in the Albanian embassy that is geographically closest to their country of origin or residency;
Visa procedures1) Issuing of transit and short-term visas (type C); 2) Issuing long term visas (type D); 3) Issuing of airport transit visas (type A); 4) Visa application form;
Visa applicationCitizens of the countries requiring visas should apply at the following diplomatic missions of Albania (citizens of countries without an assigned embassy should contact the geographically nearest diplomatic mission):
|Currency used||Albanian Lekë|
|Area (km2)||2,886,026 inhabitants|
At the beginning of the third millennium B.C., an Indo- European population was established in the area and as a result of the merge, a population was conceived that retained specific cultural and language characteristics in the Balkan Peninsula (pelasgians tribe). Between the second millennium and the first century B.C., the Illyrian population was founded. Like the Greeks, the Illyrians succeeded in preserving their language and traditions in spite of Roman occupation.
There are precisely the evidences of numerous archaeological findings in different parts of the Albanian regions, such as those of Lepenica in Vlora , Tren in Korca, Xara in Saranda, nearby Shkodra at Selca, Dajti Mountain, Prizren etc., that prove for traces of ancient population on Albanian territory. By studying these archaeological objects, it has been proved that the first Albanian settlements have started to be inhabited in the middle of the Paleolithic period (100,000 to 40,000 years BC).
Likewise, during the Neolithic period (6000 – 2600 BC), it’s indicated a much more dense population on Albanian territories. This is noted in the archaeological excavations, carried out in the area of Korça, where 12 settlements are found belonging to this period. Such settlements have also been discovered in Cakran, Kolonjë, in the valley of the Black Drin River in Mat, in Përmet etc.
Prehistoric painted cave of Lepenica near Vlora
The Indo-European population settled here at the beginning of the III millennium BC. As a result of this merger, a new population was created in the Balkan Peninsula (Pelasgians), which preserved the specific cultural and language characteristics.
Illyrian Tummulus of Kamenica near Korca
This ancient population became the ancestors of the Illyrians between the II Millennium and I century B.C. After its fall in the year 30 B.C., and at the end of three Illyrian-Roman wars, Illyria fell under the control of the latter.
Skanderbeg Museum , Illyrians vs Romans
Byllis Archaeological site , Albania
Although they were under Roman conquest the Illyrians retained their language and traditions for centuries. “Via Egnatia”, the most important trade route between Rome and Constantinople (Byzantium), passed through the port of Durrës.
Via Egnatia – Albania
The first three Byzantine emperors (Anastasius I, Justin and Justinian I) were of Illyrian origin. The attacks by Barbarian migrating tribes (Visigoths, Huns, Ostrogoths and Slavs) continued during the V and VI century. In 1344, Albania was under the rule of the Serbian Kingdom. After its fall in the war against Turkey in 1389, the Arbëresh principalities were created.
The Principality of Balshaj was the most important one. The region was open to the Ottoman attacks, which gradually managed to take Arbëria under the rule. The culmination of the anti-Ottoman resistance reached during the years 1443-1468, when the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg led the revolt of the Albanians against the Ottomans.
Church of Saint Mary in Apollonia – Fier – Albania
During this period, Arbëria turned into a key factor in the entire Europe. After the formation of a coalition of Arbër Feudal in the Historical League of Lezha, held on March 2nd, 1444, the National Hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, led for 25 years the resistance against the Ottoman threat.
There were three Ottoman attacks n Kruja, all of which failed and only 10 years after the death of Skanderbeg, in 1478, they finally managed to capture Kruja. For more than 400 years, Albania was under the Ottoman regime. Albanian Resistance continued during the subsequent periods, being inspired especially by the Illuminist movement of the Albanian National Renaissance, which emerged in XIX century.
The Castle in Kruje, Albania
Successive revolts and efforts reached their peak with the proclamation of the National Independence on November 28th, 1912. The Assembly of Vlora established the first Albanian government led by Ismail Qemali. During the First World War, which broke out in 1914, Albania turned into a battlefield for different occupation troops, such as Austrian-Hungarian, Italian and French troops. The Congress of Lushnja, held in 1920, aimed to maintain the territorial integrity of Albania after the First World War.
Independence Monument , Vlore , Albania
This Congress proclaimed Tirana as the capital of Albania. In the same year, Albania adhered to the “League of Nations”. After a period of political turmoil in 1924, the country went through a bourgeois-democratic revolution and immediately after it, the country was led by the government of Fan Noli. In 1928, the country was declared a monarchy under King Zog I. The latter pursued a policy of rapprochement with Italy and Great Britain, but without being able to avoid a military occupation of Albania by Italian fascists.
Congress of Lushnja
On April 7th, 1939, the country was occupied by Mussolini’s troops, putting an end to the monarchy regime that lasted 11 years. In 1943, the country was occupied by Hitler’s Nazi forces. The resistance to foreign attacks is known as Anti-Fascist National Liberation Front. The end of World War II brought into force the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha.
New York Times news about Italian invasion of Albania
For about 50 years, the totalitarian regime followed a policy of isolation, leaving the country in economic poverty and totally isolated from the international community. Its economic policy was based on the principle of “relying on its own forces”, by banning loans and credits from abroad. This situation continued until 1991 when Albania, as a consequence of new winds that blew in Eastern Europe, eventually emerged from isolation.
Enver Hoxha painted as the leader of Albania
Since 1991, Albania holds pluralistic elections. The Socialist Party, along with its allies, is currently in power since 2013. Since 2009, Albania adhered to NATO as a member with full rights. The country is now undergoing a series of reforms, which aim the integration of Albania into the European Community.
The fall of Enver Hoxha statue in Tirana in 1991
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