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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 sizeable Jewish colony of refugees fleeing persecution in Spain. The phenomenon of Islamisation among the Albanians became primarily widespread from the 17th century and continued into the 18th century.
However, motives for conversion were, according to some scholars, diverse depending on the context though the lack of source material does not help when investigating such issues.
Since the Albanians were seen as strategically important, they made up a significant proportion of the Ottoman military and bureaucracy.
A couple of Muslim Albanians attained important political and military positions who culturally contributed to the broader Muslim world.
The Albanian Renaissance was a period with its roots in the late 18th century and continuing into the 19th century, during which the Albanian people gathered spiritual and intellectual strength for an independent cultural and political life within an independent nation.
Modern Albanian culture flourished too, especially Albanian literature and arts , and was frequently linked to the influences of the Romanticism and Enlightenment principles.
Prior to the rise of nationalism , Albania was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries, and Ottoman authorities suppressed any expression of national unity or conscience by the Albanian people.
Through literature, Albanians started to make a conscious effort to awaken feelings of pride and unity among their people that would call to mind the rich history and hopes for a more decent future.
The victory of Russia over the Ottoman Empire following the Russian-Ottoman Wars resulted the execution of the Treaty of San Stefano which overlooked to assign Albanian-populated lands to the Slavic and Greek neighbours.
From this point, Albanians started to organise themselves with the goal to protect and unite the Albanian-populated lands into a unitary nation, leading to the formation of the League of Prizren.
The league had initially the assistance of the Ottoman authorities whose position was based on the religious solidarity of Muslim people and landlords connected with the Ottoman administration.
They favoured and protected the Muslim solidarity and called for defense of Muslim lands simultaneously constituting the reason for titling the league Committee of the Real Muslims.
Approximately Muslims participated in the assembly composed by delegates from Bosnia, the administrator of the Sanjak of Prizren as representatives of the central authorities and no delegates from Vilayet of Scutari.
The league used military force to prevent the annexing areas of Plav and Gusinje assigned to Montenegro. The league was later defeated by the Ottoman army sent by the sultan.
On 29 July , the Treaty of London delineated the borders of the country and its neighbors, leaving many Albanians outside Albania, predominantly partitioned between Montenegro , Serbia and Greece.
In November, the first gendarmerie members arrived in the country. This initiative was short lived, and in the southern provinces were incorporated into the Albanian Principality.
In May and June , the 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 Following the end of the government of Fan Noli , the parliament adopted a new constitution and proclaimed the country as a parliamentary republic in which King Zog I of Albania Ahmet Muhtar Zogu served as the head of state for a seven-year term.
Immediately after, Tirana was endorsed officially as the country's permanent capital. The politics of Zogu was authoritarian and conservative with the primary aim of the maintenance of stability and order.
He was forced to adopt a policy of cooperation with Italy where a pact had been signed between both countries, whereby Italy gained a monopoly on shipping and trade concessions.
Zogu remained a conservative but initiated reforms and placed great emphasis on the development of infrastructure. In an attempt at social modernisation, the custom of adding one's region to one's name was dropped.
He also made donations of land to international organisations for the building of schools and hospitals. The armed forces were trained and supervised by instructors from Italy, and as a counterweight, he kept British officers in the Gendarmerie despite strong Italian pressure to remove them.
After being militarily occupied by Italy from until , the Kingdom of Albania was a protectorate and a dependency of the Kingdom of Italy governed by Victor Emmanuel III and his government.
In October , Albania served as a staging ground for an unsuccessful Italian invasion of Greece. A counterattack resulted in a sizeable portion of southern Albania coming under Greek military control until April when Greece capitulated during the German invasion.
In April , territories of Yugoslavia with substantial Albanian population were annexed to Albania inclusively western Macedonia, a strip of eastern Montenegro, the town of Tutin in central Serbia and most of Kosovo [a].
Germans started to occupy the country in September and subsequently announced that they would recognise the independence of a neutral Albania and set about organising a new government, military and law enforcement.
During the last years of the war, the country fell into a civil war-like state between the communists and nationalists.
The communists defeated the last anti-communist forces in the south in Before the end of November, the main German troops had withdrawn from Tirana, and the communists took control by attacking it.
The partisans entirely liberated the country from German occupation on 29 November 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.
About 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. Many Kelmendi people fled, and some were executed trying to cross the border.
At this point, the country started to develop foreign relations with other communist countries, among others with the People's Republic of China.
During this period, the country experienced an increasing industrialisation and urbanisation, a rapid collectivisation and economic growth which led to a higher standard of living.
The 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 the country becoming agriculturally self-sufficient. In the field of education, illiteracy was eliminated among the country's adult population.
The nation incurred large debts initially with Yugoslavia until , then the Soviet Union until and China from the middle of the s. Today a secular state without any official religion , religious freedoms and practices were severely curtailed during the communist era with all forms of worship being outlawed.
In , the Agrarian Reform Law meant that large swaths of property owned by religious groups were nationalised, mostly the waqfs along with the estates of mosques, tekkes, monasteries and dioceses.
Many believers, along with the ulema and many priests, were arrested and executed. In , 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, Hoxha proclaimed Albania the world's first atheist state in A law banned all fascist, religious, and antisocialist activity and propaganda.
Preaching religion carried a three to ten-year prison sentence. Nonetheless, many Albanians continued to practice their beliefs secretly.
The anti-religious policy of Hoxha attained its most fundamental legal and political expression a decade later: "The state recognizes no religion", states the constitution, "and supports and carries out atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people".
After forty years of communism and isolation as well as the revolutions of , people, most notably students, became politically active and campaigned against the government that led to the transformation of the existing order.
Following the popular support in the first multi-party elections of , the communists retained a stronghold in the parliament until the victory in the general elections of led by the Democratic Party.
Considerable economic and financial resources were devoted to pyramid schemes that were widely supported by the government.
The schemes swept up somewhere between one sixth and one third of the population of the country. The schemes began to collapse in late , leading many of the investors to join initially peaceful protests against the government, requesting their money back.
The protests turned violent in February as government forces responded with fire. In March, the Police and Republican Guard deserted, leaving their armouries open.
These were promptly emptied by militias and criminal gangs. The resulting civil war caused a wave of evacuations of foreign nationals and refugees.
In April , Operation Alba , a UN peacekeeping force led by Italy, entered the country with two goals exclusively to assist with the evacuation of expatriates and to secure the ground for international organisations.
The main international organisation that was involved was the Western European Union 's multinational Albanian Police element, which worked with the government to restructure the judicial system and simultaneously the Albanian Police.
Between and , Edi Rama of the Socialist Party won both the and parliamentary elections. As a Prime Minister , he implemented numerous reforms focused on modernising the economy , as well as democratising the state institutions, including the country's judiciary and law enforcement.
Unemployment has been steadily reduced while having the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the Balkans. On 26 November , a 6. For a small country, much of Albania rises into mountains and hills that run in different directions across the length and breadth of its territory.
The most extensive mountain ranges are the Albanian Alps in the north, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Pindus Mountains in the southeast, the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest and the Skanderbeg Mountains in the centre.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the country is the presence of numerous important lakes. Rivers rise mostly in the east of Albania and discharge into the Adriatic Sea but as well as into the Ionian Sea to a lesser extent.
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.
The climate in the country is extremely variable and diverse owing to the differences in latitude, longitude and altitude. The warmest areas of the country are immediately placed along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coasts.
On the contrary, the coldest areas are positioned within the northern and eastern highlands. The highest temperature of Rainfall naturally varies from season to season and from year to year.
The country receives most of the precipitation in winter months and less in summer months. Snowfall occurs frequently in winter in the highlands of the country, particularly on the mountains in the north and east, including the Albanian Alps and Korab Mountains.
Snow also falls on the coastal areas in the southwest almost every winter such as in the Ceraunian Mountains , where it can lie even beyond March.
A biodiversity hotspot , Albania possesses an exceptionally rich and contrasting biodiversity on account of its geographical location at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and the great diversity in its climatic , geological and hydrological conditions.
The estuaries, wetlands and lakes are extraordinarily important for the greater flamingo , pygmy cormorant and the extremely rare and perhaps the most iconic bird of the country, the dalmatian pelican.
In terms of phytogeography , Albania is part of the Boreal Kingdom and stretches specifically within the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal and Mediterranean Region.
Its territory can be subdivided into four terrestrial ecoregions of the Palearctic realm namely within the Illyrian deciduous forests , Balkan mixed forests , Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Mountains mixed forests.
Approximately 3, different species of plants can be found in Albania which refers principally to a Mediterranean and Eurasian character. The country maintains a vibrant tradition of herbal and medicinal practices.
At the minimum plants growing locally are used in the preparation of herbs and medicines. In the Environmental Performance Index , Albania was ranked 23rd out of countries in the world.
The protected areas of Albania are the system through the Albanian government protects, maintains and displays some of the country's most impressive and treasured environments.
There are 15 national parks , 4 ramsar sites , 1 biosphere reserve and other types of conservation reserves across Albania all of them depicting a huge variety of natural sceneries ranging from imposing mountains to picturesque coasts.
Albania has fifteen officially designated national parks scattered across its territory. Further south sprawls the Butrint National Park on a peninsula that is surrounded by the Lake of Butrint and Channel of Vivari on the eastern half of the Straits of Corfu.
Dajti National Park is equipped with a cable car and trails to some spectacular scenery is a popular retreat in the capital, Tirana.
Albania is a parliamentary constitutional republic and sovereign state whose politics operate under a framework laid out in the constitution wherein the president functions as the head of state and the prime minister as the head of government.
The government is based on the separation and balancing of powers among the legislative , judiciary and executive. The civil law , codified and based on the Napoleonic Code , is divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts.
The judicial power is vested in the supreme court , constitutional court , appeal court and administrative court. It carries out nearly all general police duties including criminal investigation, patrol activity, traffic policing and border control.
The executive power is exercised by the president and prime minister whereby the power of the president is very limited.
The president is the commander-in-chief of the military and the representative of the unity of the Albanian people. The prime minister, appointed by the president and approved by the parliament, is authorized to constitute the cabinet.
The cabinet is composed primarily of the prime minister inclusively its deputies and ministers. In the time since the end of communism and isolationism , Albania has extended its responsibilities and position in continental and international affairs, developing and establishing friendly relations with other countries around the world.
The country's foreign policy priorities are its accession into the European Union EU , the international recognition of Kosovo and the expulsion of Cham Albanians , as well as helping and protecting the rights of the Albanians in Kosovo , Montenegro , North Macedonia , Greece , Serbia , Italy and the Diaspora.
The country has been extensively engaged with the NATO and has maintained its position as a stability factor and a strong ally of the United States and the European Union EU in the region of the Balkans.
Albania maintains strong ties with the United States ever after it supported the Albania's independence and democracy.
In , Albania welcomed George W. Bush who became the first President of the United States ever to visit the country.
Albania and Kosovo are culturally, socially and economically very closely rooted due to the Albanian majority population in Kosovo.
In , the country contributed in supporting allied efforts to end the humanitarian tragedy in Kosovo and secure the peace after the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
Albania has been an active member of the United Nations since They country took on membership for the United Nations Economic and Social Council from to as well as in They are led by a commander-in-chief under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence and by the President as the supreme commander during wartime however, in times of peace its powers are executed through the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister.
The chief purpose of the armed forces of Albania is the defence of the independence, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country, as well as the participation in humanitarian, combat, non-combat and peace support operations.
Albania has committed to increase the participations in multinational operations. Albania reduced the number of active troops from 65, in to 14, in In the s, 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 conditions for NATO integration. Military spending has generally been low. As of military spending was an estimated 1.
The country is divided into three regions, the Northern , Central and Southern Region , which consist of a number of counties qarqe and municipalities bashkia.
The highest level of administrative divisions are the twelve constituent counties. Nonetheless, they are further subdivided into 61 municipalities with each of them being responsible for geographical, economic, social and cultural purposes inside the counties.
The counties were created on 31 July to replace the 36 former districts. The defunct municipalities are known as neighborhoods or villages. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.
The largest county in Albania, by population, is Tirana County with over , people. The transition from a socialist planned economy to a capitalist mixed economy in Albania has been largely successful.
In , it had the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the Balkans with an estimated value of The lek ALL is the country's currency and is pegged at approximately ,51 lek per euro.
The country's most important infrastructure facilities take course through both of the cities, connecting the north to the south as well as the west to the east.
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. 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. One of the earliest farming sites in Europe has been found in the southeast of the country.
Albania produces significant amounts of fruits apples, olives , grapes, oranges, lemons, apricots , peaches , cherries , figs , sour cherries , plums , and strawberries , vegetables potatoes, tomatoes, maize, onions, and wheat , sugar beets , tobacco, meat, honey , dairy products , traditional medicine and aromatic plants.
Further, the country is a worldwide significant producer of salvia , rosemary and yellow gentian. 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 the country are carp , trout , sea bream , mussels and crustaceans.
Albania has one of Europe's longest histories of viticulture. The oldest found seeds in the region are 4, to 6, years old.
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.
Albania has the second largest oil deposits in the Balkan peninsula after Romania , and the largest oil reserves  in Europe.
The 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.
Albania is a significant minerals producer and is ranked among the world's leading chromium producers and exporters. The tertiary sector represents the fastest growing sector of the country's economy.
Previously one of the most isolated and controlled countries in the world, telecommunication industry represents nowadays another major contributor to the sector.
It developed largely through privatisation and subsequent investment by both domestic and foreign investors.
Tourism is recognised as an industry of national importance and has been steadily increasing since the beginnings of the 21st century.
The increase of foreign visitors has been dramatic. Albania had only , visitors in , while in had an estimated 4. In , tourism in summer increased by 25 percent in contrast the previous year according to the country's tourism agency.
The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea in the west of the country.
However, the Albanian Riviera in the southwest has the most scenic and pristine beaches, and is often called the pearl of the Albanian coast. Its coastline has a considerable length of kilometres miles.
Some parts of this seaside are very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective unexplored areas, which are very rare within the Mediterranean.
Transportation in Albania is managed within the functions of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and entities such as the Albanian Road Authority ARRSH , responsible for the construction and maintenance of the highways and motorways in Albania, as well as the Albanian Aviation Authority AAC , with the responsibility of coordinating civil aviation and airports in the country.
The international airport of Tirana is the premier air gateway to the country, and is also the principal hub for Albania's national flag carrier airline, Air Albania.
The airport carried more than 3. The highways and motorways in Albania are properly maintained and often still under construction and renovation.
The Autostrada 1 A1 represents an integral transportation corridor in Albania and the longest motorway of the country.
As of [update] , it is as one of the largest passenger ports on the Adriatic Sea with annual passenger volume of approximately 1.
The principal ports serve a system of ferries connecting Albania with numerous islands and coastal cities in Croatia, Greece and Italy.
The rail network is administered by the national railway company Hekurudha Shqiptare which was extensively promoted by the dictator Enver Hoxha.
There has been a considerable increase in private car ownership and bus usage while rail use decreased since the end of communism. The specific location of this railway, connecting the most populated urban areas in Albania, merely makes it an important economic development project.
In the country, education is secular, free, compulsory and based on three levels of education segmented in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Albanian serves as the primary language of instruction in all academic institutions across the country. Compulsory primary education is divided into two levels, elementary and secondary school, from grade one to five and six to nine, respectively.
Upon successful completion of primary education, all pupils are entitled to attend high schools with specialising in any particular field including arts, sports , languages , sciences or technology.
The country's tertiary education, an optional stage of formal learning following secondary education, has undergone a thorough reformation and restructuring in compliance with the principles of the Bologna Process.
There is a significant number of private and public institutions of higher education well dispersed in the major cities of Albania. The constitution of Albania guarantees equal, free and universal health care for all its citizens.
In , the country had the 55th best healthcare performance in the world, as defined by the World Health Organization.
In , the country had a fruit and vegetable supply of grams per capita per day, the fifth highest supply in Europe. Due to its geographical location and natural resources, Albania has a wide variety of energy resources ranging from gas, oil and coal, to wind , solar and water as well as other renewable sources.
Albania has considerably large deposits of oil. It has the 10th largest oil reserves in Europe and the 58th in the world. Although, Patos-Marinza , also located within the area, is the largest onshore oil field in Europe.
The water resources of Albania are particularly abundant in all the regions of the country and comprise lakes , rivers , springs and groundwater aquifers.
After the fall of communism in , human resources in sciences and technology in Albania have drastically decreased.
Telecommunication represents one of the fastest growing and dynamic sectors in Albania. The overall life expectancy at birth is The explanation for the recent population decrease is the fall of communism in Albania in the late twentieth century.
That period was marked by economic mass emigration from Albania to Greece , Italy and the United States. Four decades of total isolation from the world, combined with its disastrous economic, social and political situation, had caused this exodus.
The external migration was prohibited outright during the communist era, while internal migration was quite limited, hence this was a new phenomenon.
At least, , people left Albania during this period, with about , of them settling in Greece. About The three largest counties by population account for half of the total population.
Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate. Contrary to official statistics that show an over 97 per cent Albanian majority in the country, minority groups such as Greeks , Macedonians , Montenegrins , Roma and Aromanians have frequently disputed the official numbers, asserting a higher percentage of the country's population.
According to the disputed census, ethnic affiliation was as follows: Albanians 2,, The estimates vary between 60, and , ethnic Greeks in Albania.
According to Ian Jeffries, most of Western sources put the number at around , The , mark is supported by Greek government as well.
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.
However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions". 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.
The official language of the country is Albanian which is spoken by the vast majority of the country's population.
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.
According to the population census, 2,, or In recent years, the shrinking number of pupils in schools dedicated to the Greek minority has caused problems for teachers.
Italian and French have had a stable interest, while Greek has lost much of its previous interest. The trends are linked with cultural and economic factors.
Greek is the second most-spoken language in the country, with 0. Young people have shown a growing interest in German language in recent years.
Some of them go to Germany for studying or various experiences. Albania and Germany have agreements for cooperating in helping young people of the two countries know both cultures better.
Young people, attracted by economic importance of Turkish investments and common values between the two nations, gain from cultural and academic collaboration of universities.
Albania is a secular and religiously diverse country with no official religion and thus, freedom of religion , belief and conscience are guaranteed under the country's constitution.
It is widely accepted that they generally value a peaceful coexistence among the believers of different religious communities in the country.
At this point, they were mostly Christianised. Islam arrived for the first time in the late 9th century to the region, when Arabs raided parts of the eastern banks of the Adriatic Sea.
During modern times , the Albanian republican, monarchic and later communist regimes followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official functions and cultural life.
The country has never had an official 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 s and s, under the state policy of obliterating all organised religion from the territories of Albania.
The communist regime persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions and entirely banned religion. The country was then officially declared to be the world's first atheist state.
Religious freedom has returned, however, since the end of communism. Islam survived communist era persecution and reemerged in the modern era as a practised religion in Albania.
Due to that, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities in The first evangelical Protestants appeared in the 19th century and the Evangelical Alliance was founded in Nowadays, it has member congregations from different Protestant denominations.
Following mass emigration to Israel after the fall of communism, there are only Albanian Jews left in the country.
As of the census , there were 1,, Orthodox and Bektashis are mostly found in the south, whereas Catholics mainly live in the north.
Albania shares many symbols associated with its history, culture and belief. These include the colours red and black, animals such as the golden eagle living across the country, costumes such as the fustanella , plis and opinga which are worn to special events and celebrations, plants such as the olive and red poppy growing as well across the country.
The flag of Albania is a red flag with a black double-headed eagle positioned in the centre. The artistic history of Albania has been particularly influenced by a multitude of ancient and medieval people , traditions and religions.
It covers a broad spectrum with mediums and disciplines that include painting, pottery , sculpture, ceramics and architecture all of them exemplifying a great variety in style and shape, in different regions and period.
The rise of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire in the Middle Ages was accompanied by a corresponding growth in Christian and Islamic art in the lands of Albania which are apparent in examples of architecture and mosaics throughout the country.
The architecture of Albania reflects the legacy of various civilisations tracing back to the classical antiquity. Major cities in Albania have evolved from within the castle to include dwellings, religious and commercial structures, with constant redesigning of town squares and evolution of building techniques.
Nowadays, the cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of various architectural styles. In the 20th century, many historical as well as sacred buildings bearing the ancient influence were demolished during the communist era.
Considering the long period of rule of the Byzantine Empire , they introduced castles, citadels, churches and monasteries with spectacular wealth of visible murals and frescos.
The 20th century brought new architectural styles such as the modern Italian style , which is present in Tirana such as the Skanderbeg Square and Ministries.
Moreover, other towns received their present-day Albania-unique appearance through various cultural or economic influences. Socialist classicism arrived during the communist era in Albania after the Second World War.
At this period many socialist-styled complexes, wide roads and factories were constructed, while town squares were redesigned and numerous of historic and important buildings demolished.
Throughout the centuries, Albanian cuisine has been widely influenced by Albanian culture , geography and history , and as such, different parts of the country enjoy specific regional cuisines.
Cooking traditions especially vary between the north and the south, owing to differing topography and climate that essentially contribute to the excellent growth conditions for a wide array of herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Albanians produce and use many varieties of fruits such as lemons , oranges, figs , and most notably, olives , which are perhaps the most important element of Albanian cooking.
Spices and other herbs such as basil , lavender , mint , oregano , rosemary , and thyme are widely used, as are vegetables such as garlic, onions, peppers , potatoes, tomatoes, as well as legumes of all types.
With a coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian in the Mediterranean Sea , fish, crustaceans , and seafood are a popular and an integral part of the Albanian diet.
Otherwise, lamb is the traditional meat for different holidays and religious festivals for both Christians and Muslims , although poultry, beef, and pork are also in plentiful supply.
Petulla, a traditional fried dough, is also a popular speciality, and is served with powdered sugar or feta cheese and different sorts of fruit jams.
Krofne , similar to Berliner doughnuts , are filled with jam, or chocolate and often eaten during cold winter months.
Coffee is an integral part of the Albanian lifestyle. The country has more coffee houses per capita than any other country in the world.
It is cultivated across Southern Albania and noted for its medicinal properties. Black tea with a slice of lemon and sugar, milk, or honey is also popular.
Albanian wine is also common throughout the country, and has been cultivated for thousands of years. Albania has a long and ancient history of wine production, and belongs to the Old World of wine producing countries.
The freedom of press and speech , and the right to free expression is guaranteed in the constitution of Albania.
Radio Televizioni Shqiptar RTSH is the national broadcaster corporation of Albania operating numerous television and radio stations in the country.
Albanian cinema has its roots in the 20th century and developed after the country's declaration of independence. It went on to win the international prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
In , the Tirana International Film Festival was established, the largest film festival in the country.
Albanian folk music is a prominent part of the national identity, and continues to play a major part in overall Albanian music.
Folk music can be divided into two stylistic groups, mainly the northern Gheg varieties, and southern Lab and Tosk varieties.
Northern and southern traditions are contrasted by a rugged tone from the north, and the more relaxed southern form of music. Many songs concern events from Albanian history and culture , including traditional themes of honour, hospitality, treachery, and revenge.
Several gramophone compilations were recorded at the time by the three artists, which eventually led to the recognition of Albanian iso-polyphony as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Every cultural and geographical region of Albania has its own specific variety of costume that vary in style, material, color, shape, detail, and form.
Some elderly people continue to wear traditional clothing in their daily lives. Clothing was traditionally made mainly from local materials such as leather, wool, linen, hemp fibre, and silk; Albanian textiles are still embroidered in elaborate ancient patterns.
The Albanian language comprises an independent branch and is a language isolate within the Indo-European family of languages; it is not connected to any other known living language in Europe.
Its origin is conclusively unknown, but it is believed to have descended from an ancient Paleo-Balkan language. 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 language the Catholic liturgy , trying to do for the Albanian language, what Martin Luther did for the German language.
Meshari The Missal written by Gjon Buzuku was published in 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. Albanian writings from these centuries must not have been religious texts only, but historical chronicles too.
The History of Skanderbeg is still the foundation of Skanderbeg studies and is considered an Albanian cultural treasure, vital to the formation of Albanian national self-consciousness.
The most famous Albanian writer in the 20th and 21st century is probably Ismail Kadare. He has been mentioned as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature several times.
Albania participated at the Olympic Games in for the first time. The country made their Winter Olympic Games debut in Albania missed the next four games, two of them due to the and boycotts, but returned for the 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 Committee of Albania since The nation has participated at the Mediterranean Games since the games of in Syria.
The Albanian athletes have won a total of 43 8 gold, 17 silver and 18 bronze medals from to Popular sports in Albania include Football , weightlifting, basketball , volleyball, tennis, swimming, rugby union and gymnastics.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Albania. 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 UEFA Euro match on 19 June 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 a gold in a silver and in a bronze medal.
Historically, the Albanian people have established several communities in many regions throughout Southern Europe.
The Albanian diaspora has been formed since the late Middle Ages , when they emigrated to places such as Italy, especially in Sicily and Calabria , and Greece to escape either various socio-political difficulties or the Ottoman conquest of Albania.
Albanian minorities are present in the neighbouring territories such as the west of North Macedonia , the east of Montenegro , Kosovo in its entirety and southern Serbia.
In Kosovo , Albanians make up the largest ethnic group in the country. Altogether, the number of ethnic Albanian living abroad its territory is estimated to be higher than the total population inside the territory of Albania.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Albania disambiguation. Coat of arms. Greek Aromanian Macedonian others.
Main article: Etymology of Albania. Main article: History of Albania. See also: Timeline of Albanian history. Main article: Prehistory of Albania.
Main article: Antiquity in Albania. Main article: Albania in the Middle Ages. Main article: Albania under the Ottoman Empire.
See also: Albanian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Main article: Albanian Renaissance. See also: League of Prizren. Main article: Independent Albania.
See also: Albanian Declaration of Independence. Main article: First Republic of Albania. Main article: Communism in Albania.
Further information: Bunkers in Albania. Main article: Fall of communism in Albania. Further information: Pyramid schemes and civil war of Main article: Geography of Albania.
Main article: Climate of Albania. Main article: Biodiversity of Albania. See also: Ecoregions in Albania. Main article: Protected areas of Albania.
See also: National parks of Albania. Main article: Politics of Albania. See also: Government of Albania. Main article: Foreign relations of Albania.
Main article: Armed Forces of Albania. Main article: Counties of Albania. See also: Municipalities of Albania. Main article: Economy of Albania.
Main article: Agriculture in Albania. See also: Category:Mines in Albania. See also: Banking , Telecommunications , and Tourism in Albania.
Main article: Transport in Albania. Main article: Education in Albania. Main article: Health in Albania. Main article: Renewable energy in Albania.
See also: Power stations and Oil fields in Albania. Main articles: Technology and Telecommunications in Albania.
Main article: Demography of Albania. See also: Albanian people and Origin of the Albanians. Main article: Minorities of Albania. Distribution of ethnic groups within Albania, as of the 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.
Main article: Languages of Albania. See also: Albanian language. 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.
Main article: Religion in Albania. This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.
July Christianity No Denomination 5. Irreligion 2. Unclear Main article: Culture of Albania.
Main article: National symbols of Albania. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main articles: Albanian art and architecture. Main article: Albanian cuisine.
Main article: Media in Albania. See also: Cinema of Albania. Main article: Music of Albania. Main article: Traditional Albanian clothing. October Learn how and when to remove this template message.
Main article: Albanian literature. Main articles: Albanian diaspora and Albanian communities. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory.
The two governments began to normalise relations in , as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 98 out of the United Nations member states.
In total, UN member states recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition. Archived from the original PDF on 30 July Retrieved 21 September Archived from the original PDF on 26 August International Monetary Fund.
World Bank. Retrieved 28 March Archived from the original on 7 September Fialuur i voghel scc Jak Junkut t' Scocniis N'Sckoder t' Scc Retrieved 23 July — via Internet Archive.
The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 21 June Continuum International Publishing Group. The World Bank. Archived from the original on 21 September Retrieved 13 September Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News.
Archived from the original on 30 April Retrieved 29 April The wars of the Balkan Peninsula. The Albanian lexicon of Dion Von Kirkman.
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