Where is Albania located?

What countries border Albania?

Albania Weather

What is the current weather in Albania?


Albania Facts and Culture

What is Albania famous for?

  • Food and Recipes: An Albanian breakfast often consists of bread, milk, eggs, jam or cheese. Lunch is usually the main meal, (1-2 pm).... More
  • Family: Men and women have equal social rights, and both parents usually work. Adult children often live with their parents, and... More
  • Fashion: Young people wear Western style clothing. Traditional, hand-made clothing is still worn in villages. Cotton and wool is preferred.... More
  • Recreation: Soccer is the most popular sport in Albania. Swimming in the Adriatic Sea on hot summer days is a favorite... More
  • Cultural Attributes: Northern Albanians are known to be resourceful. They honor a tradition called the "besa", (truce). For Albanians, the... More
  • Dating: Young people are able to select their own spouse. In some places families are involved in the spouse selection.... More
  • Diet: The alcoholic drink "raki" is often served before the main meal, and wine is served during or after a... More

Albania Facts

What is the capital of Albania?

Capital Tirana (Tirane)
Government Type parliamentary republic
Currency leke (ALL)
Total Area 11,100 Square Miles
28,748 Square Kilometers
Location Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo to the north
Language Albanian (official - Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
GDP - real growth rate 3.8%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $12,500.00 (USD)

Albania Demographics

What is the population of Albania?

Ethnic Groups Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, and Macedonian or Bulgarian)
Languages Albania adopted a Latin script in 1908. Two dialects, Tosk and Gheg are spoken in Albania, but the official language is based on the Tosk dialect. The Albanian language Shqip is descended from Illyrian.
Nationality Adjective Albanian
Nationality Noun Albanian(s)
Population 3,074,579
Population Growth Rate 0.29%
Population in Major Urban Areas TIRANA (capital) 419,000
Predominant Language Albanian (official - Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
Urban Population 53.4%

Albania Government

What type of government does Albania have?

  • Executive Branch: chief of state: President of the Republic Ilir META (since 24 July 2017) head of government: Prime Minister Edi RAMA (since... More
  • Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal More
  • Citizenship: citizenship by birth: no citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Albania dual citizenship recognized: yes residency... More
  • National Holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1912) also known as Flag Day More
  • Constitution: history: several previous; latest approved by the Assembly 21 October 1998, adopted by referendum 22 November 1998, promulgated 28 November... More
  • Independence: 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire) More

Albania Geography

What environmental issues does Albania have?

  • Overview: Albania is located in the southwestern corner of the Balkan Peninsula, occupying 28,748 square kilometers. It is roughly the size... More
  • Climate: The plain of Albania, where the capital city Tirana is located, has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and... More
  • Border Countries: Greece 282 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 151 km, Serbia and Montenegro 287 km More
  • Environment - Current Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents More
  • Environment - International Agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone... More
  • Terrain: mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast More

Albania Economy

How big is the Albania economy?

Albania News & Current Events

What current events are happening in Albania?
Source: Google News

Interesting Albania Facts

What unique things can you discover about Albania?

  • A Franciscan seminary in 1861 was the first school to use the Albanian language in teaching. On March 7, 1887, the first elementary school opened for Albanians using the Albanian language. This date is still commemorated by a shorter school day and a picnic for teachers and children.
  • A rare fish called koran is found in only two places in the world. One is Russia, the other is Lake Ohrid near Shkodra. It is similar to trout or carp, with a delicate, delicious flavor
  • A spring near Gjirokaster provides excellent mineral water for drinking. The water is named Glina after the nearest town.
  • A traditional sport for women in Albania is mountain climbing races. For men, tug of war and arm wrestling competitions are ways to show off their strength.
  • About 10,000 Albanians make their livelihood hunting frogs. Albania exports 400 tons of live and frozen frogs every year, mostly to France and Italy, where frog legs are considered a delicacy.
  • About 20% of the Albanian work force lives and works in Greece or Italy. They send money home to support their relatives.
  • Albanians shake their head for yes and nod for no.
  • Between 1967 and 1990 Albania's mosques and churches were converted for other uses. Some were used as gymnasiums. Others became movie theaters or warehouses.
  • Butrint, near the town of Sarand's is an ancient Roman city dating from the 2nd century B.C. It is recognized as a world archaeological treasure. UNESCO contributes funds for its preservation.
  • Hot thermal springs can be found all over the country of Albania. People enjoy the warm waters, and use the springs to treat arthritis.
  • In 1809, the English poet Lord Byron visited Albania. He described the Albanian landscape and people in his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
  • In 1851, writer Edward Lear, the inventor of the limerick, traveled throughout the country and wrote a book called Journal of a Landscape Painter in Albania.
  • In the mountains of Albania, announcements of a death, birth or marriage are passed from one house to another by a gunshot or a shout that echoes through the mountains.
  • Like many Mediterranean countries, businesses open early in the morning, usually 7 AM, and close for a siesta at lunchtime. They reopen at 4 PM and stay open until 7 PM.
  • Mother Teresa, who worked for many years among the poor in India and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, was born of Albanian parents. She visited Albania when the religious institutions were reopened in 1990.
  • Several Albanian athletes have competed in the Olympic Games and other international events as representatives of Greece. One of these was Pyrros Dimas, a weightlifter, who won a gold medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
  • The Albanian language was written down beginning in the early 1300s. The first Albanian book, Meshari, by Gjon Buzuku, was published in 1555. The first Albanian dictionary was published in 1635 and contained 5,000 words.
  • The Albanian word for the country is Shqiperia, meaning The Land of the Eagles.
  • The word Albania comes from Albanoi, which was the name of an Illyrian tribe in the 2nd century B.C.
  • Until the Second World War, some Albanians still wore traditional clothing on a daily basis.

Watch video on Albania

What can you learn about Albania in this video?

Harnessing Albania's Cultural Heritage YouTube, United Nations

Albania Travel Information

What makes Albania a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a market-oriented economic system. Albania's per capita income is among the lowest in Europe, but economic conditions in the country are improving steadily. Albania's economic integration into broader European markets is underway slowly and the Albanian economy continues to grow despite uncertainty in the region. Tourist facilities are not highly developed in much of the country, and some goods and services taken for granted in Western European countries are not widely available. Hotel accommodations are plentiful in Tirana and in other major cities, but limited in smaller towns. Albanian is the official language; English is limited except for Tirana’s main tourist areas.

Crime

High unemployment and other economic factors encourage criminal activity. Use caution and protect your valuables in Tirana, just as you would in any major U.S. city. Violent crime aimed at U.S. citizens is rare and criminals do not appear to target U.S. citizens or other foreigners, but rather seek targets of opportunity, selecting those who appear to have anything of value.Crime statistics indicate a steady increase in violent crime has occurred throughout Albania since 2009. Organized crime is present in Albania; organized criminal activity occasionally results in violent confrontations between members of rival organizations.

Pick-pocketing, theft, and other petty street crimes are widespread, particularly in areas where tourists and foreigners congregate. Pickpockets use various diversionary tactics to distract victims, and panhandlers – particularly children – may become aggressive. U.S. citizens have reported the theft of their passports and portable electronic devices by pick-pockets. Victims of pick-pocketing should report the crime to the police and cancel their credit cards as soon as possible. Exercise caution in bars and clubs in Tirana, where violent incidents, some involving the use of firearms, have occurred in the past.

Vehicle theft and theft from vehicles are not uncommon in Albania. Carjacking can also occur. You should avoid leaving valuables, including cell phones and electronic items, in plain view in unattended vehicles. You should lock the windows and doors of your residence securely when it is not occupied. In the event you are a victim of a carjacking, you should surrender your vehicle without resistance.

Travelers should take standard safety precautions when using Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). Try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Be cautious when using publicly available Internet terminals, such as in Internet cafes, as sensitive personal information, account passwords, etc., may be subject to compromise. Theft of personal items from hotel rooms can also occur.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods. Doing so is illegal in both the United States and in Albania.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Albania, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. For instance, it isillegal to take pictures of certain physical structures in Albania. Be alert for signage and guidance by security personnel.

There are some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. If you break local laws in Albania your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.

In Albania, you may be taken in for questioning if you are not carrying your passport. We encourage U.S. citizens to carry a copy of their U.S. passport with them at all times to show proof of identity and U.S. citizenship if questioned by local officials.

Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. Engaging in sexual conduct with children is also a crime in Albania, as is the production and distribution of child pornography.

Under Albanian law, police can detain any individual for up to 10 hours without filing formal charges. Although this is not a common occurrence reported by U.S. citizens, the possibility remains. Persons violating Albanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Albania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Languages

Albania adopted a Latin script in 1908. Two dialects, Tosk and Gheg are spoken in Albania, but the official language is based on the Tosk dialect. The Albanian language Shqip is descended from Illyrian.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care at private hospitals and clinics in Tirana has improved in recent years, but still remains below western standards. Medical facilities outside Tirana have very limited capabilities. Emergency and major medical care requiring surgery and hospital care outside Tirana is often inadequate because of a lack of medical specialists, diagnostic aids, medical supplies, and prescription drugs. There are very few ambulances in Albania; therefore, injured or seriously ill U.S. citizens may be required to take taxis or other immediately available vehicles to the nearest major hospital rather than waiting for ambulances to arrive. If you have been previously diagnosed with (a) medical condition(s), you may wish to consult your personal health care provider before travel. As some prescription drugs may not be available locally, you may also wish to bring extra supplies of required medications.

Electricity shortages result in sporadic blackouts throughout the country, which can affect food storage capabilities of restaurants and shops. While some restaurants and food stores have generators to store food properly, you should take care that food is cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Tap water is not considered potable or safe to drink. You should purchase bottled water or drinks while in country. Air pollution is also a problem throughout Albania, particularly in Tirana. Travelers should consult their doctor prior to travel and consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on them.

Safety and Security

Public demonstrations occur throughout Albania, often with little or no notice, and can cause serious traffic disruptions. Although most demonstrations are peaceful, a demonstration in January 2011 turned violent and resulted in four deaths and injuries to many others, including to Albania State Police Officers. Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place. The use of roadblocks and/or the blocking of public facilities has occurred. U.S. citizens should stay up to date with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Albania can be found on the U.S. Embassy Tirana website.

Organized criminal activity occurs in many regions of Albania. Corruption is also a concern in many areas. Police and news outlets often reportsmall-scale, sporadic incidents of violence. Although there is no direct prohibition for travel of U.S. Government employees within Albania, we encourage all travelers to avoid the southern town of Lazarat, where Albanian State Police and armed marijuana growers have recently engaged in violent altercations. Police ability to protect and assist travelers in and near Lazarat is limited.

Power outages occur frequently throughout Albania. Regular outages may also disrupt other public utilities, including water service, and interfere with traffic lights and the provision of normal business and public services.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Albania you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.

The most dangerous aspect of living and working in Albania is the unsafe driving regularly encountered on roads nationwide, and the generally poor condition of the roads. Road conditions are especially poor in rural areas in winter months and at other times of inclement weather. Sporadic electricity shortages sometimes result in blackouts affecting road lighting and traffic signals. Travel at night and outside the main urban areas is particularly dangerous as road hazards are unpredictable and can be more difficult to see. Disregard for traffic laws is widespread. Traffic accidents are frequent occurrences and often result in serious injury or death. If you choose to drive in Albania, please exercise strong caution and drive as defensively as possible.

Buses travel between most major cities almost exclusively during the day, but they do not always run according to schedule and can be uncomfortable relative to buses in the United States. No public bus routes exist between cities; travelers seeking intra-city transit may use privately owned vans, which function as an unofficial system of bus routes and operate almost entirely without schedules or set fares. These privately owned vehicles may not have permission to operate as a bus service and may not adhere to accepted safety and maintenance standards or driver training; you should consider the condition of the van before you choose to travel in one. In January 2013, vans carrying passengers were robbed at gunpoint near the city of Tepelene on the route from Saranda to Tirana. Personal vehicles have been robbed in the same fashion. There are no commercial domestic flights and the rail conditions are poor, connections limited, and service unreliable.

You can only use an International driver’s license for one year in Albania. If you wish to drive in Albania for a period of time in excess of one year, you must apply for an Albanian driver’s license.

It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol and, if caught, the police may seize your driver’s license and vehicle and impose additional penalties such as a fine or up to six months in prison.

Using a cell phone while driving is only permitted when the driver utilizes a Bluetooth or other hands-free device and failure to use such a device can result in a fine.

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