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Living in Europe | Access to the culture of the host country/language courses | Albania

About Albania

Albania (/ælˈbeɪniə, ɔːl-/ (About this sound listen) a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə; Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria; Gheg Albanian: Shqipni/Shqipnia or Shqypni/Shqypnia),[6] officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, pronounced [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːsə]), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It spans 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles) and had a total population of 3 million people as of 2016. Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic with the capital in Tirana, the country's most populous city and main economic and commercial centre, followed by Durrës. The country's other major cities include Vlorë, Sarandë, Shkodër, Berat, Korçë, Gjirokastër and Fier.

Albania is in the southwestern portion of the Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo[b] to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. Much of the country is mountainous, including the Albanian Alps in the north, the Korab Mountains in the east, theCeraunian Mountains in the south and the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center. Its coast touches the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the southwest, forming the Albanian Riviera. Albania is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy across the Strait of Otranto, which connects the Adriatic to the Ionian.

During classical antiquity, Albania was inhabited by various Illyrian, Thracian, and Greek tribes, as well as several Greek colonies established in the Illyrian coast. In the third century BC, the region was annexed by the Roman Empire and became part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia, Macedonia, and Moesia Superior. The unified Principality of Arbër emerged in 1190, established by archon Progon in the Krujë, within the Byzantine Empire. In the late thirteenth century, Charles of Anjou conquered the Albanian territories from the Byzantines and established the medieval Kingdom of Albania, extending from Durrës along the coast to Butrint in the south. In the mid-fifteenth century, it was conquered by the Ottomans. The modern nation state of Albania emerged in 1912 following the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars.  The modern Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943.[8] After the defeat of Nazi Germany, a Communist state titled the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was founded under the leadership of EnverHoxha and the Party of Labour. The country experienced widespread social and political transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much of the international community. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the fourth Republic of Albania was established.

Albania is a democratic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy. The service sector dominates the country's economy, followed by the industrial and agriculture sector. Following the collapse of communism in 1990, Albania went through a process of transition from a centralized economy to a market-based economy. Albania has a high Human Development Index and is ranked 13th in the Happy Planet Index, 38th in the Global Gender Index, 52nd in the Social Progress Index and 37th for Life Expectancy.  It provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. Albania is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, CoE, OSCE and OIC. It is also an official candidate for membership in the European Union.  Furthermore, Albania is one of the founding members of the Energy Community, including the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and Union for the Mediterranean.

Basic information 

Official Name:

Republic of Albania

Date of independence:

28 November 1912

The current Constitution was adopted on 21 October 1998

Population:

2,800,138 (2011 Census, State Institute of Statistics)

95% Albanian, 3% Greek, 2% Other

Capital city:

Tirana

Other important cities:

Durres, Vlora, Elbasan, Shkoder

Area:

28,748 sq km

Bordering States:

Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro.

Main religions:

Islam (Sunni, Bektashi), Christian (Catholics and Orthodox)

Languages:

Albanian

 

 

Short chronology of EU accession:

 

31 January 2003

Launch of negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Albania

12 June 2006

Signing of both the SAA and the Interim Agreement

12 December 2006

The Interim Agreement enters into force

1 January 2007

Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) is established for the period 2007-2013. An envelope of EUR 212,9 million is allocated to Albania for 2007-2009

1 January 2008

Visa facilitation agreement enters into force

2 June 2008

Albania is granted a Roadmap for visa liberalisation

1 April 2009

Entry into force of the SAA

28 April 2009

Albania submits its application for EU membership

16 December 2009

Albania receives the European Commission's Questionnaire

15 April 2010

Albania submits the answers to the Commission's Questionnaire

27 May 2010

The Commission proposes visa liberalisation for Albania (and Bosnia and Herzegovina)

8 November 2010

EU Council of Ministers approves visa liberalisation

9 November 2010

Opinion on Albania's application for EU membership: the Commission assesses that Albania is not yet ready to start accession negotiations and refrains from proposing candidate status

15 December 2010

Visa liberalisation for Albania enters into force

10 October 2012

The Commission recommends grating of candidate status, subject to completion of some key measures

27 June 2014

Albania is granted candidate status

 

Geography & Climate

Albania occupies the southwestern portion of the Balkan Peninsula. The country is located in Southeastern and Southern Europe, with Montenegro bordering to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south. The Mediterranean Sea make up the entire west border of Albania. The country lies mostly between latitudes 42° and 39° N, and longitudes 21° and 19° E. Its territory covers 28,748 square kilometers (11,100 square miles). By territory, Albania is the 14th largest country in the Mediterranean and the 145th largest country in the world. It's coastline length is 476 km (296 mi) and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, both within the Mediterranean Sea.[101]:240

Albania's northernmost point is Vërmosh at 42° 35' 34" northern latitude; the southernmost is Konispol at 39° 40' 0" northern latitude; the westernmost point is Sazan Island at 19° 16' 50" eastern longitude; and the easternmost point is Vërnik at 21° 1' 26" eastern longitude.[102] The highest natural point is Mount Korab, standing at 2,764 meters (9,068.24 ft) above the Adriatic. The lowest natural point is the Adriatic Sea, at 0 meters (0.00 ft). The distance from east to west is 148 kilometers (92 mi), from north to south 340 kilometers (211 mi). Gjipe Canyon is the meetingpoint of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.

Despite its small size, Albania is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a wide variety of natural features including valleys, plains, canyons and caves. Topographically, the mountains run the length of the country from north to south; the Albanian Alps in the north, Sharr Mountains in the northeast, Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, Korab Mountains in the east, Pindus Mountains in the southeast and the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest along the Albanian Riviera.

The hydrographic network of Albania includes several of the largest and most ancient bodies of fresh water in Southern Europe. Lake Shkodër is the largest lake, situated in the northwest with a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2 (200 sq mi), out of which one third belongs to Albania and the rest to Montenegro.[103] It is the largest lake in Southern Europe. Lake Ohrid in the southeast is shared with Macedonia and is one of the most ancient lakes in the world.[104][105] Lake Prespa at the border triangle with Macedonia and Greece is one of the highest tectonic lakes within the Balkan Peninsula at 853 meters (2,799 ft) above the Adriatic.

 

Climate of Albania

Albania has a variety of climate systems. With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas in the Mediterranean sea, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, however it has a high number of climatic regions for such a small area. The coastal lowlands have typically mediterranean climate while the highlands have a continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.

Religion

Albania is a secular state without an official religion, with the freedom of religion being a constitutional right.The 2011 census, for the first time since 1930, included an optional open-ended question on religion; the census recorded a majority of Muslims (58.79%), which include Sunni (56.70%) and Bektashi Muslims (2.09%). Christians, making up 16.92% of the population,include Roman,Catholics (10.03%), Orthodox (6.75%)and Evangelicals(0.14%).Atheists accounted for 2.5% of the population and 5.49% were non-affiliated believers, while 13.79% preferred not to answer.

National holidays & religions

Several of the National Holidays are religious ones. Albania is well-known for its religious tolerance and respect. A public holiday in Albania is a holiday usually recognized by Albanian law makers and is usually a non working day throughout the year. The public holidays in Albania are usually days to commemorate an event, such as the anniversary of a historic celebration (eg: Independence day), or could be a faith based festivity such as Easter.

2018 Official Holidays Schedule

 

In Albania the following official public holidays:

  • 1 January New Year's Day
  • 2 January New Year's Day
  • 14 March Summer Day
  • 22 March Nevruz Day
  • 1 April* Catholic Easter
  • 8 April* Orthodox Easter
  • 1 May International Worker’s Day
  • 15 June** Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) ¹
  • 21 August** Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
  • 19 October Mother Teresa Beatification Day
  • 28 November Flag and Independence Day
  • 29 November Liberation Day
  • 8 December* National Youth Day
  • 25 December Christmas Day

*Holidays falling on Saturday or Sunday are observed on Monday.

**Note: The Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha holidays may be subject to change according to the lunar calendar.

Media

Media and News in English

As well as TV networks run by public RTSH, there are two tional privately-owned TVs, Top Channel and TV Klan, and of local stations. Two companies offer digital terrestrial satellite packages.

As well as national radios run by RTSH there are two national commercial net-works and more than 60 local and regional stations. The BBC broadcasts on 103.9 FM in Tirana.

Despite shrinking readership figures, the number of newspapers is still high, with some 25 dailies.

The media are generally free. Broadcasters are regulated by an independent body and the press self-regulates. The biggest threat to freedom is from self-censorship, sometimes arising from media owners’ business and political interests.

Some 1.8 million Albanians were online by 2014 (InternetLiveStats.com). The state does not restrict web access.

Facebook, Google, YouTube and Yahoo are the most popular websites, followed by local news portals and the websites of major media outlets.

The press

Several Albanian papers are available online

 

Shekulli – Private daily

GazetaShqiptare - Private daily

Panorama - Private daily

RilindjaDemokratike - Democratic Party daily

KohaDitore - Private daily

ZeriiPopullit - Socialist Party daily

KohaJone - Private daily

Albanian Daily News - English-language news site​

Tirana Times - English-language weekly

 

Television

Albanian Radio and TV (RTSH) - Public, operates two networks

Top Channel - National, private

TV Klan - National, private

Vizion Plus - Private

Albanian Screen - Private