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Albania

The Republic of Albania is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro in the north, Serbia in the north-east, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the east, and Greece in the south, has a coast on the Adriatic Sea in the west, and a coast on the Ionian Sea in the southwest.

Republika e Shqiperise
(In Detail)
National motto: None
Official languageAlbanian
CapitalTirana
PresidentAlfred Moisiu
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 139th
28,748 km2
4.7%
Population
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 126th
3,510,484
122/km2
Independence
 - Date
From the Ottoman Empire
November 28, 1912
CurrencyLek
Time zoneUTC +2
National anthemHymni i Flamurit
Internet TLD.AL
Calling Code355

Table of contents

History Main article: History of Albania

Albania has been the site of several Greek colonies, and was later part of the Roman province of Illyricum. After being conquered by a number of nations, it became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1478.

After the First Balkan War, Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but the country remained in unrest. Occupied by Italy during World War II, the (mainly communist) resistance led by Enver Hoxha seized control when the Italians left.

Until 1990, five years after the death of Hoxha, Albania was an isolationist communist state. A multi-party democracy is emerging, but the country suffers from economic problems, organised crime, and a large number of Albanian refugees from Kosovo.

Politics Main article: Politics of Albania

Head of state is the president, which is elected by the Kuvendi Popullor, or People's Assembly. The main part of the Assembly's 155 members are elected by the Albanians in elections every 5 years. The president is assisted by a council of ministers, which is appointed by the president.

Districts Main article: Districts of Albania[?]

Albania is divided into 36 districts, or rrethe. The capital city, Tirana, has a special status. The districts are:

Geography Main article: Geography of Albania

Albania consists of mostly hilly and mountainous terrain, the highest mountain reaching up to 2,753 m. The country mostly has a land climate, with cold winters and hot summers.

Besides capital city Tirana, with 520,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durres[?], Elbasan[?], Shkoder[?], Vlore[?] and Korce.

Economy Main article: Economy of Albania

Albania is Europe's poorest country, with half of the economically-active population still engaged in agriculture and a fifth said to be working abroad. The country has to deal with a high unemployment rate, corruption up to high government levels and organised crime.

Albania is aided financially from abroad, notably by Greece and Italy.

The country exports nearly nothing and imports a lot from Greece and Italy. The money for imports comes from the financial aid and from the money that refugees working abroad bring to Albania. This is a good status-quo business for both Greece and Italy. Also unofficially Greece government makes money by selling visas unofficially to Albanian citizens, who are not allowed to travel freely abroad. For this reason both countries have several visa consulates in major cities of Albania, and oppose indirectly every possibility of free movement from Albanian citizens in EU.

Demographics Main article: Demographics of Albania

Most of the population (95%) is Albanian, but there is a sizeable Greek minority. Many ethnic Albanians also live in bordering Kosovo. The language is Albanian, although some Greek is also spoken.

Since the occupation by the Ottomans, the majority of the Albanians has been muslim, even though religion was prohibited during the communist era. The Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church are the other main religions in Albania.

Culture Main article: Culture of Albania

Holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
January 1-January 2New Year's DayViti i Ri 
February 11 (2003)Small Bayram[?]Bajrami i Vogėl date varies, al-Eid saghir in Islamic countries
March 7Teacher's Day[?]Dita e Mėsuesvenon official
March 8Mother's DayDita e Nėnėsnon official
March 22Nevruz Day[?]Nevruz 
April 20Catholic EasterPashkėt Katolike 
April 27Orthodox EasterPashkėt Ortodokse 
May 1May DayNjė Maji 
November 25 (2003)Big Bayram[?]Bajrami Madhdate varies, Eid-ul-Adhain Islamic countries
November 28Independence DayDita e Pavarėsisė 
November 29Liberation Day[?]Dita e Clirimit 
December 25Christmas DayKrishtlindje 

Miscellaneous topics

Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.


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