Albania

Geography

The Republic of Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula and it shares borders with Montenegro and Kosovo to the north and northeast, with FYR of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south . In the western part the Albanian shores are soaked by Adriatic and Ionian seas. The country has an area of 28.748 km. sq. with a population of nearly 3,3 million inhabitants. The capital TIRANA is situated in the central part of the country on the foot of Dajti mountain from one side and only 39 km far from the Adriatic coast.

It is the country of natural beauty, which varies from the sandy and rocky coast to the fertile plains and the high peaks. Full with big and small lakes, natural monuments, eco – systems , remote and untouched areas , Albania is an unforgettable experience for every one.

The landscape of Albania is mainly to be divided into two parts: the low coast country and the mountainous inland country. The average altitude lies on 708 meters above the sea level and approximately 70% of the Albanian landscape are mountainous. The coast landscape has a number of coast plains, which are separated to maximum 60 km country-inward; where they reach steep, rocky coasts until the sea. The coast plains are low which have been moreover drained for a large part and have been irrigated; the showers in the winter and the high water of the rivers during spring frequently cause floods. More towards the east an undulating area lies which does not suffer from floods.

The east of Albania is savagely and with difficult access. In the north the Alban Alps lie. The highest mount top is the Korab, 2784 meters high, and these are themselves in the Korabit mountain on the three country point with Macedonia and the Serbian province Kosovo. Other than that the mount country exists from elongated backs, strongly small heights and small beckons .

The largest river, the Drin, starts in the Ohrid lake (this part is called the black Drin) and in the mountains of Kosovo (white Drin). The lakes lie all in border areas: in the north the Shkodërlake (460-510 km2; this is the largest lake of the Balkan peninsula); in the south west Dessaretische the group on the border with Macedonia and Greece: More of Ohrid (270, km2), prespalake (288, km2) and the small Malik lake, which all lie partly outside Albania himself.

In the west the country borders to Adriatic and the Ionian sea; the length of the total coast line amounts to 362 km. The distance to the coast of Italy is at the street of Otranto but 80 km. Entirely in the south the Greek island Corfu lies for the coast.

History

The country of ancient civilizations inhabited since Palaeolithic period and with significant dates of Illyrian civilization, the ancestors of present Albanians, followed by Greek, Roman and Turkish occupations, the territory of the country is full of ruins and other treasures of those old civilizations. Albania has a long history of predominance and oppression. From the beginning of the 16th century until 1912 the Ottoman dominated Albania. Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939.

Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997; however, each of Albania’s post-communist elections have been marred by claims of electoral fraud. The 2009 general elections resulted in a coalition government, the first such in the country’s history. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and is a potential candidate for EU accession. Although Albania’s economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.

Population

More Albanians  live outside of Albania than within. If you are traveling through the Balkans, you will see Albanian flags log before you arrive in Albania. Estimates of Albanians residing abroad are anywhere from 7-10 million, mostly in other Balkan countries (Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece), but there are also a significant amount in Turkey, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States. The number of Albanians actually living inside Albania is about 3 million.

More information:

  • Lonely Planet – Albania – Comprehensive facts and advice for traveling along with background material on the culture and history of the country.
  • Travel.State.Gov – Albania – Offers travel information including Quick Facts, embassies and consulates, entry and exit requirements, safety and security, local laws, health, transportation and Fact Sheet. From the U.S. Department of State.
  • World Travel Guide – Albania – Tourist and business travel information with facts on climate, visa, health, passport, currency and customs requirements.
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