Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
Albania is a member of the UN, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organization, and is one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean. It is also an official candidate for membership in the European Union.
The modern-day territory of Albania was at various points in history part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The modern Republic became independent after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars.Albania declared independence in 1912 (to be recognised in 1913), becoming a Principality, Republic, and Kingdom until being invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, which in turn became a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. In 1944, a socialist People's Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour. In 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was established.
Albania is a parliamentary democracy. As of 2011, the capital, Tirana, was home to 421,286 of the country's 2,831,741 people within the city limits, 763,634 in the metropolitan area. Tirana is also the financial capital of the country. Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure.
Albania has a high HDIand provides a universal health care system and free primary and secondary education. Albania is an upper-middle income economy (WB, IMF) with the service sector dominating the country's economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture.
and largest city
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic|
|-||Prime Minister||Edi Rama|
|-||Speaker of the parliament||Ilir Meta|
|-||Principality of Arbër||1190|
|-||League of Lezhë||2 March 1444|
|-||Independent Albania||28 November 1912|
|-||Principality of Albania||29 July 1913|
|-||Current constitution||28 November 1998|
11,100 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2014 estimate|
|-||Per capita||$9,903– $11,400|
|GDP (nominal)||2014 estimate|
|Gini (2008)||26.7 low|
high · 70th
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||AL|
| || || |
| || || |
Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles). It lies between latitudes 39° and 43° N, and mostly between longitudes 19° and 21° E (a small area lies east of 21°). Albania's coastline length is 476 km (296 mi) and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea.
The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the district of Dibër, reaching up to 2,764 metres (9,068 ft). The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers.
Inland conditions vary depending on elevation, but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions with snow may linger into spring. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 420,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are used.
The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country's northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to Albania and rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country's southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including "living fossils" and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO. There is also Butrinti Lake which is a small tectonic lake. It is located in the national park of Butrint.
A satellite image of Albania
With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, 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, Albania has a high number of climatic regions relative to its landmass. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean weather; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.
The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5 °C (9 °F) during the summer and somewhat less during the winter.
Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.
Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.
When the continental air mass is weak, Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is a dominant continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the season's lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits, groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter temperatures.
Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.
Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual averages are probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550 millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas. The western Albanian Alps (valley of Boga) are among the wettest areas in Europe, receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain annually.The seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area.
The higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local variations, but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area.
In 2009, an expedition from University of Colorado discovered four small glaciers in the 'Cursed' mountains in North Albania. The glaciers are at the relatively low level of 2,000 meters – almost unique for such a southerly latitude.
An important percentage of Albania's national income comes from tourism. Tourism - as of 2013 - funds 10% of the gross domestical product, and this number is expected to increase dramatically within the next decade. Albania welcomed around 4,2 million visitors in 2012, mostly from neighbouring countries and the European Union. In 2011, Albania was listed as the top travel destination worldwide, by Lonely Planet. In 2014 Albania was nominated number 4 global touristic destination by New York Times
The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea coast. The latter has the most beautiful and pristine beaches, and is often called the Albanian Riviera. Albanian seaside has a considerable length of 450 km, including even the lagoon area which you find within. The seaside has a particular character because it is rich in varieties of sandy beaches, capes, coves, covered bays, lagoons small gravel beaches, sea caves etc. Some parts of this seaside are very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective unexplored areas, very rare in Mediterranean area.
The increase in foreign visitors is dramatic, Albania had only 500,000 visitors in 2005, while in 2012 had an estimated 4.2 million tourists. An increase of 840% in only 7 years. Several of country’s main cities are situated along the pristine seashores of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. An important gateway to the Balkan Peninsula, Albania’s ever-growing road network provides juncture to reach its neighbors in north south, east, and west. Albania is within close proximity to all the major European capitals with short two or three hour flights that are available daily. Tourists can see and experience Albania’s ancient past and traditional culture.
Seventy percent of Albania's terrain is mountainous and there are valleys that spread in a beautiful mosaic of forests, pastures, springs framed by high peaks capped by snow until late summer spreads across them.
Albanian Alps, part of the Prokletije or Accursed Mountains range in Northern Albania bearing the highest mountain peak. The most beautiful mountainous regions that can be easily visited by tourists are Dajti, Thethi, Voskopoja, Valbona, Kelmendi, Prespa, Dukat and Shkreli.
Albania offers many places for hiking the most spectacular landscapes being those of the national parks.
One of the most impressive mountain national parks is the 4000 hectare Tomorri National Park, established south of the Shkumbin River in the Tomorr Range just east of the beautiful museum-city of Berat, and overlooking the city of Polican. Other important mountain national parks are: Theth (Thethi) National Park in the Shale basin around Theth (2630 hectares) Dajti (Daiti) National Park, 3300 hectares of the mountain overlooking the capital, Tirana and Valbona National Park, in the Valbona Gorge from the gorge entrance through to Rrogram and the surrounding mountains.
One of the reasons why Albania should be visited is the adventure, describing it is Europe's next adventure destination, in part because of its natural beauty but also because there's so much to do. The seas are empty and many tiny beaches are secluded. It is a paradise for mountain biking, rafting and kayaking, and the best yet: you'll feel almost alone because there simply aren't many people around. There are a number of associations of the tourism industry such as ATA, Unioni, etc.
Albania is home to two World Heritage Sites (Berat and Gjirokastër are listed together)
Although relatively small, Albania is home to a large number of lakes. Three of the largest lakes are Shkodra, Ohrid and Prespa.Most of the international tourists going to Albania are from Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, and Italy. Foreign tourists mostly come from Eastern Europe, particularly from Poland, and the Czech Republic, but also from Western European countries such as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Scandinavia, and others.
Seaside town of Saranda