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Republic of Albania
Republika e Shqipërisë
tr> </tr>
125px|border|Flag of Albania Coat of arms of Albania
Motoja: Feja e Shqiptarit është Shqiptaria
(The faith of Albanians is Albanism)[1](national)
Ti, Shqipëri, më jep nder, më jep emrin Shqiptar
(You Albania give me honor, you give me the name Albanian) (traditional)
Hymni kombëtar: Himni i Flamurit
("The Banner Hymn")
250px |center |Pozita e Albania
Kryeqyteti
(dhe qyteti më i madh)
Tirana
41°20′N 19°48′E / 41.333°N 19.8°E / 41.333; 19.8
Gjuha zyrtare Albanian1
Demonimi Albanian
Qeveria Parliamentary republic
 -  President Bamir Topi
 -  Prime Minister Sali Berisha
Independence
 -  from the Ottoman Empire 28 November 1912 
 -  Parliamentary Republic 28 November 1998 
Area
 -  Total 28,748 km² (139th)
11,100 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 4.7
Population
 -  2009 estimate 3,170,048[2] (130th)
 -  Density 126.6/km² (63)
327.8/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $21.864 billion[3] (110th)
 -  Per capita $6,897[3] (97th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $12.964 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $4,089[3] 
Gini (2005) 26.7 (low
HDI (2007) Template:Increase 0.807 (high) (69th)
Currency Lek (ALL)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .al
Calling code +355
1 Greek, Macedonian and other regional languages are government-recognized minority languages.

Albania en-us-Albania.ogg /ælˈbeɪniə/ (Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria, Gheg Albanian: Shqipnia or Shqypnia), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë, Template:Pronounced), is a Mediterranean country in South Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the north, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south-east. 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 United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Albania has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and it formally applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009.[4]

Albania is a parliamentary democracy and a transition economy. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to approximately 895,000 of the country's 3.6 million people, and it is also the financial capital of the country.[5] Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure.[6][7][8]

EtymologyEdit

Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country which is called Shqipëri by its inhabitants.In Medieval Greek, the country's name is Albania besides variants Albaētia, Arbanētia.[9] The ultimate origin of the root Alb- has been traced to an Illyrian (alb "white").[10] In the 2nd century BC, Polybius's History of the World mentions a tribe named Arbon in present-day central Albania. The people who lived there were called Albanoí and Arbanitai.[11]

Another suggestion is derivation from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria who drafted a map at 150 AD[12] of remarkable significance for the history of Illyria. This map shows the city of Albanopolis[13] (located Northeast of Durrës) which was later called Albanon and Arbanon though it is not certain this is the same city.[14]

In his History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the duke of Dyrrachium.[15] During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër or Arbën and referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbnesh.[16][17] As early as the 16th century,[citation needed] a new name for their home evolved among Albanian people: Shqipëria, popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" or "Land of the Mountain Eagle" hence the two-headed bird on the national flag,[18] though most likely the origin lies in Skanderbeg's use of the Byzantine double-headed eagle on his seals.[19][20]

HistoryEdit

PrehistoryEdit

File:Butrint, Albania.jpg

The area of today's Albania has been populated since prehistoric times. In antiquity, much of it was settled by the ancient Illyrians, possible ancestors of Albanians.[21][22][23]

The rediscovered Greek city of Bothrota (modern Butrint) is probably more significant today than it was when Julius Caesar used it as a provisions depot for his troops during his campaigns in the 1st century BC. At that time, it was considered to be an unimportant outpost, overshadowed by the Greek colonies, Apollonia and Durrës.[24]

Formal investigation and recording of Albania's archaeological monuments began with Francois Pouqueville, who was Napoleon's consul-general to Ali Pasha's court, and Martin Leake, who was the British agent there. A French mission, led by Len Rey, worked throughout Albania from 1924 to 1938 and published its results in Cahiers d'Archéologie, d'art et d'Histoire en Albanie et dans les Balkans (Notes of Archaeology, Art, and History in Albania and in the Balkans).

Archaeologists today are finding remains from all periods, from the Stone Age to the early Christian era.

AntiquityEdit

The territory of Albania in antiquity was mainly inhabited by Illyrian tribes,[25] who, like other ancient people, were subdivided into tribes and clans.[26] The region was also inhabited by Bryges,[27] a Phrygian people and the Chaones, an ancient Greek people.

Roughly parallel with the rise of Greek colonies, Illyrian tribes began to evolve politically from relatively small and simple entities into larger and more complex ones. At first they formed temporary alliances with one another for defensive or offensive purposes, a few times kingdoms under powerful warlords like Bardyllis.

Illyrian tribes that resided in the region of modern Albania were the Taulantii[28] the Parthini, the Abri, the Caviii, the Enchelei,[29] and several others.

A Illyrian King Bardyllis in 4th century BC, after uniting some Illyrian tribes engaged in conflict with Macedonia, but he was defeated. Bardyllis was succeeded by Grabos[30] then Bardyllis II[31] and Cleitus the Illyrian[31] that was defeated by Alexander the Great. Later on in 229 BC Queen Teuta[32] of the Ardiaei clashed with Romans initiating this way the Illyrian Wars which brought the whole of Illyria to an end in 168 B.C. when King Gentius was defeated by a Roman army.

Template:History of Albania

File:Via Egnatia-en.jpg

The lands comprising modern-day Albania were occupied by the Romans in 168 BC and incorporated into the empire as part of the province of Illyricum above the river Drin and Roman Macedonia (specifically as Epirus Nova) below it. The western part of Via Egnatia, was inside modern Albania. Illyricum was later divided into the provinces of Dalmatia and Pannonia.

When the Roman Empire divided into east and west in 395, the territories of modern Albania became part of the Byzantine Empire. Starting in the first decades under Byzantine rule (until 461),the region suffered the devastation of raids by Visigoths, Huns, and Ostrogoths. Not long after these barbarian invaders swept through the Balkans, the Slavs appeared.

The territory of what is now Albania would remain under Byzantine and Bulgarian Kingdom rule until the fourteenth century AD, when the Ottoman Turks began to make incursions into the Empire. The Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453 and by 1460 most former Byzantine territories were in the hands of the Turks.

Medieval eraEdit

The new administrative system of the themes, or military provinces created by the Byzantine Empire, contributed to the eventual rise of feudalism in Albania, as peasant soldiers who served military lords became serfs on their landed estates. Among the leading families of the Albanian feudal nobility were the Thopia, Shpata, Muzaka, Dukagjini, and Kastrioti. The first three of these rose to become rulers of principalities that were practically independent of Byzantium.

File:Durrës, Pinargenti.jpg

Ottoman eraEdit

In the Middle Ages, the name Arberia (see Origin and history of the name Albania) began to be increasingly applied to the region now comprising the nation of Albania. Beginning with late 14th century the Ottoman Turks expanded their empire from Anatolia to the Balkans. By the 15th century, the Turks had brought under subjection nearly all of the Balkan Peninsula except for a small coastal strip which is included in present-day Albania. The Albanians' resistance to the Turks in the mid-15th century won them acclaim all over Christian Europe. Albania became a symbol of resistance to the Ottoman Turks but suffered an almost continuous state of warfare.[33]

One of the most successful resistance against the invading Ottomans, was led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg from 1443 to 1468. Under a red flag bearing Skanderbeg's heraldic emblem, an Albanian force of about 30,000 men held off Ottoman campaigns against their lands for twenty-four years.The leadership of Skanderbeg was invincible, and even Mehmet II, the Conqueror, was ambushed by an Albanian guriella party at Kruja in 1466. Skanderbeg then re-embraced Roman Catholicism and declared a holy war against the Turks.[34] Thrice the Albanians overcame sieges of Krujë (see Siege of Krujë). Skanderbeg was unable to receive any help from the new crusade promised by the popes, he abandoned Christianity and he died in 1468 leaving no worthy successor.

File:Assault on Turkish encampment.jpg
File:Gjergj Kastrioti.JPG

After the death of Skanderbeg, resistance continued until 1478, although with only moderate success. The loyalties and alliances created and nurtured by Skanderbeg faltered and fell apart, and the Ottomans conquered the territory of Albania shortly after the fall of Kruje's castle. Albania then became part of the Ottoman Empire. Following this, many Albanians fled to neighboring Italy, mostly to Calabria and Sicily. The majority of the Albanian population converted to Islam during this time seeing Muslim practices. During this period there were numerous uprising beginning with the son and nephew of Skanderbeg in 1500 AD, during the Ottoman–Venetian Wars, Ottoman–Habsburg wars, against Tanzimat reforms and during National Renaissance of Albania (1831-1912). This period also saw the rising of semi-autonomous Albanian ruled Pashaliks and Albanians were also an important part of the Ottoman army and Ottoman administration like the case of Köprülü family. Albania would remain a part of the Ottoman Empire as the provinces of Shkodra, Manastir and Yanya until 1912.

20th centuryEdit

During the fifteenth century Albania enjoyed a brief period of independence under the legendary hero, Skanderbeg. Aside from this exception, the country did not enjoy independence until the twentieth century. After five hundred years of Ottoman domination, an independent Albania was proclaimed on the 28 November 1912.

1913 to 1928Edit

The initial sparks of the first Balkan War in 1912 were ignited by the Albanian uprising between 1908-10 [35] which were directed at opposing the Young Turk policies of consolidation of the Ottoman Empire. Following the eventual weakening of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria declared war and sought to aggrandize their respective boundaries on the remaining territories of the Empire. Albania was thus invaded by Serbia in the North and Greece in the south, restricting the country to only a patch of land around the southern coastal city of Vlora. In 1912 Albania, still under foreign occupation declared its independence and with the aid of Austria-Hungary, the Great Powers drew its present borders leaving more than half of the Albanian population outside the new country.

The border between Albania and its neighbors was delineated in 1913 following the dissolution of most of the Ottoman Empire's territories in the Balkans. The delineation of the new state's borders left a significant number of Albanian communities outside Albania. This population was largely divided between Montenegro and Serbia (which then included what is now the Republic of Macedonia). A substantial number of Albanians thus found themselves under Serbian rule. On the other hand an uprising in the country's south by local Greeks, led to the formation of an autonomous region inside its borders (1914). After a period of political instability caused during the World War I, the country adopted a republican form of government in 1920.[36]

1928 to 1946Edit

File:King Zog.jpg

Starting in 1928, but especially during the Great Depression, the government of King Zog, almost completely dependent on Mussolini, began to cede Albania's sovereignty to Italy. By 1939 the Italians invaded the country.

Despite some strong resistance, especially at Durrës, Italy invaded Albania on 7 April 1939 and took control of the country, with Mussolini proclaiming Italy's figurehead King as King of Albania. Albania was one of the first countries occupied by the Axis Powers in World War II.[37] As Hitler began his aggressions, the Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini decided to occupy Albania as a means to compete with Hitler's territorial gains. Mussolini and the Italian Fascists saw Albania as a historical part of the Roman Empire and the occupation was intended to fulfil Mussolini's dream of creating an Italian Empire. During Italian occupation, the Albanian population was subject to a policy of forced Italianization by the Kingdom's Italian governors in which the use of the Albanian language was discouraged in schools while the Italian language was promoted, and colonization of Albania by Italians was encouraged.

Mussolini, in October 1940, used his Albanian base to launch an attack on Greece, which led to the defeat of the Italian forces and a Greek occupation of southern Albania. However, Hitler in his preparations for the invasion of Russia, decided to attack Greece in December 1940 to prevent a British attack on his southern flank and the Greek surrender returned Albania to Italian control.[38]

File:Albania bunkers.jpg

During World War II, the Party of Labour was created on 8 November 1941. With the intention to organize a partisan resistance they called a general conference in Pezë on 16 September 1942 where the Albanian National Liberation Front was created as a result. The Front included nationalist groups, but it was dominated by communist partisans.

In December 1942 other Albanian nationalist were organized under Visar Kola. Albanians fought against the Italians while during German occupation Balli Kombëtar allied himself with the Germans and clashed with Albanian communists, which continued their fight against Germans and Balli Kombëtar in the same time.

With the Mussolini's government collapsing with the Allied invasion, Germany occupied Albania in September 1943, dropping paratroopers into Tirana before the Albanian guerrillas could take the capital. The German army soon drove the guerrillas into the hills and to the south. Berlin subsequently announced it would recognize the independence of a neutral Albania and organized an Albanian government, police, and military. Many Balli Kombëtar units cooperated with the Germans against the communists, and several Balli Kombëtar leaders held positions in the German-sponsored regime.

The partisans entirely liberated Albania from German occupation on November 28, 1944. The Albanian partisans also liberated Kosovo, part of Montenegro, and southern Bosnia & Herzegovina. By November 1944 they had thrown the Germans out, the only East European nation to do so without the assistance of Soviet troops. Enver Hoxha became the leader of the country by virtue of his position as secretary general of the Albanian Communist Party.


Albania was one of the European countries occupied by the Axis powers that ended World War II with a larger Jewish population than before the War.[39][40][41] Only one Jewish family was deported and killed during the Nazi occupation of Albania.[42] Some 1,200 Jewish residents and refugees from other Balkan countries were hidden by Albanian families during World War II, according to official records.[43]

Communist stateEdit

File:Brosen tirana hoxha mausol.jpg
File:Tirana Square 1988.jpg

Albania allied with the USSR, and then broke with the USSR in 1960 over de-Stalinization. A strong political alliance with China followed, leading to several billion dollars in aid, which was curtailed after 1974. China cut off aid in 1978 when Albania attacked its policies after the death of Chinese ruler Mao Zedong. Large-scale purges of officials occurred during the 1970s.

Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania for four decades with an iron fist, died on 11 April 1985. Eventually the new regime introduced some liberalization, including measures in 1990 providing for freedom to travel abroad. Efforts were begun to improve ties with the outside world. March 1991 elections left the former Communists in power, but a general strike and urban opposition led to the formation of a coalition cabinet including non-Communists.[44]

Recent history (1992 to present)Edit

Albania's former Communists were routed in elections March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest. Sali Berisha was elected as the first non-Communist president since World War II. The next crisis occurred in 1997, during his presidency, as riots ravaged the country. The State Institutions collapsed and an EU military mission lead by Italy was sent to stabilize the country. In summer 1997 Berisha was defeated in elections, winning just 25 seats from 155 available. He returned in power leading a coalition in the elections of 3 July 2005, ending 8 years of Socialist Party rule. In 2009, Albania, along with Croatia, joined NATO.

Government, politics and militaryEdit

Template:Politics of Albania

File:Bush - Berisha 20070610-1 p061007cg-0198-515h.jpg

The Albanian republic is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. Elections are now held every four years to a unicameral 140-seat chamber, the People's Assembly. In June 2002, a compromise candidate, Alfred Moisiu, former Army General, was elected to succeed President Rexhep Meidani. Parliamentary elections in July 2005 brought Sali Berisha, as leader of the Democratic Party, back to power. The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU membership bid has been set as a priority by the European Commission.

Albania, along with Croatia, received in 3 April 2008 an invitation to join NATO. Albania and Croatia joined NATO on 2 April 2009 becoming the 27th and 28th members of the alliance.[45]

The workforce of Albania has continued to migrate to Greece, Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and North America. However, the migration flux is slowly decreasing, as more and more opportunities are emerging in Albania itself as its economy steadily develops.

Executive branchEdit

The head of state in Albania is the President of the Republic. The President is elected to a 5-year term by the Assembly of the Republic of Albania by secret ballot, requiring a 50%+1 majority of the votes of all deputies. The next election will run in the year 2012. The current President of the Republic is Bamir Topi.

The President has the power to guarantee observation of the constitution and all laws, act as commander in chief of the armed forces, exercise the duties of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania when the Assembly is not in session, and appoint the Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister).

Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Chairman of the Council (Prime Minister) is appointed by the President; ministers are nominated by the President on the basis of the Prime Minister's recommendation. The People's Assembly must give final approval of the composition of the Council. The Council is responsible for carrying out both foreign and domestic policies. It directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state organs.

President Bamir Topi 20 July 2007
Prime Minister Sali BerishaPD9 September 2009

Legislative branchEdit

The Assembly of the Republic of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë) is the lawmaking body in Albania. There are 140 deputies in the Assembly, which are elected though a party-list proportional representation system. The President of the Assembly (or Speaker) has two deputies and chairs the Assembly. There are 15 permanent commissions, or committees. Parliamentary elections are held at least every 4 years.

The Assembly has the power to decide the direction of domestic and foreign policy; approve or amend the constitution; declare war on another state; ratify or annul international treaties; elect the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General and his or her deputies; and control the activity of state radio and television, state news agency, and other official information media.

Armed forcesEdit

File:Two Albanian soldiers.JPEG

The Albanian Armed Forces (Forcat e Armatosura të Shqipërisë) first formed after independence in 1912. Albania reduced the number of active troops from a 1988 number of 65,000[46] to a 2009 number of 14,500[47] with a small fleet of aircraft and sea vessels. In the 1990s, the country scrapped enormous amount of obsolete hardware, such as tanks and SAM systems of Chinese manufacture.

Today it is made up of the General Staff Headquarters, the Albanian Joint Forces Command, the Albanian Support Command and the Albanian Training and Doctrine Command. One of the most important conditions to fulfill due to NATO integration, was the increasing of the military budget. Military spending accounted for about 2.7% of GDP in 2008. Since February 2008, Albania participates officially in NATO's Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea[48] and received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008.[49] Albania became a full member of NATO on 1 April 2009.

GeographyEdit

File:Albania space.jpg
File:Himarë-Albania6.JPG
File:Ksamilislets.jpg

Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometers. Its coastline is 362 kilometers long 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 Dibra, reaching up to 2,753 metres (9,032 ft). The country has a continental climate at its high altitude regions with cold winters and hot summers. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 800,000 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.

Over a third of the territory of Albania—about 10,000 square kilometers (2.5 million acres)—is forested and the country was very rich in flora. About 3.000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Adriatic and East Mediterranean provinces of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Mountains mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars, and chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

ClimateEdit

File:Coastline in Albania.jpg
File:Albania pasture.jpg
File:KorabMountain2.jpg
File:Ksrbay.jpg

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 for so small an area. 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. Summer temperatures average 24 °C. In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5°C 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 to more than 1,500 millimeters 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 and are as high as 2,550 millimeters in some northern areas. 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.

EconomyEdit

File:Albania rural near Lushnja.jpg

Albania remains a poor country by Eastern European standards.[50] Its GDP per capita (expressed in PPS—Purchasing Power Standards) stood at 25 percent of the EU average in 2008.[51] Still, Albania has shown potential for economic growth, as more and more businesses relocate there and consumer goods are becoming available from emerging market traders as part of the current massive global cost-cutting exercise. Albania and Cyprus are the only countries in Europe that recorded economic growth in the first quarter of 2009. In its latest report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Albania and Cyprus recorded increases of 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.[52][53] However, the country is still of low interest for major foreign investors due to frequent power shortages, occasional lack of water supplies and ubiquitous illegal activities.[54]

File:Mallakastra-oil.jpg

Albania and Croatia have discussed the possibility to jointly build a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkoder, close to the border with Montenegro, a plan that has gathered criticism from the latter due to seismicity in the area.[55] In addition, there is some doubt wether Albania would be able to finance a project of such a scale with a total national budget of less than $ 5 billion.[56] However, in February 2009 Italian company Enel announced plans to build an 800 MW coal-fired power plant in Albania, in order to diversify electricity sources.[57] Nearly 100% of the electricity is generated by ageing hydroelectric power plants, which are becoming more ineffective due to increasing droughts.[57]

The country has some deposits of petroleum and natural gas, but produces only 6,425 barrels of oil per day.[58] Natural gas production, estimated at about 30 million cubic meters, is sufficient to meet consumer demands.[56] Other natural resources include coal, bauxite, copper and iron ore.

Agriculture is the most significant sector, employing some 58% of the labor force and generating about 21% of GDP. Albania produces significant amounts of wheat, corn, tobacco, figs (13th largest producer in the world)[59] and olives.

TransportEdit

In the early 1990s, the rock-strewn roadways, unstable rail lines, and obsolete telephone network crisscrossing Albania represented the remnants of the marked improvements that were made after World War II. Enver Hoxha's xenophobia and lust for control had kept Albania isolated, however, as the communications revolution transformed the wider world into a global village. Even internal travel amounted to something of a luxury for many Albanians during communism's ascendancy.

HighwaysEdit

File:SH2 Tiranë-Durrës.jpg
File:Tirana's Overpass From Durres (1).JPG

Currently the major cities of the country are linked with first class national roads. There is a four lane highway connecting the city of Durrës with Tirana and the city of Durrës with the city of Lushnje. Albania is partaking in the construction of what it sees as three major corridors of transportation. The major priority as of present is the construction of the four lane Durrës-Pristina highway which will link Kosovo with Albania's Adriatic coast. The portion of the highway which links Albania's north east border with Kosovo was completed in June 2009,[60] as a result, cutting the time it takes to get from Kosovo to Durrës from six hours to two. Indeed the roads in northwestern Albania remain in poor condition as of summer 2009. It takes approximately 1H30 to drive the 35 km (22 mi) from the border of Montenegro to Shkodër.[citation needed] It is also worth noting that there are no road signs and no traffic lights within and around this city. The second priority is the construction of European corridor 8 linking Albania with the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. The third priority for the government is the construction of the north-south axis of the country; it is sometimes referred to as the Adriatic–Ionian motorway as it is part of a larger regional highway connecting Croatia with Greece along the Adriatic and Ionian coasts. By the end of the decade it is expected that the majority of the sections of these three corridors will have been built.[citation needed] When all three corridors are completed Albania will have an estimated 759 kilometers of highway linking it with its neighbors.

Airways Edit

File:Rinas-Airport-New-Terminal.jpg

In 1977 Albania's government signed an agreement with Greece, opening the country's first air links with non-communist Europe. As a result, Olympic Airways was the first non-communist airline to fly into Albania. By 1991 Tirana had air links with many major European cities, including Paris, Rome, Zürich, Vienna, and Budapest. Tirana was served by a small airport, Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, located twenty-eight kilometers from the capital at the village of Rinas. Albania had no regular domestic air service. A Franco-Albanian joint venture launched Albania's first private airline, Ada Air, in 1991. The company offered flights in a thirty-six-passenger airplane four days each week between Tirana and Bari, Italy, and a charter service for domestic and international destinations.

As of 2007 Albania has one international airport: Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza. The airport is linked to 29 destinations by 14 airlines. It has seen a dramatic rise in terms of passenger numbers and aircraft movements since the early 1990s. In September 2009 it served 1.8 million passengers and had 44 landings and takeoffs per day.

File:Albanian railway.jpg

RailwayEdit

The railway system was extensively promoted by the totalitarian regime of Enver Hoxha, during which time the use of private transport was effectively prohibited. Since the collapse of the former regime, there has been a considerable increase in car ownership and bus usage. Whilst some of the country's roads are still in a very poor condition, there have been other developments (such as the construction of a motorway between Tirana and Durrës) which have taken much traffic away from the railways. The railways in Albania are administered by the national railway company Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH) (which means Albanian Railways). It operates a Template:RailGauge/metric gauge (standard gauge) rail system in Albania. All trains are hauled by Czech-built ČKD diesel-electric locomotives.

Durrës–Kukës–Morine Highway (Albania to Kosovo)Edit

There has been much discussion, debate and interest in this small 170 km (106 mi) section of Albanian highway, which is intended to create a new, super-fast connection between Durrës on the Adriatic coast to Morine at the border of Kosovo.

The current drive time between Kukës and Durrës is 6–7 hours, but once the new highway is completed the drive time will only be 2 hours. The expected completion is the end of 2009. The whole road will be around 250 km (155 mi), when completed to Pristina.

The objective for constructing the road, according to the transport ministry, is to reduce transport costs and accidents, and improve traffic flow. It is the biggest, most expensive infrastructure project undertaken in Albania.

There has been much controversy and scandal surrounding this project as well, due to the spiralling cost of construction leading to various corruption allegations. Originally the highway was forecast to cost around EUR400 million, and now the cost appears to have breached EUR800 million, although the exact cost for the total highway has yet to be confirmed by the government.

The Morine to Pristina section is expected to start construction Spring 2009.

Currently there is a display in Tirana’s centre on Bvld Dëshmorët e Kombit.

DemographicsEdit

File:Ethnic composition of Albania, municipality data of 1989 census.gif
File:Tirana Skanderbeg Square.jpg
File:Berat.jpg

The Albanian population is considered a very young population, with an average age of 28.9 years.[61] After 1990 the Albanian population has faced new phenomena like migration, which greatly affected the distribution by districts and prefectures. Districts in the North have seen a decreasing population, while Tirana and Durrës districts have increased their population.[citation needed] Albania's population was 3,152,600 on 1 January 2007 and 3,170,048 on 1 January 2008.[2] Alternative sources estimate the population in July 2009 at 3,639,453 with an annual growth rate of 0.546%.[62] Albania is a largely ethnically homogeneous country with only small minorities.[63] The vast majority of the population is ethnically Albanian (98.6%). Minorities include Greeks 1.17% and others 0.23% (Vlachs, Macedonians, Roma, Bulgarians, Balkan Egyptians, Serbs).[64] The size of the Greek minority is contentious, with the Albanian government claiming it is only 60,000, while the Greek government is claiming 300,000. CIA Factbook gives the Greek minority 3% of the total population. The dominant language is Albanian, with two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk. Many Albanians are also fluent in English, Italian, Greek, Turkish or German.

ReligionEdit

File:Tirana manifestation.jpg
File:Labova e Kryqit3.jpg

According to the World Christian Database, 64% of Albanians are Muslim, 29.8% are Christian, 5.3% are agnostic, 0.7% are atheist, and 0.2% are Baha'i.[65]

However, others argue that while most Albanians still associate themselves with religious groups like Muslims and Christians, a majority do not participate in religious services. One survey found the following statistics:

The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the late 11th century. At this point, they are already fully Christianized. Christianity was later overshadowed by Islam, which kept the scepter of the major religion during the period of Ottoman Turkish rule from the 15th century until year 1912.After independence (1912) from the Ottoman Empire, the Albanian republican, monarchic and later communist regimes followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official functions and cultural life. Albania never had an official state religion either as a republic or as a kingdom. In the 20th century, the clergy of all faiths was weakened under the monarchy, and ultimately eradicated during the 1940s and 1950s, under the state policy of obliterating all organized religion from Albanian territories.

The Communist regime that took control of Albania after World War II suppressed religious observance and institutions and entirely banned religion to the point where Albania was officially declared to be the world's first atheist state. Religious freedom has returned to Albania since the regime's change in 1992. Albanian Muslim (79.9%) are found throughout the country whereas Orthodox Christians are concentrated in the south and Roman Catholics (20.1%) are found in the north of the country. No reliable data are available on active participation in formal religious services, and estimates range from 25% to 40%.[68]

Previously the religious figures in Albania stood at 70% Muslim, 20% Catholic and 10% Orthodox. Although these statics were based on estimates from pre-1967 information.

There are about 4000 active Jehovahs witnesses in Albania.[69] Among other religious organizations making inroads into this nation is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or 'Mormons'). The Church's involvement in Albania began with Humanitarian Aid during the 1990s. The first missionaries were sent in 1992 with the Albania Tirana Mission being opened in 1996. As of 2008, there were nearly 2,000 members of the Church in Albania, spread throughout ten branches with two purpose-built Chapels and one Family History Centre..[70]

CultureEdit

Template:Albanians

Music and folkloreEdit

File:A traditional male folk group from Skrapar.JPG

Albanian folk music falls into three sylistic groups, with other important music areas around Shkodër and Tirana; the major groupings are the Ghegs of the north and southern Labs and Tosks. The northern and southern traditions are contrasted by the "rugged and heroic" tone of the north and the "relaxed, gentle and exceptionally beautiful" form of the south. These disparate styles are unified by "the intensity that both performers and listeners give to their music as a medium for patriotic expression and as a vehicle carrying the narrative of oral history", as well as certain characteristics like the use of obscure rhythms such as 3/8, 5/8 and 10/8.[71] The first compilation of Albanian folk music was made by Pjetër Dungu in 1940.

Albanian folk songs can be divided into major groups, the heroic epics of the north, and the sweetly melodic lullabies, love songs, wedding music, work songs and other kinds of song. The music of various festivals and holidays is also an important part of Albanian folk song, especially those that celebrate St. Lazarus Day (the llazore), which inaugurates the springtime. Lullabies and laments are very important kinds of Albanian folk song, and are generally performed by solo women.[72]

Albanian language and literatureEdit

Albanian was proven to be an Indo-European language in 1854 by the German philologist Franz Bopp. The Albanian language comprises its own branch of the Indo-European language family.

Some scholars believe that Albanian derives from Illyrian[73] while others,[74] claim that it derives from Daco-Thracian. (Illyrian and Daco-Thracian, however, might have been closely related languages; see Thraco-Illyrian.)

Establishing longer relations, Albanian is often compared to Balto-Slavic on the one hand and Germanic on the other, both of which share a number of isoglosses with Albanian. Moreover, Albanian has undergone a vowel shift in which stressed, long o has fallen to a, much like in the former and opposite the latter. Likewise, Albanian has taken the old relative jos and innovatively used it exclusively to qualify adjectives, much in the way Balto-Slavic has used this word to provide the definite ending of adjectives.

The cultural resistance was first of all expressed through the elaboration of the Albanian language in the area of church texts and publications, mainly of the Catholic confessional region in the North, but also of the Orthodox in the South. The Protestant reforms invigorated hopes for the development of the local language and literary tradition when cleric Gjon Buzuku brought into the Albanian language the Catholic liturgy, trying to do for the Albanian language what Luther did for German.

File:Meshari.jpg

Meshari (The Missal) by Gjon Buzuku, published by him in 1555, is considered to date as the first literary work of written Albanian. The refined level of the language and the stabilised orthography must be a result of an earlier tradition of writing Albanian, a tradition that is not known. But there are some fragmented evidence, dating earlier than Buzuku, which indicate that Albanian was written at least since 14th century AD. The first known evidence dates from 1332 AD and deals with the French Dominican Guillelmus Adae, Archbishop of Antivari, who in a report in Latin writes that Albanians use Latin letters in their books although their language is quite different from Latin. Of special importance in supporting this are: a baptizing formula (Unte paghesont premenit Atit et Birit et spertit senit) of 1462, written in Albanian within a text in Latin by the bishop of Durrës, Pal Engjëlli; a glossary with Albanian words of 1497 by Arnold von Harff, a German who had travelled through Albania, and a 15th century fragment from the Bible from the Gospel of Matthew, also in Albanian, but in Greek letters.

File:Tirana Museum 1988.jpg

Albanian writings of these centuries must not have been religious texts only, but historical chronicles too. They are mentioned by the humanist Marin Barleti, who, in his book Rrethimi i Shkodrës (The Siege of Shkodër) (1504), confirms that he leafed through such chronicles written in the language of the people (in vernacula lingua). Despite the obstacles generated by the Counter-Reformation which was opposed to the development of national languages in Christian liturgy[citation needed], this process went on uninterrupted. During the 16th to 17th centuries, the catechism E mbësuame krishterë (Christian Teachings) (1592) by Lekë Matrënga, Doktrina e krishterë (The Christian Doctrine) (1618) and Rituale romanum (1621) by Pjetër Budi, the first writer of original Albanian prose and poetry, an apology for George Castriot (1636) by Frang Bardhi, who also published a dictionary and folklore creations, the theological-philosophical treaty Cuneus Prophetarum (The Band of Prophets) (1685) by Pjetër Bogdani, the most universal personality of Albanian Middle Ages, were published in Albanian. The most famous Albanian writer is probably Ismail Kadare.

EducationEdit

Before the Communist rule, Albania’s illiteracy rate was as high as 85%. Schools were scarce between World War I and World War II. When the Communist Rule over took the country in 1944, the regime wanted to “wipe-out” illiteracy. The regulations became so strict that anyone between the ages of 12 and 40 who could not read or write was mandated to attend classes to learn. Since these times of struggle the country’s literacy rate has improved remarkably.[75] Today the overall literacy rate in Albania is 98.7%, the male literacy rate is 99.2% and female literacy rate is 98.3%.[62] Since the rather large population movements in the 1990’s to urban areas, education has moved as well. Thousands of teachers moved to urban areas to follow students.

Administrative divisionsEdit

File:AlbaniaNumberedPrefectures.png

Albania is divided into 12 administrative divisions called (Albanian: official qark/qarku, but often prefekturë/prefektura) Counties, 36 districts and 351 municipalities. Each region has its Regional Council and is composed of a number of Municipalities and Communes, which are the first level of local governance responsible for local needs and law enforcement.

County Capital Districts Municipalities Cities Villages
1 Berat Berat Berat
Kuçovë
Skrapar
12
2
10
2
1
2
122
17
103
2 Dibër Peshkopi Bulqizë
Dibër
Mat
8
15
12
2
1
3
103
141
76
3 Durrës Durrës Durrës
Krujë
10
7
4
2
61
43
4 Elbasan Elbasan Elbasan
Gramsh
Librazhd
Peqin
24
10
10
6
2
1
2
1
176
95
75
49
5 Fier Fier Fier
Lushnjë
Mallakastër
17
16
9
3
2
1
117
121
40
6 Gjirokastër Gjirokastër Gjirokastër
Përmet
Tepelenë
13
9
10
2
2
2
95
97
77
7 Korçë Korçë Devoll
Kolonjë
Korçë
Pogradec
5
8
17
8
1
2
2
1
44
76
155
72
8 Kukës Kukës Has
Kukës
Tropojë
4
15
8
1
1
3
30
90
68
9 Lezhë Lezhë Kurbin
Lezhë
Mirditë
4
10
7
3
2
4
28
63
70
10 Shkodër Shkodër Malësi e Madhe
Pukë
Shkodër
6
10
18
2
2
2
56
75
139
11 Tirana Tirana Kavajë
Tirana
10
18
2
3
65
155
12 Vlorë Vlorë Delvinë
Sarandë
Vlorë
4
9
13
1
2
4
38
62
99

SportEdit

Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Albania, both at a participatory and spectator level. The sport is governed by the Football Association of Albania (Albanian: Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit, F.SH.F.).

EntertainmentEdit

Radio Televizioni Shqiptar, (RTSH), is Albania's leading television network. RTSH runs a national television station TVSH, (standing for Televizioni Shqiptar), and two national radio stations, using the name Radio Tirana. An international service broadcasts radio programmes in Albanian and seven other languages via medium wave (AM) and short wave (SW).[76] The international service has used the theme from the song "Keputa një gjethe dafine" as its signature tune. Since 1999, RTSH has been a member of the European Broadcasting Union. Since 1993, RTSH has also run an international television service via satellite, aimed at Albanian language communities in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece, plus the Albanian diaspora in the rest of Europe.

According the National Council of Radio and Television Albania has an estimated 257 media outlets, including 66 radio stations and 65 television stations, with 3 national and 62 local stations.

HealthEdit

Health care has been in a steep decline after the collapse of socialism in the country, but a process of modernization takes place since the year 2000.[77] As of the early 2000s, there were 51 hospitals in the country, including a military hospital and specialist facilities.[77] Albania has successfully annihilated diseases such as malaria.

Life expectancy is estimated at 77.43 years, ranking 51st worldwide, and outperforming a number of European Union countries, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic.[78]

The medical school, Faculty of Medicine at Tirana University, is in Tirana. There are also nursing schools in many other cities.

The diseases of the circulation system occupy the first place and deaths due to neoplasm diseases occupy the second place based on death’s form in the structure of general mortality.

CuisineEdit

The cuisine of Albania- as with most Mediterranean and Balkan nations, is strongly influenced by its long history. At different times, the territory of Albania has been occupied by Greece, Italy and the Ottoman Turks, and each group has left its mark on Albanian cuisine. The main meal of the Albanians is lunch, and it is usually accompanied by a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives with olive oil, vinegar and salt. Lunch also includes a main dish of vegetables and meat. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal areas of Durrës, Vlorë and Sarandë. It has long been Albanian tradition that the coordinator of a social gathering, also known as Papi Muejer, purchase the first round at a local bar for all those in attendance.

Human rights in AlbaniaEdit

LGBT rights in AlbaniaEdit

International rankingsEdit

Demographic

Environmental

Economic

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

Notes:

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo. Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008, while Serbia claims it as part of its own sovereign territory.That is why we started this kosovo.wikia.com wiki so that we dont have the serbs pushing that POV on us.

References:

  1. Understanding the war in Kosovo Authors Florian Bieber, Židas Daskalovski Editors Florian Bieber, Židas Daskalovski Publisher Routledge, 2003 ISBN 0714653918, 9780714653914 page 188 link [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Albania National Institute of Statistics official web site". http://www.instat.gov.al/. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Albania". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=914&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=71&pr.y=12. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. Albania applies for EU membership, BBC News, 28 April 2009. Retrieved on 29 April 2009
  5. Population stats from tirana.gov.al Template:Sq icon
  6. Reports: Poverty Decreases In Albania After Years Of Growth.Dow Jones Newswires, 201-938-5500.http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/stock-market-news-story.aspx?storyid=200904231403dowjonesdjonline000935&title=reports-poverty-decreases-in-albania-after-years-of-growth
  7. Albania plans to build three hydropower plants.People's Daily
  8. Strong GDP growth reduces poverty in Albania-study.Reuters.http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/04/23/afx6330798.html
  9. OED
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  30. Harding, p. 93. Grabos became the most powerful Illyrian king after the death of Bardylis in 358.
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  47. [2]
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  78. CIA - The World Factbook, Life Expectancy ranks

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af:Albanië als:Albanien am:አልባኒያ ang:Albania ar:ألبانيا an:Albania arc:ܐܠܒܢܝܐ roa-rup:Arbinishia frp:Albanie ast:Albania gn:Avaña az:Albaniya bn:আলবেনিয়া zh-min-nan:Shqipëria be:Албанія be-x-old:Альбанія bcl:Albanya bar:Albanien bo:ཨར་པ་ཉི་ཡ། bs:Albanija br:Albania bg:Албания ca:Albània cv:Албани ceb:Albanya cs:Albánie co:Albania cy:Albania da:Albanien pdc:Albaani de:Albanien nv:Dziłigaii Bikéyah dsb:Albańska dz:ཨལ་བཱ་ནི་ཡ། et:Albaania el:Αλβανία eml:Albanî es:Albania eo:Albanio ext:Albánia eu:Albania ee:Albania fa:آلبانی hif:Albania fo:Albania fr:Albanie fy:Albaanje fur:Albanie ga:An Albáin gv:Yn Albaan gd:Albàinia gl:Albania - Shqipëria gu:અલ્બાનિયા hak:Â-ngì-pâ-nì-â xal:Арнаутн Орн Нутг ko:알바니아 haw:‘Alepania hy:Ալբանիա hi:अल्बानिया hsb:Albanska hr:Albanija io:Albania ilo:Albania bpy:আলবেনিয়া id:Albania ia:Albania ie:Albania os:Албани is:Albanía it:Albania he:אלבניה jv:Albania kn:ಅಲ್ಬೇನಿಯ pam:Albania ka:ალბანეთი csb:Albańskô kk:Албания kw:Albani ky:Албания sw:Albania kv:Албания kg:Albania ht:Albani ku:Albanya lad:אלבאניה la:Albania lv:Albānija lb:Albanien lt:Albanija lij:Albania li:Albanië ln:Albania lmo:Albania hu:Albánia mk:Албанија mg:Albania ml:അല്‍ബേനിയ mt:Albanija mr:आल्बेनिया arz:ألبانيا mzn:آلباني ms:Albania mn:Албани nah:Albania na:Albania nl:Albanië ne:अल्बानिया ja:アルバニア ce:Албани pih:Elbanya no:Albania nn:Albania nov:Albania oc:Albania uz:Albaniya pnb:البانیا pap:Albania ps:البانيا km:អាល់បានី pms:Albanìa tpi:Albenia nds:Albanien pl:Albania pnt:Αλβανία pt:Albânia crh:Arnavutlıq ro:Albania rmy:Shkiperiya rm:Albania qu:Albanya ru:Албания sah:Албания se:Albánia sa:अल्बानिया sc:Albania sco:Albanie stq:Albanien sq:Shqipëria scn:Albanìa simple:Albania ss:I-Alibheniya sk:Albánsko sl:Albanija szl:Albańijo ckb:ئاڵبانیا srn:Albanikondre sr:Албанија sh:Albanija su:Albania fi:Albania sv:Albanien tl:Albanya ta:அல்பேனியா tt:Албания te:అల్బేనియా tet:Albánia th:ประเทศแอลเบเนีย tg:Албания chr:ᎠᎸᏇᏂᏯ tr:Arnavutluk udm:Албания uk:Албанія ur:البانیا ug:ئالبانىيە vec:Albania vi:Albania vo:Lalbanän fiu-vro:Albaania war:Albanya wo:Albaani wuu:阿尔巴尼亚 yi:אלבאניע yo:Albania zh-yue:阿爾巴尼亞 diq:Arnawutiye zea:Albanië bat-smg:Albanėjė

zh:阿尔巴尼亚

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