Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula region. Albania touches its border with Greece to the south, Macedonia to the east, Kosovo to the northeast, and Montenegro to the northwest. Albania is less than 100 km from Italy. This country covers a total of 28,000 square kilometres and its population is 3.3 million. Albania is the smallest county in Europe. The capital of Albania is Tirana.
Albania has a unique and diverse culture, with a 65 percent Muslim population. The country's sculpture and art are greatly influenced by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled a for this country for more than 500 years. The official language of this country is Albanian, which is mix of the Indo-European and Illyrian language. Albania's language was originated from Greek, Italian, Latin as well as from Slavic language.
The Shkumbin River serves as a geographical borderline between the two cultural groups, the Ghegs (north Albanian) and the Tosks (south Albanian). The Ghegs of Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia, speak with typical nasalization traits while Tosks in Greece, south-western Macedonia and Italy speak with typical rhotacism traits. Although there are significant differences between the two cultural groups but they keep a strong national identity and ethnic culture.
Food and Drink
Albanian food has a strong Balkan and Turkish influences. Here you can taste the Balken famous appetisers known as meze. For dessets choices you can find baklava, lokum and Turkish delight, as well as the pastries and fish specialties.
A traditional meze is prepared by mixing vegetables, fish, meat, pastry, etc. A traditional meze in Albania contains chicken livers. This is prepared with spices and butter which has a unique crispy and juicy flavour that perfectly matches the traditional aperitifs, such as raki, or a glass of good red wine. Albanian vineyards also produces a high quality wine, some from indigenous grapes such as Kallmet (red) and Shesh (red and white). Grapes are also used to make raki, a clear spirit which is the country's national drink.Potato salad is most popular salads in Albania. For lunches they have a fully-flavoured and very nutritious meal of meat or vegetables.
Things to Do in Albania
Kruja is the best place in Albania for shopping traditional crafts. In this place you can buy felt, rug, antique, Albanian flags, copper plates and ashtrays in the shape of bunkers. In other places you can find souvenir shops are in Tirana, Gjirokastra and Butrint.
Places To See In Albania
Albania is a beautiful country which is waiting to be discovered for a popular tourist destination. There are many interesting places to visit. Here are five must see places in Albania:
This city is located in the south of Albania. This city is called as city of one-thousand windows. Berat is situated on the slopes of the Tomorri Mountain where the castle of the city sits predominantly at the top of the hill. Inside this castle walls has dwelling houses and the Onufri Museum. The castle area is a wonderful place to walk around.
This is a second largest city in Albania. This city was a ancient port of Albania. DurrÃ«s has one of most memorable sites of huge Roman amphitheatre. This can accommodate 15,000 people and has hosted gladiatorial games.
Capital City Tirana
This is about a 40 minute drive from DurrÃ«s. Everywhere you will see buildings painted in bright colour which was reaction to the greyness of the past. In the main square of Sheshi SkÃ«nderbej has an old mosque and a Clock Tower. Just outskirts of Tirana you can see Elbasan the Petrela Castle. This castle sits picturesquely on a steep slope overlooking a river.
This is a medieval town near Tirana. Kruja is situated on the slope of the Sari Salltiku Mountain. The name of Kruja is closely connected with the name of the national hero George Kastriot Scanderbeg. In the 15th century he fought against the Ottomans for 25 years. There is a castle overlooking this town, which has Museum of Gjergj Kastrioti Scanderbeg.
This is a good place for a day trip. On the way to Apollonia you can stop to see Monastery of Ardenica. Inside the this church you can see paintings from 1743-1745. There is a nice restaurant at Ardenica which has lovely views. It is a fascinating place to visit to find undiscovered remains. As you walk around the area you will also come across some modern history when you see remains of bunkers and tunnels used in Communist times.
Some Interesting Facts
- In Albania, nodding of head means no, and while shaking of head means yes.
- The emblem on Albania's flag comprises of a two-headed eagle.
- The currency of Albania is Lek.
- The highest point in Albania is Mount Korab (2,753 m).
- Albania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912.