Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a country and parliamentary republic in Southeastern Europe. With these 29 interesting facts about Albania, let’s learn more about its history, geography, people, culture, economy and traditions.
1. More Albanians live outside of Albania than within. Countries like Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States all have Albanian citizens.
2. Do you know how many Albanians live outside of their home country? The answer is approximately 7-10 million.
3. Transportation in the country is underdeveloped. There are only four airports in the country, and just 677 km of railways. There exists a total of 18,000 km of roadways, out of which only 7000 km are paved. Buses are abundant, but their schedules are not fixed. You cannot rely on buses to move on time unless there are sufficient passengers available for the trip.
4. People from the country hang stuffed animals and objects from half-completed homes and buildings to ward off evil spirits.
5. 480,000 ethnic Albanian refugees entered into Albania in 1999 because of the war in neighboring Kosovo. This influx strained the country’s resources.
6. Albania provides free primary and secondary education.
7. Albania is an upper middle-income economy. The service sector dominates the country’s economy, followed by the industrial and agricultural sectors.
8. “Shqipëri” is the name given to Albania by its people.
9. The eagle is the national and ethnic symbol of the Albanians. The symbol appears in a stone carving dating from 1190.
10. The current flag of Albania bears a black, double-headed eagle on a red background.
11. The villages of Xarrë and Mount Dajt were found to contain the first traces of human presence in the country.
12. Ardiaei is the name of one of the most powerful tribes that once ruled over modern Albania.
13. The village of Lazarat is the “cannabis capital of Albania.” The village makes the country the largest exporter of cannabis in Europe.
14. You may be amazed to know that Albanians have been banned from using speedboats. Speedboats were used for human and drug trafficking from Albania to the shores of Italy and Greece.
15. Much to the surprise of many, Albania only had 3000 cars for a population of three million prior to 1991. At that time, under communist rule, private cars were illegal.
16. Be careful while crossing the streets in Tirana, the capital city of the country. Look everywhere and cross the streets cautiously. Crossing the street itself is an art in the country.
17. Albanian policemen are thought to be very corrupt. This can be noticed on the roads where these policemen stop cars and fine them.
18. This could also coincide with the fact that Albanians have very poor driving skills, not to mention awful road conditions. One needs to be a little extra cautious when visiting the country and driving on the roads.
19. One could say that Albania is a country of mountains. The country is covered by 70% mountains within its territory. One would experience this fact firsthand while driving around the country.
20. Albanians are not terribly concerned about their safety while driving: They do not like to wear seat belts.
21. It is said that almost 700,000 bunkers were built during the communist regime in Albania. However, as of today, most of them are demolished, although some still exist to provide the proof of their earlier existence.
22. In 1967, Albania became the world’s first atheist state. This happened under the leadership of Enver Hoxha.
23. Sex-selective abortion is also very common in Albania. In fact, the country is one of just two in the world to practice such a thing.
24. Tirana, the capital of Albania, is devoid of McDonalds restaurants, unlike many other European capital cities.
25. In Albania, people like to walk in the evening. Some of the roads in some towns are even closed for the local population to take strolls (safely).
26. There is a castle in the city of Berat, locally known as the kala, which was built in the 13th century.
27. An international airport in Albania—Nene Tereza—is named after Mother Teresa.
28. To say yes in Albanian, use the word ‘po’; and to say no, use the word ‘jo.’
29. The capital city of Albania, Tirana, is undergoing a facelift.
Quick facts about Albania
|Total area||28,748 sq km|
|Population||3,029,278 (July 2015 est.)|
|Borders||Montenegro, Serbia (Kosovo), the Republic of Macedonia and Greece.|
|Religion||Islam and Christianity|
|Life expectancy||78.13 years (2012)|
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
|Climate||mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter|
|Terrain||mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast|
|Natural resources||petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower, arable land|
|Birth rate||12.92 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Death rate||6.58 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Sex ratio||0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)|
|Independence||28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)|
|National symbol||double-headed eagle; national colors: red, black|
|National anthem||"Hymni i Flamurit" (Hymn to the Flag)|
|Industries||food and tobacco products; textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower|
|Exports||$1.011 billion (2015 est.)|
textiles, footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
|Imports||$3.597 billion (2015 est.)|
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
|GDP - per capita (PPP)||$11,900 (2015 est.)|
|Internet country code||.al|
|Internet users||1.916 million|
percent of population: 63.2% (July 2015 est.)
|Time Zone||CET (UTC+1)|
Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|Drives on the||Right|
To learn more in depth about Albania, you might also like to read this blog here. It has lots of interesting information about Albania that you will certainly find helpful.