The brightness and warmth of the sun, the clean air and healthy climate, Albanian hospitality, oldest traditions. Its natural and cultural heritage will become unforgettable memories.
Albania has been inhabited as early as 100.000 years ago. At the beginning of the third millennium BC that an Indo -European population settled in this territory. As a result of the mixture, a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula (pellazgs) was created.
Based on this ancient population, the Illyrian people developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. After its fall in the year 30 B.C. Illyria came under the control of Roman Empire. With the division of the Roman Empire (395 A.D), Illyria became a part of the Byzantine Empire.
The country has suffered continuous invasions over the last 1000 years and by the end of the 14th century Albania was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. The subsequent efforts and insurrections for independence eventually brought about the proclamation of the independence of Albania in 1912. After 1912 till the end of the First World War, the country was attacked by neighboring countries. After eleven years of monarchy the country was occupied by Mussolini forces in1939, putting an end to the monarchy. In 1943 the armies of Hitler occupy the country.
The resistance against foreign invasion was known as the Anti – Fascist National Liberation front. The Communist party took power in November 1944, when the foreign armies were expelled. Shortly thereafter, a totalitarian regime was established under the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For about 50 years, the regime applied the policy of self-isolation, leaving the country in great economic poverty when it finally emerged from isolation in 1991.
The principle of self- reliance applied by the Communist regime prohibited foreign loans, credits and investment. From 1992 until 1997 The Democratic Party lead the country. After the unrests of 1997 due to the failure of pyramidal schemes the Socialist Party with its coalition is in power.
Albania surprises visitors with the diversity of its landscapes, which change quickly and dramatically. Albania is a Mediterranean country, but due to its particular geographical and geological features, a variety of landscapes intertwine.
Landscapes range from typically Mediterranean in the west and southwest, to mixed in the central area, and mountainous in the inner part of the country. The coast has beautiful, virgin, and fine sandy and pebble beaches. The country is adorned with numerous charming inland lakes, natural lagoons, reservations, hunting grounds, and spas.
The highest legislative body is the Assembly of the Republic of Albania. Members of Parliament are elected every four years through direct democratic ballot. The Assembly has its Presidency, composed of a Chairman and two Vice- chairmen elected from the ranks of the deputies. The Assembly elects, by secret ballot the President of the Republic, who then nominates the Prime Minister.
Albanian territory is divided into 12 Regions. Each region has the head of region and the Regional Council. Each region comprises a number of Municipalities and Communes, which are the first level of local governance. Mayors and Head of Communes are elected through direct ballot.
The light and food industries developed alongside heavy industry (oil, natural gas, bitumen, iron nickel, chromium, copper, bauxite extraction and processing) metallurgy, chemicals, pharmaceutical, mechanical engineering, wood processing etc. whilst agriculture was orientated towards the production of cereal and industrial crops, such as cotton, tobacco, sugar beet, fodder, fruits and vegetables.
Transport mainly developed after the liberation of the country with a total of 18.000 km of roads. The main railways lines cover 447 km. The Albanian railway system is connected with the neighboring countries through Montenegro.
Albania has a long – standing tradition in the production of handicraft articles. The Illyrians and later the Arberesh of the medieval period developed handicrafts of high artistic and technical quality. During the phase of feudalism (13th-15th centuries), the main, urban centers (e.g. Shkodra, Durres, Berat, Prizren) specialized in more than forty kinds of handicraft, metal processing, cloth work, leather, wax processing and other unique materials. During the 17th – 19th centuries some eighty kinds of handicrafts developed in the main urban centers, among them arms production and decoration (Shkodra, Prizren, Elbasan) silver processing (Elbasan, Berat, Prizren), carpet weaving (Korça) and pottery (Kavaja).
These handicraft products were distinguished also for their artistic values and national characteristics. It is expected that the future production of handicrafts increase with the development of tourism. Presently the country is facing many economic difficulties accompaying the transition period from a centralized socialist economy to a market economy.
Visitors can enjoy the wonderful Albanian sights throughout the year. Notwithstanding, the best months to visit Albania are April, May and June, as well as the period from mid-October.
Required clothing: Casual and comfortable. light clothing, cotton fiber, a hat and sun glasses are most useful in summer. Warm clothes in winter, especially a good pair of boots, a pullover etc. During autumn and winter an umbrella is recommended.
Please note: Going nude or topless in the beach is not allowed by Albanian law.
After the Communist Era during which atheism was enforced by the Constitution of 1967 the religion life has experienced a full revival.
Deriving from the Illyrian, the Albanian language has preserved its originality and through the centuries has remained mostly uninfluenced by other languages. First written in 15-th century the Albanian language distinguishes two main dialects, Gegerishte spoken in the north and Toskerishte spoken in the south, river Shkumbin being the borderline between the two dialects. Albania is also spoken in Kosovo, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and Southern Serbia. It is known too in the northwestern part of Greece (Thesprotia). Many Albanians are proficient in Italian, English, French and some German.