20 Must Known Facts About Albania

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From The History Of Antiquities To A Tourist Destination

Albania or the republic of Albania may not have existed without the intervention of American politician and academic Woodrow Wilson towards the end of World War I.

This country in the southeastern Europe with coastlines on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea shares its borders with neighboring countries Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia/ Kosovo.

After the communism ruled ended in 1991, Albania has gradually clawed its way back leaving the history of unemployment, deep-rooted corruption, shattered infrastructure, organized crime networks and political unrest to become a top-notch tourist destination with its abundance of natural beauty.
Facts About Albania:
1. Albania obtained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. However, in the subsequent times Italy conquered the nation in 1939 followed by Germany in 1943. Communist ruling began there in 1944. Albania got into alliance with the countries such as the Soviet Union till 1960 and China till 1978.
2. The capital of Albania is “Tirana”, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic age and started developing during the 17th century.
3. The English name “Albania” seems to have derived from the ethnic Illyrian tribe of the “Albani”. Its native name “Shqiperia” means the “Land of the Eagles”.
4. Green forests cover almost 40 percent of the total land area of Albania.
5. The total area of this country is 28,500 square kilometers, which is just about the size of the state of Massachusetts, USA.
6. As much as 96 percent population in Albania consists of ethnic Albanian population. It is one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries in the world.
7. Towards the end of the communist era in 1991, Albania had 3 million people, but only 3000 cars as owning private cars were illegal. The scenario has changed today. However, Albanians don’t wear seat-belts.
8. The currency of Albania is called “Lek”.
9. Albania has earned the dubious distinction of having the second highest sex selective abortions in the world along with India and China.
10. In Albania, when people nod their head, it means “no”, and shaking head to both sides means “yes”.
11. In the second century, Christianity was introduced in Albania. However, during the Ottoman Empire, most Albanians converted to Islam.
12. Mother Teresa is said to be the only Albanian to win a Nobel Prize. The national airport in Albania has been named after Mother Teresa as a tribute to her. The airport is officially called “Tirana International Nene Tereza”.
13. The national healthcare is completely free for people in Albania.
14. The average annual salary in the country is below $100 per month. Such statistics make Albania one of the poorest countries in Europe.
15. Narco-trafficking is quite active from Albania and it is expanding through the Europe. It leads to money laundering aligned with regional trafficking in narcotics, arms, contraband and illegal transactions.
16. Albania is known as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It stands at 113 spot out of 176 on the corruption index along with Ethiopia, Guatemala and Niger. People live and work there in a “culture of corruption.”
17. Albania, besides Armenia and Vatican City are the only European nations that do not have a McDonald’s branch.
18. In 1995, an interesting incident occurred when the drivers in the city of Shkodra refused to pay a newly enforced traffic-light tax due to the reason that the city had no traffic lights.
19. There are no international rail connections to Albania. Even the national rail connections are very limited. In addition, even the bus services are almost non-existent.
20. In 2011, the world’s largest travel guidebook publisher “Lonely Planet” listed Albania No.1 among the top 10 travel destinations for its wonderful scenic views, archaeological sites and ancient castles.

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