Albania is a country in South-Eastern Europe, in the West of the Balkan Peninsula, between the geographical coordinates: 39 16' latitude and 42 39' longitude. Albania is almost midway between Equator and the North Pole, and covers a surface of 28.748 km2. The overall length of the borderline of the Republic of Albania is 1094 km; out of which 657-km is land-border, 316-km sea-border, 48-km river-border and 73 km lake-border. The Republic of Albania, on the North borders with Montenegro, on North-East with Kosovo, on the East with Macedonia, and in the South and South-East with Greece. On the West, Albania is washed by the Adriatic and Ionian seas. The average altitude is 708 m, i.e. two times higher than that of Europe. Albania is included in the humid sub-tropical zone of the Northern Hemisphere, and it belongs to the Mediterranean climatic zone. Chromium, ferro-nickel, copper, coal, oil and gas are among the most important sub-soil minerals found in Albania.
Coastal areas: Central Mediterranean, mild and wet winter, hot and dry summer.
Alpine areas: Central Continental, cold and wild winter, wet summer.
Lowland Ė Western Albania, Plain Ė Eastern Albania
Alpine Ė Northern Albania, the Highest Peak Ė KorcŽabi Mountain (2,753m)
3,364,571 (June 1999)
95% Albanian, 3% Greek and 2% various
Rate of Population Increase
1, 05% (1999)
Tirana (since 1920)
Albanian is an Indo-European language and it represents a separate branch of this family on the bases of its idiosyncrasy.
The Greek geographer, Ptolemaeus, has witnessed the existence of Albanians and Albanian language in the second century AD.
The name "Shqiperi" (Albania) replaced the "old" name "Arberi" (or Arbani) by the end of the XVII century, due to the new historical conditions created, and aimed at giving importance to the connection between the nation notion and the use of the Albanian language, which was by that time called "Shqip".
The first written document of the modern Albanian language is of the year 1462.The first literary book "Meshari" (Gjon Buzuku) was published in 1555, and from that time the Albanian language was greatly elaborated, especially during the period of the Albanian Renaissance, in two main dialects:
1) "Gegerisht", i.e. the dialect spoken in the Northern Albania, and
2) "Toskerisht", i.e. the dialect spoken in the Southern Albania.
The literary Albanian language has 36 letters and uses the Latin Alphabet, approved by the National Congress of Manastir in 1908.
The Albanian language is also used (written & spoken) in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians live.
The territory of Albania has been inhabited since Antiquity. Traces of life from the period of middle and late Paleolithic (100 000 - 10 000 years ago) are found in Xare, as well as in the Cave of Saint Marina in SarandŽa. Albanians are the direct successors of the Illyrians. The Illyrian tribes stretched along the Western part of the Balkans, and they reached the rivers Sava and Danube in the North, the rivers Morava and Vardar on the East (the border line with Thrake), and the mountain-chain of Pindi in the South and South-East (the border with the Greeks and Macedonians). The very fast economic development, especially that of the metallurgy of bronze and iron (XI - V century BC) created the spiritual and material culture of common values for all the Illyrian tribes. By the end of the fifth century BC, the Illyrians entered the road of slave-ownership, and well-known cities of that time, which exist even today, like Durrahium (Durresi), Apolonia, Butroti (Butrinti), Scodra (ShkodŽra), Lissus (LezhŽa), etc, were founded mainly along the sea shore. The Roman invasion (year 168 BC) had very heavy consequences for the Illyrians, but nevertheless, they successfully faced the assimilating policy of the Romans, mainly thanks to the high standard of development and the clearly crystallized ethnic identity. With the break up of the Roman Empire in the year 395 AD, Illyria remained under the Byzantine Empire. In the following period, Illyria suffered the invasion of several barbarian tribes, like Goths, Avars, etc. During the IV - VI centuries, Slavs invaded part of the Northern and Eastern Illyria, as well as Macedonia, parts that with the passing of time were assimilated. The end of the first millennium marks the crystallization of the Albanian nation. Latter on, the Albanian political formations of the XIV century covered territories from Tivar and Prizren down to Kostur and VlorŽa, meanwhile in the districts of the Southern part, the historic name of Epyrus was preserved, which in the coming years served as a synonym of Arberi (quite often, the National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Scanderbeg (1405 - 1468) was called "the Prince of Epyrus"). The Ottoman invasion (XIV century) established the military feudal system in Arberia (Albania), but several continuous uprisings of the Albanian princes prepared the glorious resistance of the Albanian people under the leadership of the National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti, known as Scanderbeg. Scanderbeg managed to give birth to a centralized Albanian state (Arberia), and his flag became the national flag of Albania. The XVIII century marks the flourishing of two Albanian very well organized and very powerful "Patriarchies": The Patriarchy of Bushatllinj (with ShkodŽra as its center and governed by Karamahmut Pasha Bushatlli); and the Patriarchy of Ioaninna, with Ioaninna as its center and governed by Ali Pashe TepelenŽa). The peak of the struggle for independence and national identity was reached with the Albanian Renaissance Movement, which starts in 1830. In 1878, this movement was very well organized under the League of Prizren, which served as the first military and political leadership of the Albanian uprisings. But, unfortunately enough, in the same year, the Congress of Berlin decided the division of the Albanian territories to the benefit of the neighboring states, Montenegro, Serbia and Greece. Nevertheless, the Albanian movement for freedom was crowned with the Proclamation of Independence, on November 28, 1912. During the years of the World War I, Albania was converted into a battlefield for the combating powers, and it was invaded consequently by the Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, France and Austro-Hungary. In 1920, the Congress of Lushnja (a town 90 km south to TiranŽa), with the consensus of all the representatives from all over Albania declared TiranŽa to be the Capital of Albania. On January 21, 1925, the Constitutional Assembly declared Albania a Parliamentary Republic and Ahmet Zog was elected President of Albania, but he had so much power in his hands that, in fact, the Republic functioned as a Presidential one. On September 1, 1928, the Constitutional Assembly declared Albania Democratic Parliamentary Kingdom and Ahmet Zog the King of Albania, receiving the royal title "Zog I". On April 7, 1939, fascist Italy invaded Albania, and consequently on April 12, 1939, the so-called Constitutional Assembly declared the end of Zog's Kingdom and offered the crown to Victor Emanuel III. The Albanian State formally remained a Constitutional Kingdom under the Savoy Dynasty. On November 29, 1944, Albania was liberated from the nazi-fascist invaders. Since then, Albania was ruled by the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, which influenced into the countryís isolation. On January 11, 1946, the Constitutional Assembly declared Albania a People's Republic, as one of the forms of the proletarian dictatorship, which lasted, more or less, half a century, until April 29, 1991, when the first pluralistic Parliament declared the Parliamentary Republic of Albania.
Political System Parliamentary Republic There is an one-room parliament and there are 155 deputies, who are elected, by general elections, once in four year.
The President of the Republic Mr. Bamir Topi, elected by the Peopleís Assembly on July 20, 2007 for a five-year period
The Chairman of the Council of Ministers Mr. Sali Berisha (Democratic Party), decreed by the President of the Republic Albania, 2005.
The Government State Coalition between the Democratic Party, Socialist Party for Integration and Republican Party,
Constitution The new Constitution of the Republic of Albania was approved by popular referendum on November 28, 1998.
National Anniversary November 28, 1912 (Independence Day)
Flag The national flag of the Republic of Albania represents a black bicephalous eagle with open wings situated in the middle of a red background. Emblem
Economy Albanian economy is considered as Trade Economy in transition. The private sector occupies the major part of GDP. To be mentioned in the Strategy of the Albanian Economic Development for the years 2000-2003, are its overall structural reform according to the standards of the countries with a strong trade economy, the privatization of strategic sectors, and the stabilization of macro-economic indexes with the final goal to increasing of the investments through implementation of the Public Investmentsí Program and attraction of Direct Foreign Investments. The close co-operation with international organizations such as: World Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Union, EBRD etc. are assurances for a steady economic development and termination of the transition stage, whereas the implementation of the Stability Pact constitutes one of the main engagements of the Government for the social-economic development of the country with the final view to getting integrated in the Euro-Atlantic structure.
Natural Properties Underground properties (Petrol, natural gas, chrome, coal, copper, iron-nickel, ores, marble stone); Considerable Hydro Resources; Considerable Areas of Woods and Pasturage (about 38% of the territory of the country).There are non-exploited resources in the fields of Tourism Ė Blue, Green and White Tourism.
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