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Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:52


Albania (Listeni/ælˈbeɪniə/ al-BAY-nee-ə, Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria; Gheg Albanian: Shqipnia), officially known as the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë pronounced Albanian pronunciation: [ɾɛpuˈblika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːs]), is a country in Southern Europe.

In the heart of the Mediterranean, on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania is fast becoming one of the world's most interesting getaways. Still relatively unspoiled by globalization, tourists will notice an inspiring mixture of civilizations and cultures - making this European country truly unique.
Nestled in between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, and across the Adriatic from Italy, Albania boasts blue and turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, snow peaked mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. As well as stunning nature, Albanians themselves are famous for their hospitality, and tourists are welcomed with heart-warming generosity.

Albanian history and culture is fascinating. Butrint, one of the world's archeological wonders - and a UNESCO World Heritage site - in the south of Albania provides a glimpse of Mediterranean civilization from the Bronze Age through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods - all atop a cliff overlooking Corfu. It's not to be missed!

Home of both Mother Theresa and the great 15th Century hero Skanderbeg, Albania today offers not only beach and mountain holidays, but also a vibrant city life, a relaxing outdoor cafe culture and you will see that it's quickly evolving in a myriad of directions.

Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a transition economy. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to 421,286 of the country's 2,831,741 people.[9] Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure.[10][11][12] Albania was chosen as the No.1 Destination in Lonely Planet's list of ten top countries to visit for 2011.

Come - discover Albania for yourself!


The name is derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria who drafted a map in 150 ADthat shows the city of Albanopolis[16] (located northeast of Durrës).


The name may have a continuation in the name of a medieval settlement called Albanon and Arbanon, although it is not certain this was the same place.[17] In his History written in 1079–1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium.[18] During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër or Arbën and referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbnesh.

As early as the 16th century the placename Shqipëria and the ethnic demonym Shqiptarë gradually replaced Arbëria and Arbëresh. While the two terms are popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" and "Children of the Eagles", they derive from the adverb shqip, which means "understanding each other".

Under the Ottoman Empire Albania was referred to officially as Arnavutluk and its inhabitants as Arnauts (officially, Arnavutlar). These terms remain the same officially and in common usage in the current Republic of Turkey.The word is considered to be a metathesis from the word Arvanite, which was the Medieval Greek name for the Albanians.

 

The history of Albania emerged from the prehistoric stage from the 4th century BC, with early records of Illyria in Greco-Roman historiography. The modern territory of Albania has no counterpart in antiquity, comprising parts of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularly Epirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The territory remained under Roman (Byzantine) control until the Slavic migrations of the 7th century, and was integrated into the Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century.

The territorial nucleus of the Albanian state formed in the Middle Ages, as the Principality of Arbër and the Kingdom of Albania. The first records of the Albanian people as a distinct ethnicity also date to this period. In 15th century there was a series of confrontations between Albanians led by Scanderbeg and the advancing Ottoman Empire. Soon after the death of Scanderbeg, upon the successful Ottoman siege of Shkodra in 1478, the organized resistance ceased and the country became part of Ottoman Empire. It remained under Ottoman control as part of the Rumelia province until 1912, when the first independent Albanian state was declared. The formation of an Albanian national consciousness dates to the latter 19th century and is part of the larger phenomenon of rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire.

The first organization which opposed the partition of Albania and pushed for greater autonomy was the League of Prizren, formed on 1 June 1878, in Prizren, Kosovo. The League of Prizren used military force to prevent the annexing of northern Albanian areas assigned to Montenegro, and Serbia, and southern Albanian areas assigned to Greece by the Congress of Berlin. After several battles with the Montenegran troops, the league was forced to cede Ulcinj to Montenegro and then was defeated by the Ottoman Army sent by the Sultan in order to prevent the league from achieving autonomy for Albania.[25] The uprisings of 1910–1912, and the Ottoman defeat in the Balkan Wars, and the advancing Montenegran, Serbian, and Greek armies into the territory of what is now Albania, led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali in Vlora, on 28 November 1912. Albania's independence was recognized by the Conference of London on July 29, 1913, but the drawing of the borders of Albania ignored the demographic realities of the time.[26]

The short-lived monarchy (1914–1925) was succeeded by an even shorter-lived first Albanian Republic (1925–1928), to be replaced by another monarchy (1928–1939), which was annexed by Fascist Italy and then by Nazi Germany during World War II.

After the liberation of Albania from Nazi occupation, Albania became a socialist republic, the People's Republic of Albania (renamed "the People's Socialist Republic of Albania" in 1976), which was led by Enver Hoxha (died 1985) and the Party of Labour of Albania. During this period, Albania became industrialised and saw rapid economic growth, as well as unprecedented progress in the areas of education and health. The average annual rate of increase of Albania's national income was 29 per cent higher than the world average and 56 per cent higher than the European average.[27] Hoxha's political heir Ramiz Alia oversaw the disintegration of the "Hoxhaist" state during the wider collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the later 1980s.

The Hoxhaist regime collapsed in 1990, and the Republic of Albania was founded in 1991. The old communist party was routed in the elections of March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest. An economic crisis spread in the late 1996 following the failure of some Ponzi schemes operating in the country, peaking in 1997 in an armed rebellion, that led to another mass emigration of Albanians, mostly to Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and North America.

In 1999 the country was affected by the Kosovo War, when a great number of Albanians from Kosovo found refuge in Albania.

Albania became a full member of NATO in 2009. The country is applying to join the European Union.

 

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Last Updated on Saturday, 12 May 2012 09:49