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					Albania
     Republic of Albania

     Republika e Shqipërisë




                Flag                                       Coat of arms



      Motto: (official)


     "Ti, Shqipëri, më jep nder, më jep emrin Shqipëtar" (Albanian)
     "You, Albania, give me honor, give me the name Albanian"


      Anthem:


     Rreth flamurit te përbashkuar [1]
     Himni i Flamurit    (Albanian)

     United around the flag




    Location of Albania (green)
    in Europe (dark grey) — [Legend]

      Capital                               Tirana
      and largest city                           41°20′N 19°48′E


      Official languages                    Albaniana


      Ethnic groups                        95% Albanians[2]
                                           3%-6% Greeks[2][3][4][5][6]
                                           2% others (Aromanians,Macedonians etc.)[2]


      Government                            Unitary parliamentary republic

      - President                           Bujar Nishani

      - Prime Minister                      Sali Berisha

      - Speaker of the Parliament           Jozefina Topalli


      Legislature                           Parliament


      Formation
    - Principality of Arbër              1190

    - League of Lezhë                    2 March 1444

    - Independence             from      28 November 1912
        the Ottoman Empire

    - Recognized by the Great            29 July 1913
        Powers

    - Current constitution               28 November 1998


   Area

    - Total                              28,748 km2 (143rd)
                                         11,100 sq mi

    - Water (%)                          4.7

   Population

    - 2011 census                        2,821,977[7]

    - Density                            98.5/km2 (63)
                                         251.11/sq mi


   GDP (PPP)                             2011 estimate

    - Total                              $24.910 billion[8]

    - Per capita                         $8,853[8]


   GDP (nominal)                         2011 estimate

    - Total                              $12.847 billion[8]

    - Per capita                         $4,536[8]


   Gini (2005)                           26.7[9] (low)


   HDI (2011)                                  0.739[10] (high / 70th)


   Currency                              Lek (ALL)


   Time zone                             CET (UTC+1)

    - Summer (DST)                       CEST (UTC+2)


   Date format                           dd/mm/yyyy


   Drives on the                         right


   Calling code                          355


   ISO 3166 code                         AL

   Internet TLD                          .al

   a.
        Greek, Vlach, Macedonian and other regional languages are government-
        recognized minority languages.


Albania (        /ælˈbeɪniə/ al-BAY-nee-ə, Albanian: Shqipëri/Shqipëria; Gheg
                 i
                                                                                Albanian: Shqipni/Shqipnia),        officially   known    as
the Republic of Albania(Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë pronouncedAlbanian         pronunciation: [ɾɛpuˈblika   ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːs]), is a country
in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered byMontenegro to the northwest, Kosovo (Disputed) to the northeast, Macedonia to the
east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on theAdriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the
southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links theAdriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
Albania is a member of the UN, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World
Trade Organisation,Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean.
Albania has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and it formally applied for EU
membership on 28 April 2009.[11]

The    modern-day       territory     of    Albania   was   at   various   points   in   history     part   of   the   Roman   provinces
of Dalmatia (southern Illyricum), Macedonia (particularlyEpirus Nova), and Moesia Superior. The modern Republic became
independent after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe following the Balkan Wars.[12] Albanians had for almost five
centuries been at the heart of a sprawling empire in which they enjoyed a privileged position as administrators and
generals.[13] Albania declared independence in 1912 (to be recognised in 1913), becoming a Principality, Republic,
and Kingdom until being invaded byItaly in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, which in turn became a Nazi protectorate in
1943.[14] In 1944, a socialist People's Republic was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour. In
1991, the Socialist republic was dissolved and the Republic of Albania was established.

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.[15]Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the
development of energy and transportation infrastructure.[16][17][18]Albania was chosen as the No.1 Destination in Lonely Planet's
list of ten top countries to visit for 2011.[19]

Etymology and terminology

Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country which is called Shqipëri by its people. In Medieval Greek, the country's name
is Albania besides variants Albanitia, Arbanitia.

The name may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of the Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer
from Alexandria who drafted a map in 150 AD[20] that shows the city of Albanopolis[21] (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.[22] 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 againstConstantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke
of Dyrrachium.[23] During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër orArbën and referred to themselves
as Arbëresh or Arbnesh.[24][25]

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".[26][27] 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. [28] The word is considered to be a metathesis from the
word Arvanite, which was the Medieval Greek name for the Albanians.[29]

History

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) and Macedonia(particularly Epirus Nova). 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.
Ottoman Period




Sanjak of Albania in 1431


At the dawn of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe, the geopolitical landscape was marked by
scattered kingdoms of small principalities. The Ottomans erected their garrisons throughout southern Albania by 1415 and
established formal jurisdiction over most of Albania by 1431.[30] Along with the Bosniaks, Muslim Albanians occupied an
outstanding position in the empire, and were the main pillars of Ottoman policy in the Balkans. [31]




Köprülü Mehmed Pashawas the most effective and influential Ottoman Grand Vizier of Albanian origin.[32]


Enjoying this privileged position in the empire, Muslim Albanians held various administrative positions, with over two
dozen Grand Viziers of Albanian origin, such as Gen. Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, who commanded the Ottoman forces during
the Ottoman-Persian Wars; Gen. Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed, who led the Ottoman army during the Austro-Turkish War (1663–1664);
and, later, Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt. In the 15th century, when the Ottomans were gaining a firm foothold in the region,
Albanian towns were organised into four principal sanjaks. The government fostered trade by settling a sizeable Jewish colony
of refugees fleeing persecution in Spain (at end of the 15th century). Vlorë saw passing through its ports imported merchandise
from Europe such as velvets, cotton goods, mohairs, carpets, spices and leather from Bursa and Istanbul. Some citizens of
Vlorë even had business associates in Europe.[33]

Albanians could also be found throughout the empire, in Iraq, Egypt, Algeria and across the Maghreb as vital military and
administrative retainers.[34] This owed largely to their early use as part of the Devşirme system. The process of Islamization was
an incremental one, commencing from the arrival of the Ottomans in the 14th century (to this day, a minority of Albanians are
Catholic or Orthodox Christians, though the vast majority became Muslim). Timar holders, the bedrock of early Ottoman control
in Southeast Europe, were not necessarily converts to Islam, and occasionally rebelled; the most famous of these rebels
is Skanderbeg (his figure would be used later in the 19th century as a central component of Albanian national identity). The
most significant impact on the Albanians was the gradual Islamisation process of a large majority of the population, although
such a process only became widespread in the 17th century. [35]Mainly Catholics converted in the 17th century, while
the Orthodox Albanians followed suit mainly in the following century. Initially confined to the main city centres
of Elbasan and Shkoder, by this period the countryside was also embracing the new religion. [36] The motives for conversion
according to scholars were diverse, depending on the context. The lack of source material does not help when investigating
such issues.[37]

Albania 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 the rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire.

Era of Nationalism




Proposed boundaries of the Principality of Albania (1912-1914).


The first organization that 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 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 Montenegrin troops, the league was forced to give up 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. [38] The uprisings of 1910–1912, the
Ottoman defeat in the Balkan Wars and the advancing Montenegrin, Serbian and Greek armies into the territories where
Albanians were majority, led to the proclamation of independence by Ismail Qemali in Vlora, on 28 November 1912.

Independence

Albania's independence was recognized by the Conference of London on 29 July 1913, but the drawing of the borders of
Albania ignored the demographic realities of the time.[39] 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.

Socialist Albania
After the liberation of Albania from Nazi occupation, the country 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, and the Party of Labour
of Albania.

The socialist reconstruction of Albania after WWII and the national liberation was launched immediately after the annulling of the
monarchy and the establishment of a "People's Republic". In 1947, Albania's first railway line was completed, with the second
completed within eight months after. After new laws of land reform, land was granted to workers and peasants who tilled the
land. Agriculture began to become cooperative labour and production increased significantly, leading to Albania becoming
agriculturally self-sufficient. By 1955, illiteracy was eliminated among Albania's adult population. [40]




Palace of Culture of Tirana, Albania whose first stone was symbolically thrown by Nikita Khrushchev


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% higher than the world
average and 56% higher than the European average. Also during this period, because of the monopolised socialist economy,
Albania was the only country in the world that imposed no imposts or taxes on its people whatsoever.[41]Hoxha's political
successorRamiz Alia oversaw the disintegration of the "Hoxhaist" state during the wider collapse of the Eastern Bloc in the later
1980s.

Religious freedoms were severely curtailed during this period, with many forms of worship being outlawed. In August 1945, the
Agrarian Reform Law meant that large swaths of property owned by religious groups (mostly Islamic waqfs) were nationalized,
along with the estates of monasteries and dioceses. Many believers, along with the ulema and many priests were arrested,
tortured and executed. In 1949, a new Decree on Religious Communities required that they and all their activities be sanctioned
by the state alone.[42] In 1967 Hoxha proclaimed Albania the world's first 'atheist state'. Hundreds of mosques, and dozens of
Islamic libraries - containing priceless manuscripts - were destroyed.[43] Churches were not spared either, and many were
converted into cultural centers for young people. The new law banned all "fascist, religious, warmongerish, antisocialist activity
and propaganda," -preaching religion carried a three to ten-year prison sentence. Nonetheless, many Albanians continued to
practice in secret.

Contemporary Albania

The People's Republic was dissolved in 1990, and the Republic of Albania was founded in 1991. The Communists retained a
stronghold in parliament after popular support in the elections of 1991. However, in March 1992, amid liberalisation policies
resulting in economic collapse and social unrest, a new front led by the new Democratic Party took power. The economic crisis
spread in 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.



Albanian state flag
                 Albanian     Declaration             of Declaration of independence of the Albanian Vilayet from the Ottoman Empire.
    1912
                 Independence                            Proclaimed in Vlorë on 28 November 1912.




                                                         Parliamentary state and assembly established in Vlorë on 28 November 1912.
    1912-1914    Independent Albania                     The     senate      were    established     on     4     December    1912.
                                                         Leader Ismail Qemali




    1914–                                                Short-lived      monarchy     headed     by William,    Prince   of    Albania
                 Principality of Albania
    1925                                                 until the abolition of the monarchy in 1925,




                                                         Official   name      as   enshrined    in     the   Constitution     of   1925.
    1925–
                 Albanian Republic                       A protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy after the Treaties of Tirana of 1926 and
    1928
                                                         1927




    1928–                                                Constitutional      monarchal rule      between        1928      and     1939.
                 Albanian Kingdom
    1939                                                 A de facto protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy




                                                         A protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy. Led by Italy's King Victor Emmanuel
    1939–                                                III
                 Albanian Kingdom under Italy
    1943                                                 Ruled by Italian governors after military occupation by Italy from 1939-1943.
                                                         Ceased to exist as an independent country. Part of the Italian Empire



    1943–                                                A de    jure independent      country,    between        1943    and     1944.
                 Albanian Kingdom under Germany
    1944                                                 Germans took control after the Armistice with Italy on 8 September 1943.




    1944–        People's   Socialist      Republic   of From 1944 to 1946 it was known as the Democratic Government of Albania.
    1992         Albania                                 From 1946-1976 it was known as the People's Republic of Albania.




                                                         In 1991 the Socialist Party of Albania took control through democratic
    since 1992   Republic of Albania                     elections.
                                                         In 1992 the Democratic Party of Albania won the new elections.





    George                            Kastrioti                          Skanderbeg,          national        hero

    (1405–1468)









    Ismail Qemali, hero of Albanian independence (1912–14)









    William of Albania, Prince (King) of Albania (7 March 1914 – 3 September 1914)









    President                                                                                            (1925–28)

    and                                                                 King                             (1928–39)

    Zog of Albania









    Enver                                                                                                   Hoxha

    (1944–1985)

    Administrative divisions

    Main articles: Counties of Albania, Districts of Albania, and Municipalities of Albania
Albania is divided into 12 administrative counties (Albanian: qark or prefekturë). These counties include 36 districts
(Albanian: rreth) and 373 municipalities (Albanian: bashki or komunë). 72 municipalities have city status (Albanian: qytet). There
are overall 2980 villages/communities (Albanian: fshat) in all Albania. Each district has its council which is composed of a
number of municipalities. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law
enforcement.[44]




    County    Capital    Districts      Municipalities Cities Villages



                         Berat          10             2      122
1   Berat     Berat      Kuçovë         2              1      18
                         Skrapar        8              2      105



                         Bulqizë        7              1      63
2   Dibër     Peshkopi   Dibër          14             1      141
                         Mat            10             2      76



                         Durrës         6              4      62
3   Durrës    Durrës
                         Krujë          4              2      44



                         Elbasan        20             3      177
                         Gramsh         9              1      95
4   Elbasan   Elbasan
                         Librazhd       9              2      75
                         Peqin          5              1      49



                         Fier           14             3      117
5   Fier      Fier       Lushnjë        14             2      121
                         Mallakastër    8              1      40
                            Gjirokastër   11             2   96
6   Gjirokastër Gjirokastër Përmet        7              2   98
                            Tepelenë      8              2   77



                            Devoll        4              1   44
                            Kolonjë       6              2   76
7   Korçë       Korçë
                            Korçë         14             2   153
                            Pogradec      7              1   72



                            Has           3              1   30
8   Kukës       Kukës       Kukës         14             1   89
                            Tropojë       7              1   68



                            Kurbin        4              3   26
9   Lezhë       Lezhë       Lezhë         9              1   62
                            Mirditë       5              2   80



                            Malësi e Madhe 5             1   56
10 Shkodër      Shkodër     Pukë           8             2   75
                            Shkodër        15            2   141



                            Kavajë        8              2   66
11 Tirana       Tirana
                            Tirana        16             3   167



                            Delvinë       3              1   38
12 Vlorë        Vlorë       Sarandë       7              2   62
                            Vlorë         9              4   99


Government, politics and armed forces

The Albanian republic is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. Elections are held every
four years to a unicameral 140-seat chamber, the People's Assembly. In June 2002, a compromise candidate, Alfred Moisiu,
former Army General, was elected to succeed President Rexhep Meidani. Parliamentary elections in July 2005 brought Sali
Berisha, the leader of the Democratic Party, while on 20 July 2007 Bamir Topi became president. The current Albanian
president Bujar Nishani was elected by Parliament in July 2012.

The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU
membership bid has been set as a priority by the European Commission.

Albania, along with Croatia, joined NATO on 1 April 2009, becoming the 27th and 28th members of the alliance. [45]

Executive branch

The head of state in Albania is the President of the Republic. The President is elected to a 5-year term by the Assembly of the
Republic of Albania by secret ballot, requiring a 50%+1 majority of the votes of all deputies. The current President of the
Republic is Bujar Nishani elected on July 2012.

The President has the power to guarantee observation of the constitution and all laws, act as commander in chief of the armed
forces, exercise the duties of the Assembly of the Republic of Albania when the Assembly is not in session, and appoint the
Chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister).
Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Chairman of the Council (prime minister) is appointed by the
president; ministers are nominated by the president on the basis of the prime minister's recommendation. The People's
Assembly must give final approval of the composition of the Council. The Council is responsible for carrying out both foreign and
domestic policies. It directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state organs.


President           Bujar Nishani PD 24 July 2012



Prime Minister Sali Berisha          PD 9 September 2009


Legislative branch

The Assembly of the Republic of Albania (Kuvendi i Republikës së Shqipërisë) is the lawmaking body in Albania. There are 140
deputies in the Assembly, which are elected through a party-list proportional representation system. The President of the
Assembly (or Speaker), who has two deputies, chairs the Assembly. There are 15 permanent commissions, or committees.
Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years.

The Assembly has the power to decide the direction of domestic and foreign policy; approve or amend the constitution; declare
war on another state; ratify or annul international treaties; elect the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court, and the
Attorney General and his or her deputies; and control the activity of state radio and television, state news agency and other
official information media.




Patrol boat Iliria of the Albanian Navy


Armed forces
Main article: Military of Albania

The Albanian Armed Forces (Forcat e Armatosura të Shqipërisë) were first formed after independence in 1912. Albania reduced
the number of active troops from 65,000 in 1988[46] to 14,500 in 2009[47] and the military now consists mainly of a small fleet of
aircraft and sea vessels. In the 1990s, the country scrapped enormous amounts of obsolete hardware, such as tanks and SAM
systems from China.[citation needed]

Today, it consists of the General Staff Headquarters, the Albanian Land Forces, Albanian Air Force, Albanian Naval Defense
Forces, the Albanian Logistic Brigadeand the Albanian Training and Doctrine Command. Increasing the military budget was one
of the most important conditions for NATO integration. Military spending has generally been lower than 1.5% since 1996 only to
peak in 2009 at 2% and fall again to 1.5%.[48] Since February 2008, Albania participates officially in NATO'sOperation Active
Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea.[49] It received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008.[50] Albania became a full
member of NATO on 1 April 2009.

Geography
Satellite image of Albania




Ksamil islets.


Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometers. It lies between latitudes 39° and 43° N, and mostly between
longitudes 19°and 21° E (a small area lies east of 21°). Albania's coastline length is 611 km (380 mi)[51]:240 and extends along
the Adriatic andIonian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea. The 70% of the country that is mountainous is
rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the district of Dibër, reaching up to
2,753 metres (9,032 ft). The climate on the coast is typicallyMediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather
dry summers.

Inland conditions vary depending on altitude, but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy
in winter; here cold conditions with snow may linger into spring. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 800,000
inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word
can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are
used.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the
country's northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2 (140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to
Albania and rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country's
southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of
unique flora and fauna can be found there, including "living fossils" and many endemic species. Because of its natural and
historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO. There is also Butrinti Lake which is a small tectonic lake. It is
located in the national park of Butrint.

Climate




Albanian Alps


With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire
country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, Albania has a high
number of climatic regions relative to its landmass. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean weather; the highlands
have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to
south.

The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern
lowlands, temperatures average about5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than5 °C (9 °F) during
the summer and somewhat less during the winter.

Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures
in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas
and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins
and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.




Albanian landscape


Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the
continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central
uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these
storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.

When the continental air mass is weak, Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is a dominant
continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the season's
lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits, groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern
and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter temperatures.

Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher
levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.

Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual
averages are probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550 millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas.
The western Albanian Alps (valley of Boga) are among the wettest areas in Europe, receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain
annually.[52] The seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area.

The higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local
variations, but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area.

In 2009 an expedition from University of Colorado discovered four small glaciers in the 'Cursed' mountains in North Albania. The
glaciers are at the relatively low level of 2,000 meters – almost unique for such a southerly latitude.[53]

Flora and fauna




The lynx still survives in Albania.[54]


Although a small country, Albania is distinguished for its rich biological diversity. The variation of geomorphology, climate and
terrain create favorable conditions for a number of endemic and sub-endemic species with 27 endemic and 160 subendemic
vascular plants present in the country. The total number of plants is over 3250 species, approximately 30% of the entire flora
species found in Europe.

Over a third of the territory of Albania – about 10,000 square kilometers (2.5 million acres) – is forested and the country is very
rich in flora. About 3,000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal
purposes.Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Adriatic andEast
Mediterraneanprovinces of the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. Coastal regions and
lowlands have typical Mediterraneanmacchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found on higher altitudes. Vast
forests of black pine, beech and fir are found on higher mountains and alpinegrasslands grow at altitudes above 1800 meters.[55]
Golden eagle–the national symbol of Albania.[56]


According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment
Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed
forests and Dinaric Alpine mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild
boarsand chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

There are around 760 vertebrate species found so far in Albania. Among these there are over 350 bird species, 330 freshwater
and marine fish and 80 mammal species. There are some 91 globally threatened species found within the country, among which
theDalmatian pelican, Pygmy cormorant, and the European sea sturgeon. Rocky coastal regions in the south provide good
habitats for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal.

Some of the most significant bird species found in the country include the golden eagle – known as the national symbol of
Albania[56] – vulture species, capercaillieand numerous waterfowl. The Albanian forests still maintain significant communities of
large mammals such as the brown bear, gray wolf, chamois and wild boar.[55]The north and eastern mountains of the country are
home to the last remaining Balkan Lynx – a critically endangered population of the Eurasian lynx.[57]

Economy




Oil pumps near Mallakastra




Albanian farmworkers
Main article: Economy of Albania

See also: Agriculture in Albania

Albania's troubled transition from communist to free-market capitalism has been largely successful. There are signs of
increasing investments, and power cuts are reduced to the extent that Albania is now exporting energy. [58] Its GDP per
capita (expressed in PPS—Purchasing Power Standards) stood at 28 percent of the EU average in 2010.[59] Still, Albania has
shown potential for economic growth, as more and more businesses relocate there and consumer goods are becoming
available from emerging market traders as part of the current massive global cost-cutting exercise. Albania, Cyprus, and Poland
are the only countries in Europe that recorded economic growth in the first quarter of 2010. [60][61] International Monetary
Fund (IMF) predicted 2.6% growth for Albania in 2010 and 3.2% in 2011.[62]

Albania and Croatia have discussed the possibility of jointly building a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkoder, close to
the border with Montenegro, a plan that has gathered criticism from Montenegro due to seismicity in the area. [63] In addition,
there is some doubt whether Albania would be able to finance a project of such a scale with a total national budget of less than
$5 billion.[64] However, in February 2009 Italian company Enel announced plans to build an 800 MW coal-fired power plant in
Albania, to diversify electricity sources.[65] Nearly 100% of the electricity is generated by ageing hydroelectric power plants,
which are becoming more ineffective due to increasing droughts.[65]

The country has some deposits of petroleum and natural gas, but produced only 5,400 barrels of oil per day as of
2009.[66] Natural gas production, estimated at about 30 million cubic meters, is sufficient to meet consumer demands. [64] Other
natural resources include coal, bauxite, copper and iron ore.

Agriculture is the most significant sector, employing some 58% of the labor force and generating about 21% of GDP. Albania
produces significant amounts of wheat,corn, tobacco, figs (13th largest producer in the world)[67] and olives.

Tourism is gaining a fair share of Albania's GDP with visitors growing every year.

The workforce of Albania has continued to migrate to Greece, Italy, Germany, other parts of Europe, and North America.
However, the migration flux is slowly decreasing, as more and more opportunities are emerging in Albania itself as its economy
steadily develops.[citation needed]

Crime and Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement in Albania is primarily the responsibility of the Albanian Police. Albania also has a counter-terrorism unit
called RENEA. On a list of 75 countries, Albania listed at 17th lowest crime rate ahead of many western nations such as
Denmark, the United Kingdom, Sweden and France.[68] However, homicide is still a problem in the country, especially blood
feuds in rural areas of the north.[69] Although, most of these crimes are targeted at specific people and not random by passers.

Science and technology

Main article: Science and technology in Albania

From 1993 human resources in sciences and technology have drastically decreased. Various surveys show that during 1991–
2005, approximately 50% of the professors and research scientists of the universities and science institutions in the country
have emigrated.[70]

However in 2009 the government approved the "National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation in
Albania"[71] covering the period 2009–2015. It aims to triple public spending on research and development (R&D) to 0.6% of
GDP and augment the share of gross domestic expenditure on R&D from foreign sources, including via the European Union's
Framework Programmes for Research, to the point where it covers 40% of research spending, among others.
Transport

Highways




The A1 highway in Albania


Currently there are two main motorways in Albania: the dual carriageway connecting Durrës with Vlore and the Albania-Kosovo
Highway.

The Albania-Kosovo Highway links Kosovo to Albania's Adriatic coast: the Albanian side was completed in June 2009,[72] and
now it takes only two hours and a half to go from the Kosovo border to Durrës. Overall the highway will be around 250 km
(155 mi) when it reaches Pristina. The project was the biggest and most expensive infrastructure project ever undertaken in
Albania. The cost of the highway appears to have breached €800 million, although the exact cost for the total highway has yet to
be confirmed by the government.

Two additional highways will be built in Albania in the near future: Corridor VIII, which will link Albania with the Republic of
Macedonia and Bulgaria, and the north-south highway, which corresponds to the Albanian side of the Adriatic–Ionian motorway,
a larger regional highway connecting Croatia with Greece along the Adriaticand Ionian coasts. When all three corridors are
completed Albania will have an estimated 759 kilometers of highway linking it with all its neighboring countries: Kosovo, the
Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece.

Aviation




Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza


The civil air transport in Albania marked its beginnings in November 1924, when the Republic of Albania signed a governmental
agreement with German Air CompanyDeutsche Luft Hansa. On the basis of a ten-year concession agreement, the Albanian
Airlines Company Adria Aero Lloyd was established.[citation        needed]
                                                                             In the spring of 1925, the first domestic flights
                                           [citation needed]
from Tirana to Shkoder and Vlora began.

In August 1927, the office of Civil Aviation of Air Traffic Ministry of Italy purchased Adria Aero Lloyd. The company, now in Italian
hands, expanded its flights to other cities, such as Elbasan, Korça, Kukësi, Peshkopia and Gjirokastra, and opened up
international lines to Rome, Milan, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Belgrade, and Podgorica.
The construction of a more modern airport in Lapraka started in 1934 and was completed by the end of 1935. This new airport,
which was later officially named "Airport of Tirana", was constructed in conformity with optimal technological parameters of that
time, with a reinforced concrete runway of 2,700 m (8,858 ft), and complemented with technical equipment and appropriate
buildings.

During 1955–1957, the Rinasi Airport was constructed for military purposes. Later, its administration was shifted to the Ministry
of Transport. On 25 January 1957 the State-owned Enterprise of International Air Transport (Albtransport) established its
headquarters in Tirana. Aeroflot, Jat Airways, Malev, Tarom and Interflug were the air companies that started to have flights with
Albania until 1960.[73]

During 1960–1978, several airlines ceased to operate in Albania due to the impact of the politics, resulting in a decrease of
influx of flights and passengers. In 1977 Albania's government signed an agreement with Greece to open the country's first air
links with non-communist Europe. As a result, Olympic Airways was the first non-communist airline to commercially fly into
Albania after World War II. By 1991 Albania had air links with many major European cities, including Paris, Rome, Zurich,
Vienna and Budapest, but no regular domestic air service.[73]

A French-Albanian joint venture Ada Air, was launched in Albania as the first private airline, in 1991. The company offered
flights in a thirty-six-passenger airplane four days a week between Tirana and Bari, Italy and a charter service for domestic and
international destinations.[73]

From 1989 to 1991, because of political changes in the Eastern European countries, Albania adhered to the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO), opened its air space to international flights, and had its duties of Air Traffic Control defined. As a
result of these developments, conditions were created to separate the activities of air traffic control from Albtransport. Instead,
the National Agency of Air Traffic(NATA) was established as an independent enterprise. In addition, during these years,
governmental agreements of civil air transport were established with countries such as Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia, Italy,
Russia, Austria, the UK and Macedonia. The Directory General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was established on 3 February 1991, to
cope with the development required by the time. As of 2007 Albania has oneinternational airport: Tirana International Airport
Nënë Tereza. The airport is linked to 29 destinations by 14 airlines. It has seen a dramatic rise in passenger numbers and
aircraft movements since the early 1990s. The data for 2009 is 1.3 million passengers served and an average of 44 landings
and takeoffs per day.[citation needed]

Railways




Durrës Rail Station, the main railway station in Albania.


The railways in Albania are administered by the national railway company Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH) (which means Albanian
Railways). It operates a1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) gauge (standard gauge) rail system in Albania. All trains are hauled by Czech-
built ČKD diesel-electric locomotives.

The railway system was extensively promoted by the totalitarian regime of Enver Hoxha, during which time the use of private
transport was effectively prohibited. Since the collapse of the former regime, there has been a considerable increase in car
ownership and bus usage. Whilst some of the country's roads are still in very poor condition, there have been other
developments (such as the construction of a motorway between Tirana and Durrës) which have taken much traffic away from
the railways.[citation needed]

Demographics




Tirana, Albania's capital and largest city.



  Population in Albania[74]



  Year        Million



  1971        2.2



  1990        3.3



  2008        3.1



  2011        3.2



  Source: OECD/World Bank
Regions with a traditional presence of ethnic or linguistic groups other than Albanian.


According to the 2011 Census results, the total population of Albania is 2,821,977. Its population is relatively young by
European standards, with a median age of 28.9 years.[75] The fall of the Communist regime in 1990 Albania was accompanied
with massive migration. External migration was prohibited in Communist Albania while internal one was quite limited, hence this
was a new phenomenon. Between 1991 and 2004, roughly 900,000 people have migrated out of Albania, about 600,000 of
them settling in Greece.[76] Migration greatly affected Albania's internal population distribution. Population decreased mainly in
the North and South of the country while increased in Tirana and Durrëscenter districts.[citation needed]

Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate. "Although official statistics have suggested that Albania is one of
the most homogenous countries in the region (with an over 97 per cent Albanian majority) minority groups (such as Greeks,
Macedonians, Montenegrins, Roma and Vlachs/Aromanians) have often questioned the official data, claiming a larger share in
the country’s population."[77] The last census that contained ethnographic data (before the 2011 one) was conducted in 1989. [78]

According to the 2011 census the population of Albania declared the following ethnic affiliation: Albanians 2,312,356 or
82,58%,Greeks 24,243             or     0,87%, Macedonians 5,512                or   0,20%, Montenegrins 366   or   0,01%, Aromanians 8,266   or
0,30%,Romani 8,301 or 0,30%, Balkan Egyptians 3,368 or 0,12%, Other 2,644 or 009%, Undeclared 390,938 or 13,96%, Not
relevant 44,144 or 1,58%.[7] Macedonian and some Greek minority groups have sharply criticized Article 20 of the Census law,
according to which a $1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone who will declare an ethnicity other than what is stated on his or her
birth certificate. This is claimed to be an attempt to intimidate minorities into declaring Albanian ethnicity, according to them the
Albanian government has stated that it will jail anyone who does not participate in the census or refuse to declare his or her
ethnicity.[79] Genc Pollo, the minister in charge has declared that: "Albanian citizens will be able to freely express their ethnic and
religious affiliation and mother tongue. However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions". [80] The amendments
criticized do not include jailing or forced declaration of ethnicity or religion, only a fine is envisioned which can be overthrown by
court.[81][82] Greek representatives part of the Albanian parliament and government invited their co-ethnics to register as the only
way to improve their status.[83] On the other hand, nationalists,as well as intellectuals, various organizations and, political parties
in Albania have expressed their concern that the census might artificially increase the number of Greek minority which might be
then exploited by Greece and threaten Albania's territorial integrity. [84][85][86][77] Large parts of Albanians, similarly fear irredentist
claims on northern Epirus following Albanians changing their nationality to Greek due to monetary and other
benefits.[87][77][88][89][90]

Albania         recognizes         three       national        minorities, Greeks, Macedonians and Montenegrins,          and      two   cultural
                                                               [91]
minorities, Aromanians and Romani                    people.          Other      Albanian     minorities   are Bulgarians, Gorani, Serbs, Balkan
Egyptians, Bosniaks and Jews. Regarding the Greeks, "it is difficult to know how many Greeks there are in Albania. The Greek
government, it is typically claimed, says that there are around 300,000 ethnic Greeks in Albania, but most western estimates are
around 200,000 mark (although EEN puts the number at a probable 100,000). The Albanian government puts the number at
only 60,000."[92] The CIA World Factbookestimates the Greek minority at 3% of the total population and the US State
Department uses 1.17% for Greeks and 0.23% for other minorities.[93]

Language
Main article: Languages of Albania

Albanian is the official language of Albania. Its standard spoken and written form is revised and merged from the two main
dialects, Gheg and Tosk; though, it is notably based more on the Tosk dialect. Shkumbin River is the rough dividing line
between the two dialects. Also a dialect of Greek that preserves features now lost in standard modern Greek is spoken in areas
inhabited          by       the Greek       minority.        Other            languages     spoken    by   ethnic     minorities    in   Albania
include Vlach, Serbian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Gorani, and Roma.[94] Macedonian is official in Pustec Municipality in
East Albania. According to the 2011 population census, 2,765,610 or 98.767% of the population declared Albanian as their
mother tongue ("mother tongue is defined as the first or main language spoken at home during childhood").[7]

Religion




Et'hem Bey Mosque in Tirana




10th century Church of Virgin Mary


Main article: Religion in Albania

See also: Freedom of religion in Albania

The 2011 Census had declared the following religious affiliations: 56.7% Islam, 10.03% Roman Catholic, 6.75% Albanian
Orthodox, 5.49% Unaffiliated, 2.5% Atheist, 2.09% Bektashi, 0.14% Protestant/Evangelical. [95] The CIA World Factbook gives a
distribution of 70% Muslims, 20% Eastern Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholics.[96] A Pew Research Center demographic study
from 2009 put the percentage of Muslims in Albania at 79.9%.[97] In 2009 According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, 38.8%
of Albanians are Muslim, 16.1% Orthodox, 16.8% Roman Catholics and Nonreligious 16.6%. [98] According to the US State
Department, estimates for active participation in religious services are between 25 and 40%. [99] Gallup Global Reports 2010
shows that religion plays a role to 39% of Albanians, and puts Albania in the list of the 14 least religious countries in the world,
with Albania the thirteenth least religious country in the world.[100]

The Albanians first appear in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the late-11th century. At this point, they were already
fully Christianised. Christianity was later overtaken by Islam during the centuries of Ottoman rule. After independence (1912)
from the Ottoman Empire, the Albanian republican, monarchic and later Communist regimes followed a systematic policy of
separating religion from official functions and cultural life. Albania never had an official state religion either as a republic or as a
kingdom. In the 20th century, the clergy of all faiths was weakened under the monarchy, and ultimately eradicated during the
1940s and 1950s, under the state policy of obliterating all organized religion from Albanian territories.

The Communist regime that took control of Albania after World War II persecuted and suppressed religious observance and
institutions and entirely banned religion to the point where Albania was officially declared to be the world's first atheist state.
Religious freedom has returned to Albania since the regime's change in 1992. Albanian Muslim populations (mainly secular and
of the Sunni branch) are found throughout the country whereas Orthodox Christians are concentrated in the south and Roman
Catholics are found in the north of the country. No reliable data are available on active participation in formal religious services,
but estimates range from 25% to 40%.[101]

The first recorded Albanian Protestant was Said Toptani, who traveled around Europe, and in 1853 returned to Tirana and
preached Protestantism. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities in 1864. Mainline evangelical Protestants
date back to the work of Congregational and later Methodist missionaries and the work of the British and Foreign Bible
Society in the 19th century. The Evangelical Alliance, which is known as VUSh http://www.vush.org/ was founded in 1892.
Today VUSh has about 160 member congregations from different Protestant denominations. VUSh organizes marches in Tirana
including one against blood feuds in 2010. Bibles are provided by the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania. The first full
Albanian Bible to be printed was the Filipaj translation printed in 1990.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church sent its first missionaries into Albanian territory as early as 1909. Following decades of
communist repression, The Albanian Mission of Seventh-day Adventists (http://adventist.al/) was re-established in Tirana in
1992 and has now over 10 churches and groups throughout the country. [102] Its humanitarian wing, the Adventist Development
and Relief Agency (ADRA) is renown for being the first humanitarian organization to enter post-communist Albania.[103]

There are about 4,000 active Jehovah's Witnesses in Albania.[104]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or 'Mormons') involvement in Albania began with humanitarian aid during
the 1990s. The first missionaries were sent in 1992 with the Albania Tirana Mission being opened in 1996. As of 2008, there
were nearly 2,000 members of the LDS church in Albania, spread throughout ten branches with two purpose-built chapels and
one Family History Center.[105]

Culture

Music and folklore




Berat
A traditional male folk group from Skrapar


Albanian folk music falls into three stylistic groups, with other important music areas around Shkodër and Tirana; the major
groupings are the Ghegs of the north and southern Labs and Tosks. The northern and southern traditions are contrasted by the
"rugged and heroic" tone of the north and the "relaxed" form of the south.

These disparate styles are unified by "the intensity that both performers and listeners give to their music as a medium for
patriotic expression and as a vehicle carrying the narrative of oral history", as well as certain characteristics like the use of
rhythms such as 3/8, 5/8 and 10/8.[106] The first compilation of Albanian folk music was made by Pjetër Dungu in 1940.

Albanian folk songs can be divided into major groups, the heroic epics of the north, and the sweetly melodic lullabies, love
songs, wedding music, work songs and other kinds of song. The music of various festivals and holidays is also an important part
of Albanian folk song, especially those that celebrate St. Lazarus Day, which inaugurates the springtime. Lullabies
and vajtims are very important kinds of Albanian folk song, and are generally performed by solo women.[107]

Albanian language and literature




Ismail Kadare at a reading, 2007


Albanian was proven to be an Indo-European language in 1854 by the German philologist Franz Bopp. The Albanian language
comprises its own branch of the Indo-European language family.

Some scholars believe that Albanian derives from Illyrian[108] while others[109] claim that it derives from Daco-Thracian. (Illyrian
and Daco-Thracian, however, might have been closely related languages; see Thraco-Illyrian.)

Establishing longer relations, Albanian is often compared to Balto-Slavic on the one hand and Germanic on the other, both of
which share a number of isoglosses with Albanian. Moreover, Albanian has undergone a vowel shift in which stressed,
long o has fallen to a, much like in the former and opposite the latter. Likewise, Albanian has taken the old relative jos and
innovatively used it exclusively to qualify adjectives, much in the way Balto-Slavic has used this word to provide the definite
ending of adjectives.

The cultural renaissance was first of all expressed through the development of the Albanian language in the area of church texts
and publications, mainly of the Catholic region in the North, but also of the Orthodox in the South. The Protestant reforms
invigorated hopes for the development of the local language and literary tradition when cleric Gjon Buzuku brought into the
Albanian language the Catholic liturgy, trying to do for the Albanian language what Luther did for German.




Excerpt from Meshari by Gjon Buzuku


Meshari (The Missal) by Gjon Buzuku, published in 1555, is considered the first literary work of written Albanian. The refined
level of the language and the stabilised orthography must be the result of an earlier tradition of written Albanian, a tradition that
is not well understood. However, there is some fragmented evidence, pre-dating Buzuku, which indicates that Albanian was
written from at least the 14th century.

The     earliest    evidence       dates     from     1332 AD        with    a    Latin     report    from    the   French   Dominican   Guillelmus
Adae, Archbishop ofAntivari, who wrote that Albanians used Latin letters in their books although their language was quite
different from Latin. Other significant examples include: a baptism formula (Unte paghesont premenit Atit et Birit et spertit senit)
from 1462, written in Albanian within a Latin text by the Bishop of Durrës, Pal Engjëlli; a glossary of Albanian words of 1497 by
Arnold von Harff, a German who had travelled through Albania, and a 15th century fragment of the Bible from the Gospel of
Matthew, also in Albanian, but written in Greek letters.




The National Museum of Albania features exhibits from Illyrian times to the fall of Communism in the 1990s.


Albanian writings from these centuries must not have been religious texts only, but historical chronicles too. They are mentioned
by the humanist Marin Barleti, who, in his book Rrethimi i Shkodrës (The Siege of Shkodër) (1504), confirms that he leafed
through such chronicles written in the language of the people (in vernacula lingua).

During     the     16th   to    17th    centuries,      the catechism E          mbësuame       krishterë (Christian   Teachings)   (1592)   by Lekë
Matrënga, Doktrina e krishterë (The Christian Doctrine) (1618) and Rituale romanum (1621) by Pjetër Budi, the first writer of
original Albanian prose and poetry, an apology for George Castriot (1636) by Frang Bardhi, who also published a dictionary
and folklore creations, the theological-philosophical treaty Cuneus Prophetarum (The Band of Prophets) (1685) by Pjetër
Bogdani, the most universal personality of Albanian Middle Ages, were published in Albanian. The most famous Albanian writer
is probably Ismail Kadare.

Education

Before the establishment of the People's Republic, Albania's illiteracy rate was as high as 85%. Schools were scarce
between World War I and World War II. When the People's Republic was established in 1945, the Party gave high priority to
wiping out illiteracy. As part of a vast social campaign, anyone between the ages of 12 and 40 who could not read or write was
mandated to attend classes to learn. By 1955, illiteracy was virtually eliminated among Albania's adult population.[110] Today the
overall literacy rate in Albania is 98.7%; the male literacy rate is 99.2% and female literacy rate is 98.3%.[2] With large population
movements in the 1990s to urban areas, the provision of education has undergone transformation as well. The University of
Tirana is the oldest university in Albania, founded in October 1957.

Sport




Qemal Stafa Stadium in Tirana


Football is the most popular sport in Albania, both at a participatory and spectator level. The sport is governed by the Football
Association of Albania (Albanian:Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit, F.SH.F.), created in 1930, member of FIFA and a founding
member of UEFA. Other sports played include basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, rugby union, and gymnastics.


    Albania national football team

    Albania national basketball team

    Albania national futsal team
Entertainment

Radio Televizioni Shqiptar (RTSH) is the public radio and TV broadcaster of Albania, founded in 1938 in Tirana. RTSH runs
three television stations named Televizioni Shqiptar (TVSH, TVSH 2, and TVSH Sat), and three radio stations, using the
name Radio Tirana in addition to 4 regional radio stations. The international service broadcasts radio programmes in Albanian
and seven other languages via medium wave(AM) and short wave (SW).[111] The international service has used the theme from
the song "Keputa një gjethe dafine" as its signature tune. The international television service via satellite was launched since
1993 and aims at Albanian communities in Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and northern Greece, plus the
Albanian diaspora in the rest of Europe. RTSH has a past of being heavily influenced by the ruling party in its reporting, whether
that party be left or right wing.

According the National Council of Radio and Television (KKRT), Albania has an estimated 257 media outlets, including 66 radio
stations and 67 television stations, with three national, 62 local and more than 50 cable TV stations. Last years Albania has
organized several shows as a part of worldwide series like Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother Albania, Albanians Got
Talent, The Voice of Albania, and X-Factor Albania.

Health

Health care has been in a steep decline after the collapse of socialism in the country, but a process of modernization has been
taking place since 2000.[112] As of the 2000s (decade), there were 51 hospitals in the country, including a military hospital and
specialist facilities.[112] Albania has successfully eradicated diseases such as malaria.
Life expectancy is estimated at 77.59 years, ranking 51st worldwide, and outperforming a number of European Union countries,
such as Hungary and the Czech Republic.[113] The most common causes of death are circulatory disease followed by cancerous
illnesses. Demographic and Health Surveys completed a survey in April 2009, detailing various health statistics in Albania,
including male circumcision,abortion and more.[114]

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tirana is the main medical school in the country. There are also nursing schools in
other cities. Newsweek ranked Albania 57 out of 100 Best Countries in the World in 2010.[115]

The general improvement of health conditions in the country is reflected in the lower mortality rate, down to an estimated 6.49
deaths per 1,000 in 2000, as compared with 17.8 per 1,000 in 1938. In 2000, average life expectancy was estimated at 74
years, compared to 38 years at the end of World War II. Albania's infant mortality rate, estimated at 20 per 1,000 live births in
2000, has also declined over the years since the high rate of 151 per 1,000 live births in 1960. There were 69,802 births in 1999
and the fertility rate in 1999 was 2.5 while the maternal mortality rate was 65 per 100,000 live births in 1993. In addition, in 1997,
Albania had high immunization rates for children up to one year old: tuberculosis at 94%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus,
99%; measles, 95%; and polio, 99.5%. In 1996, the incidence of tuberculosis was 23 in 100,000 people. In 1995 there were two
reported cases of AIDS and seven cases in 1996. As of 2000 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at less
than 100. The leading causes of death are cardiovascular disease, trauma, cancer, and respiratory disease. [citation needed]

Cuisine

The cuisine of Albania – as with most Mediterranean and Balkan nations – is strongly influenced by its long history. At different
times, the territory which is now Albania has been claimed or occupied by Greece, Serbia, Italy and the Ottoman Turks and
each group has left its mark on Albanian cuisine. The main meal of Albanians is the midday meal, which is usually accompanied
by a salad of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and olives with olive oil, vinegar and salt. It also
includes a main dish of vegetables and meat. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal cities
of Durrës, Sarandë and Vlorë. In high altitude localities, smoked meat and pickled preserves are common.

				
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