General information about Albania
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 and 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.
Coastal areas: Central Mediterranean, mild and wet winter, hot and dry summer.
Alpine areas: Central Continental, cold and wild winter, wet summer.
Lowland – Western Albania, Plain – Eastern Albania, Alpine – Northern Albania, the Highest Peak – Korabi Mountain (2,753m)
The population of Albania numbers 3,150,886. The vast majority of inhabitants are Albanian, with ethnic minorities representing only about 2% of the population. The minority population is comprised primarily of Greeks and Macedonians. (World Bank 2009).
Tirana (since 1920)
Durres, Vlora, Saranda, Shkodra, Berat, Korca, Gjirokastra, Elbasani,
Official Language - Albanian
Albanian is an Indo-European language and it represents a separate branch of this family on the bases of its idiosyncrasy. The Greek geographer, Ptholemeous, has witnessed the existence of Albanians and Albanian language in the second century AD. The name "Shqipëri" (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 Albanian language is also used (written & spoken) in the parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia, where ethnic Albanians live.
Albania is Parliamentary Republic.
Flag description: The national flag of the Republic of Albania represents a black bicephalous eagle with open wings situated in the middle of a red background.
Territories of today's Albania have been populated before 100,000 years.
At the beginning of the third millennium before Christ, was established population Indo - European. As a result of this blend was created a population that retained the characteristics of specific cultural and language in the Balkan peninsula (pellazgët). Based on the older population, between the II Millennium and the first century before Christ was created Illyrian population.
The Greeks arrived in Epidamos (today Durrës) Butrint and Apoloni in 7 century before Christ to decide where colonies of them - run. As well as Greeks, the Illyrians even though under Roman domination for centuries failed to preserve their language and traditions.
The most important trade route between Rome and Kostandinopoli was Egnatia road which passed through the port of Durres. At the end of 14 century, Albania was occupied by the Roman Empire. From 1443 until 1468 national hero Scanderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti) led the Albanian resistance, winning the 25 battles against Turkish. For a very short time, after the death of Scanderbeg, the Ottoman failed to Albanian resistance, taking control of the country in 1479.
26 years later, Kostandinopoli crashed. More than 400 years, Albania has been under the Ottoman regime. Successive revolt and efforts brought the Independence in 1912.
Since from 1912 until the end of the First World War our country was attacked by neighboring states. The country was occupied by Mussolini's forces in 1939, ending the regime of the monarchy that lasted 11 years. In 1943 the country was occupied by German forces. Resistance to foreign attacks is known as Anti-Fascist National Liberation front.
Communism took over in November 1944, when foreign forces left the country.
Eventually, the totalitarian regime was established under the leadership of the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For 50 years, the country was in complete isolation, a result of politics (policy) that was pursued at that time. The policy of self isolation left the country in economic poverty until 1991.
From 1991 until 1997 the country was led by the Democratic Party, and later by the Socialist Party and its allies (2005-2007). After the last elections on 3 July 2005, the coalition of the Democratic Party took the power again. Albanian policy aims to integrate the country into the European Union.
Albania, a formerly closed, centrally-planned state, is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. Macroeconomic growth averaged around 6% between 2004 - 2008, but declined to about 2% in 2009. Inflation is low and stable. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime, and recently adopted a fiscal reform package aimed at reducing the large gray economy and attracting foreign investment. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad representing about 15% of GDP, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. The agricultural sector, which accounts for over half of employment but only about one-fifth of GDP, is limited primarily to small family operations and subsistence farming because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. The completion of a new thermal power plant near Vlore has helped diversify generation capacity, and plans to upgrade transmission lines between Albania and Montenegro and Kosovo would help relieve the energy shortages. Also, with help from EU funds, the government is taking steps to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $22.59 billion (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.1% (2009 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 20.6%, industry: 18.8%, services: 60.6% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line: 25% (2004 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (2009 est.)
Labour force: 1.103 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (2009 est.)
Industries: food processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Exports - commodities: textiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports - partners: Italy 55.9%, Greece 11.6%, China 7.2% (2008)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports - partners: Italy 32.2%, Greece 13.1%, Turkey 7.2%, Germany 6.6%, China 4.5%, Russia 4.4% (2008)
Debt - external: $1.55 billion (2004 est.)
Currency: Lek (ALL)
Source: 2010 CIA World Factbook