Albania, Europe

Albania (Albanian: Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in the Balkans. Its neighbors are Montenegro in the north, Kosovo in the northeast, North Macedonia in the east and Greece in the south. The country also has coastlines on the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 mi) from Italy across the Strait of Otranto between the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

Albania is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, the Central European Free Trade Agreement, the Francophone and the Union for the Mediterranean as a founding member. Albania is also an official candidate of the European Union.

The present-day territory of Albania became part of the Roman provinces at various points in history, such as Dalmatia (southern Illyria), Macedonia (especially Epirus Nova) and Moesia Superior. The modern republic, on the other hand, emerged after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe after the Balkan Wars. Albania, which became independent in 1912, came under the Italian protectorate between 1917-1920. During World War II, the Principality became a Republic and a Kingdom until it was occupied by Fascist Italy in 1939 and by Nazi Germany in 1943. In 1944, the occupation of Albania ended and the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania was established under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Labor Party. In 1991, the socialist rule ended and multi-party rule was introduced.

Albania has a parliamentary democracy and a transition economy. Tirana, the capital city of Albania, is home to approximately 421,286 of the 2,831,741 people in the country, compared to 763,634 in the metropolitan area. Free market reforms have opened the door to foreign direct investment in the country, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructures. Albania has a high HDI and offers a universal health system and free primary and secondary education. Albania has an upper-middle-income economy, with the service sector dominating the country’s economy, followed by industry and agriculture.


Ancient history

The Pelasgians are seen as the origin of the Albanians. The Pelasgians are known as the oldest tribe in Europe. The Greeks also trace their roots to the Pelasgians. Many historians are of the opinion that the Illyrians and Pelasg were related to the Dorians from the Hellenic tribes and were the founders of Hellenic culture.

Albanians are the continuation of the ancient Illyrians by historians. Ancient Illyria was the coastal region of present-day Dalmatia (present-day Croatia and Montenegro) and many Roman Emperors originated from this region.

Illyrians, one of the founding peoples of the Roman Empire, in the 7th-8th century as a result of the attack and destruction of the Roman Empire by the Germanic, Hun and Slavs in the 5th century. After centuries, it gradually passed into the hands of the Slavs and the region began to be called Croatia and Montenegro after the Middle Ages. In the 20th century, the ‘Yugoslav’ state, which means ‘South Slavs’, was established in this region.

Albanians especially emphasize that they are one of the oldest peoples of Europe and that they are the only Balkan nation that does not base its national identity (belonging) on ​​religious differences.

The Albanian language (Arn. Shqip, Shqipja, gjuha shqipe, gjuha shqiptare) is an original branch of the Indo-European language family. In Albanian, there are Greek and Serbian words due to being neighbors for a long time and 1000 years of Byzantine rule, and Turkish and Arabic words due to 437 years of Ottoman rule. It has many similarities with Latin and Germanic languages, especially Italian, French and German. Still, Albanian is a pure language as a vocabulary.

There are linguistic hypotheses that Ancient Greek and Etruscan are also directly related to Illyrian and Albanian.


The spread of Christianity to Albania in Antiquity took place very early. The city of Durres is one of the oldest episcopal centers in the world. St. Paul introduced Christianity to Illyria as early as the 1st century.

In the Council of Nicaea in 325, all Illyria was left to Roman administration. In 731, the Byzantine Emperor III. Leo connected the Metropolis of Durrës to Byzantium. In 927, when Byzantium was compelled to accept the Bulgarian Patriarchate, the Albanian Church was also attached to the Independent Diocese of Ohrid, hence the 1st Bulgarian Empire. In 1018 Byzantium recaptured the area. Although the great split (Schisma) between the Roman and Byzantine Churches in 1054 had no effect on the Albanian Church at first, in the 13th century the Albanian Churches were also split between two rivals, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Roman and Byzantine Churches. A split between the Albanian Orthodox Church and the Albanian Catholic Church emerged in the Middle Ages.

Illyria region, one of the founding peoples of the Roman Empire, in the 7th-8th century as a result of the attack and destruction of Rome by the Germans, Huns and Slavs in the 5th century. After centuries, it gradually passed into the hands of the Slavs and the region began to be called Serbian Kingdom, Croatia and Montenegro after the Middle Ages. In the 20th century, the state of ‘Yugoslavia’, meaning ‘South Slavs’, was established in this region. However, Albanians have always claimed rights in this region.

Due to the fact that the region was on the border of the Eastern and Western Roman Empires in the Middle Ages, Albanians VI. After the century, they preferred Catholicism by entering the patronage of Venice, the most powerful city in the west, against the danger of Slavicization, but Kosovo and today’s Serbian regions, which remained further east, quickly entered into Slavic assimilation and Orthodoxy. .

As the Eastern Rome entered the process of collapse after the 13th century, the Ottomans coming from the east seized the region in the 15th century, broke the resistance that lasted for more than 40 years under the leadership of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti (Iskender Bey), and captured the region in 1478. These developments caused hundreds of thousands of Albanians to migrate to Italy and especially to Sicily and Calabria. Italian Albanians are known as ‘Arberesh’.

The complete separation (Schisma) of the East-West/Orthodox-Catholic Churches in 1054 did not have a great impact on Albania at first. The two churches coexisted side by side without competing with each other. However, with the establishment of the Benedictine Monastery in Bar after the 12th century, the influence of Rome and the Catholic Church increased in northern Albania. In Durrës, the Orthodox Church was more dominant. In the 13th century, the Catholic-Orthodox segregation became more evident in Albania. The south of the country was indisputably dominated by Orthodoxy. The Albanian coast was attacked by the Normans during this period.

In the Middle Ages, Albanians were generally called Arber. This was also the name of the people who lived in the Arbanon Kingdom, which was formed in the area of ​​Kroya Castle at the end of the 12th century. This Catholic Kingdom was formed by separating from the administration of Kroya, which was affiliated with the Orthodox Church.

After 1204, Albania first fell under the Despotate of Epirus, and in 1230 by the Second Bulgarian Empire. However, the Bulgarians were expelled from the region by the Byzantines in 1246 and the Despotate of Epirus was re-established under Byzantine tutelage. During this period, the city of Durres was frequently occupied by the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The Serbs captured Shkodra in the first half of 1280.

The Albanian Catholic Church survived the rule of Serbian Tsar Stefan Dushan from 1342-1355 unscathed. After the death of the Serb Tsar and the dissolution of the Serbian Kingdom, the noble Albanian dynasty SAR took power in the Zeta region and northern Albania. The Ballshas converted from Orthodoxy to the Roman-Catholic Church in 1368. The establishment of the carrion diocese also took place during this period.

Ottoman period

Ottoman Turks began to raid Anatolia and the Balkan Peninsula from the 14th century. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire captured the territory of present-day Albania, along with most of the Balkan Peninsula.

After the death of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti), it did not take even ten years for the Ottomans to take over the northern part of Catholic Albania. In 1479, the Venetian State made a peace treaty with the Ottomans and left Shkodra and Carrion to the Ottomans. In 1501, Durres, the center of the diocese, passed into the hands of the Ottomans. After that, the majority of Catholic Albanians lived under de facto Islamic rule. The Ottoman dominance was only in the coastal areas at first. Islamic domination could not enter the regions of Merdita, Dukagin and Malesia e Madhe tribes. There were many rebellions against Ottoman rule in these regions between 1490 and 1550. After the death of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, the Leka Dukagin, Muzaka and Thopia families continued the resistance.

After the Albanian resistance, which lasted for a long time and never ended, was broken by the Ottomans, in the 15th and 16th centuries, around half a million Albanians who did not want to convert to Islam were forced to flee to Italy (Arberesh).

After the Ottoman conquest of Albania, Islam joined the Albanians as a third religion. After the 17th century, Albanians, like other Balkan nations, became Muslim. However, when Albanians became Muslim, they did not become Turkic like Greeks, Georgians, Circassians and Laz, but stubbornly preserved their Albanian culture and ancestry, and after the 17th century, they seized many positions such as the Grand Viziership, the Pasha, and the Valide Sultanate, despite other numerous ethnic groups. In this way, they both strengthened their positions and kept assimilation to a minimum for themselves with great skill. Despite the Ottomans’ policy towards the Albanian Catholic Church, the Albanian Orthodox Church did not suffer any repression, and it also experienced a growth and development after the 17th century. In the last period of the Ottoman Empire, the north of the country was within the borders of Shkodra, the center of Manastır and the south of Ioannina. In the 1st Balkan War, the country was invaded and looted by Montenegro, Serbia and Greece. The Kingdom of Albania was established with the intervention of Italy and Austria-Hungary. In World War I, Montenegro was the battleground of Austria-Hungary, Greece and Italy.

Government and politics

The Republic of Albania is governed by a parliamentary republic based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, established in 1998 under a renewed constitution. The Constitution constitutes the supreme law of the Republic of Albania.

In Albania, the president is the head of state. The President is elected for a period of 5 years by the parliament by secret ballot, which requires 50%+1 majority of votes of all MPs every 5 years. The current president is Ilir Meta, who was elected in July 2017. The President has powers such as guaranteed observance of the constitution and all laws, being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, performing the duties of the parliament when the parliament is not in session, and appointing the prime minister.

Executive power rests with the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers. The prime minister is appointed by the president, while the ministers are appointed by the president on the basis of the prime minister’s proposal. The Assembly has to give final approval to the composition of the board. The Board is responsible for the execution of its internal and external policies. These ministries direct and control the activities of other government bodies. The current prime minister is Edi Rama, who took office on September 15, 2013.

The Albanian Assembly is the unicameral legislature of Albania. There are 140 deputies elected by the proportional representation system in the parliament. The president of the parliament, who has two vice presidents, presides over the council. There are 15 standing commissions or committees. Parliamentary elections are held at least every four years. In the direction of domestic and foreign policy, such as parliamentary constitutional amendment or ratification, declaring war on another state, ratifying or repealing international treaties, electing the president, supreme court and attorney general or his deputies, and overseeing state radio and television, state news agency and other official information media work. has decision-making power.


The Albanian Armed Forces (Albanian: Forcat e Armatosura të Shqiperise) was established in 1912 after Albania’s independence. The number of active soldiers, which was 65,000 in 1988, was reduced to 14,500 in 2009, and the army mainly consists of a small fleet of aircraft and naval vessels. In the 1990s, a large amount of Chinese-made tanks and old military equipment, such as surface-to-air missile systems, was decommissioned. Compulsory military service was abolished in 2010.

Today, the Albanian Armed Forces; It consists of the General Staff, the Land Forces, the Air Force, the Naval Defense Forces, the Albanian Logistics Brigade and the Training and Doctrine Command. Increasing the military budget was one of the most important conditions for its integration into NATO. Military expenditures amounted to about 2% of GDP in 2008. Since February 2008 Albania formally participates in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean.] Albania received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008 and has been a NATO member since 1 April 2009.


Albania is administratively divided into provinces (Albanian: qark, plural qarku; common prefekturë plural prefektura), provinces into districts (Albanian: rreth, plural rrethe), and in these districts into municipalities (Albanian: komunë). 73 of these municipalities have city (Albanian: bashki) status. These municipalities are divided into cities (Albanian: qytete) or villages (Albanian: fshatra).

Albania is administratively divided into 12 provinces.

Population (2020)HDI (2018)


Albania has a surface area of 28,748 square kilometers. Albania is located between 39° and 43° N latitudes and mostly between the 19° and 21° E meridians. Albania has a coastline of 611 km and stretches along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It rubs the western face of the Adriatic Sea.

70% of the country is mountainous, rugged and generally inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab Mountain, 2764 m high, located in Debre district. The climate on the coast is a typical mild Mediterranean climate with mild and rainy winters and sunny and rather dry summers.


Although privatizations and restructuring of the laws have contributed to the progress, problems remain due to the effects of the old structure: The growth of the economy depends on the aid of international monetary institutions, money sent by Albanians living in foreign countries and construction works. A third of the population still works and subsists in agriculture, which provides a quarter of the gross national product. No progress has been made in tourism so far. In the 2008 report of the World Bank, 12.4% of the Albanian population was described as poor. The average monthly income appears to be 28,322 Lek in 2006 data. (Approximately 225 Euros)

Inflation rates
Year Ratio

2007 2.9%
2006 2.5%
2005 2%
2004 2.2%
2003 3.3%
2002 1.7%
2001 3.5%
2000 4.2%
1999 -1%
1998 8.7%
One of the major problems of the country is the weak infrastructure. Most of the roads are in very bad condition, although improvements have been made on many of the main roads. Water is provided in a limited way for a very short time during the day, and power cuts are a daily routine, especially in winter. This situation not only affects foreign investors, but also prevents domestic enterprises from doing efficient and low-cost business. The closure of the Bulgarian Nuclear power plant in Kosloduj in late December 2006 has made the infrastructure much more difficult. Getting almost all of its electricity only from Hydroelectric power plants, Albania had to import electricity from Bulgaria, as did most of its neighbors. In recent years, since the harsh winter months have caused the dams to fill up, electricity generation has become increasingly regular. In addition, the renewal of many Hydroelectric Power Plants and electricity networks has increased the electricity production on the one hand and reduced the losses in transportation on the other hand.

The gross national product in 2006 amounted to 9.1 Billion USD. This represents a 5% growth in 2006. (2005: 5.5%) The growth of the economy is due to the development of the construction sector and the efficiency of the small enterprises and service sector. The agricultural sector and mining contributed very little to this growth due to the losses suffered by the energy crisis. The agricultural sector, with 20.7%, has an important place in the gross national product as it used to be. The largest share is in the service sector with 46.4%, followed by the construction sector with 14.3%. The share of industry was 9.7%, while the share of transportation was 8.9%. The growth of the gross national product was 4.7% in 2002 and 6% in 2003.

Unemployment rate in 2006 was 13.8%. In 2007, this rate was 13.8%. Official statements do not show real unemployment rates. For example, family members working in small farm holdings are not considered unemployed. However, a family living together with about 6 adults cultivates a field of maximum two or three decares.

Gasoline pumps in Malkasra
The Central Bank (Bank e Shqipërisë) is responsible for monetary policy, emission and supervision of banks. Former central bank Banka e Kursimeve was bought by Austrian bank Raiffeisen International in 2004 and became a leading financial institution in the country under the name Raiffeisen Bank Albania.

In the coming years, oil and natural gas resources discovered in the recent past are expected to be one of the factors shaping the economy. 3,014 Mia. m3 natural gas and 2,987 Mia. Barrel oil extraction is estimated.


Agriculture in Albania, which is a traditional agricultural country, is one of the most important sectors of the country. Approximately one fourth of the country’s surface area of ​​28,748 km2 can be used as agricultural land. Weather conditions are suitable for all kinds of agriculture and animal husbandry. Soil quality varies from region to region.

Agriculture has an important place in the gross national product with a share of 22%. In 2004, 60% of the working population was working in the agricultural sector. Agricultural management is mostly done with traditional methods. Efficiency is low. The main problems are the lack of sufficient capital for investments in machinery, facilities and soil productivity improvement, insufficient irrigation facilities, old production methods and difficulties in entering the market. The fact that agricultural lands are in very scattered places and the psychological pressure of cooperatives are other basic problems. These problems will hinder the development of Albanian agriculture for many years.

Implementation of quality standards, improvement of education, product diversity and introduction of new distribution channels will lead to an improvement in agricultural products in terms of quality and quantity in the short and medium term, and the country’s basic food (Fruit, vegetables, milk, grain) and semi-finished and finished products (Meat and dairy products, canned fruits and vegetables, honey and spices) will meet their needs.

Fiscal policy

Albania’s fiscal policy showed a rapid recovery. In 2006, the country’s debt fell to around 55.9% of its gross national product. According to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank data, an improvement is seen. From 2005 to 2008, investments increased from 5.6% to 9.3%. Investments are planned to increase to 90.4 Billion Lek in 2009, 94 Billion Lek in 2010 and 108 Billion Lek in 2012.

Science and technology

Expenditure on development and scientific research in Albania does not exceed 0.18% of GDP, the lowest level in Europe. Economic competition and exports are low, with the economy still heavily leaning towards low technology.

Since 1990, human resources in science and technology have drastically decreased. Many studies show that around 40% of professors and research assistants in universities and science institutes in the country migrated between 1990-1999.

Worsening economic living conditions are shown as the cause of brain drain, there is a lack of financial funds and artistic infrastructure that poses serious obstacles to research. However, in 2009, the government accepted the “National Strategy in Science, Technology and Innovation in Albania” covering the years 2009-2015. The document is prepared by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Donor Coordination and Strategy Department, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science and with the assistance of UNESCO.

This document contains five strategic goals for 2015:

  • Public expenditures will be tripled for research and development (R&D), 0.6% of GDP will be allocated
  • Increasing the share of foreign resources in gross domestic expenditure on R&D, including through the European Union’s Framework Programs for Research, and making them meet 40% of research expenditures
  • Establishment of four or five Albanian centers of excellence in science, containing laboratory equipment and workspace that can be used for pre-incubation, testing, certification, etc., of new technology-based companies,
  • Doubling the number of researchers, both the promotion of “brain drain reversal” – such as the grant program for returning researchers – and the training of new researchers, including 500 PhDs: this requires the establishment of three new doctoral programs in Albanian universities
  • Promoting innovation in 100 companies, both through local R&D investments and through academic research institutes or consortia with foreign partners

This strategy will be implemented in synergy with other sectoral strategies and taking into account the Albanian Higher Education Strategy and the National Development and Integration Strategy (2007–2013) adopted in 2008. Another issue emphasized is the importance of modernizing economic sectors such as the agri-food industry and tourism. In addition, the strategic importance of the use of energy, environmental and water resources are other issues that are emphasized. Sides; He suggested that priority should be given to research areas such as agriculture and food, information and communication technologies (ICT), public health, Albanology and humanities, natural resources, biotechnology, defense and aggression.

The European Union (EU) has set clear targets for innovation and research as part of its Lisbon Strategy to become the most competitive economy in the world. Aiming to join the EU like others of the Western Balkan countries, Albania has been in the process of development, which has focused on laying the foundations for economic growth in recent years.

Deputy Prime Minister Genc Pollo states that “Albania’s membership process to NATO (now a member) requires high socio-economic development rates and it is necessary to strengthen the role of innovation, technology and science in our EU accession society”.

In August 2009, the government approved the establishment of the Albanian Institute for Research, Technology and Innovation to improve the implementation of this policy (I could not find a good Turkish for facilitating, better implementation).

In 2006, the Albanian government considered a serious reform of the scientific research system. The Academy of Sciences was reorganized in line with the model of many other European countries; With the new regulation, it will be managed by selected scientists and will no longer manage the research institutes, they will be integrated into the higher education system. Two new faculties were established: the Faculty of Biotechnology and Food at the Agricultural University of Tirana and the Faculty of Information Technologies at the Polytechnic University of Tirana in Tirana. The University of Tirana also has a center for Applied and Nuclear Physics and a Department of Biotechnology. Twelve technology transfer centers and government agencies were also established.

Until recently, R&D and innovation statistics in Albania did not reach OECD, Eurostat or UNESCO standards. The first study of academic and public institutions began earlier this year, and the study of R&D and innovation in business is still ongoing, with the support of UNESCO.

Restrictive visa regulations also prevent scientific exchange and temporary employment abroad.

Albania has a total of 578 scientific workers:

274 of them at the Academy of Sciences
304 of them are in the R&D institutes of the Ministries
The number of R&D personnel in Albania is about 0.2 per 1000 people.


Nationalities: Albanians: 79.9%, Romanian: 9.5%, Greeks: 3.2%, Gypsies: 2.7%, Serbs: 1.2%, Macedonians: 1.1%, remaining: 2.4% . Source: “Operation World”



The language spoken in the country is Albanian. Albanian (Albanian language represents a different branch of Indo-European language). The first document in accordance with today’s Albanian language coincides with 1462. The first literary work is “Meshari” by the famous linguist Gjon Buzuku, published in 1555. Since these two main periods, the Albanian language has been studied in dialect. These; “Gegerisht” (Albanian) and “Toskerisht” (Albanian) are the spoken dialects. At the 1908 Mantır National Congress, it was decided to use the 36 letters of the consecutive alphabet and the Latin alphabet. Albanian (speaking and language) is also used by Albanians living in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbian font and North Macedonia.


Muslims make up 58.79% of the country, Christians 17% and atheists 2%. In the country, the Orthodox sect is more dominant than the Catholicism. The Catholic population is estimated at around 300,000, while those of the Orthodox denomination exceed 500 thousand. All churches and mosques were closed under Enver Hoxha and Albania officially became the first atheist state in the world in 1967, but in the early 1990s the term was removed from the constitution. According to today’s constitution, the country is a secular state where freedom of religion and belief is respected.


Before the communist rule came to power, 85% of the people in Albania were illiterate. I and II. Between the years of World War II, the number of schools was very few. When the communist government came to power in 1944, it primarily sought to eradicate ignorance. Strict regulations were introduced and all illiterates between the ages of 12 and 40 were charged with attending classes to learn how to read and write. By 1955, illiteracy among the adult population had been largely eliminated.

Today, the overall literacy rate in Albania is 98.7%, which is 99.2% for men and 98.3% for women. Educational services were transformed by large population movements towards urban areas in the 1990s. Founded in October 1957, the University of Tirana is the oldest university in Albania.


The healthcare system in the country experienced a sharp decline after the collapse of communism, but has been in a process of modernization since 2000. As of the 2000s, the country had 51 hospitals, including a military hospital and specialist facilities. Albania has successfully prevented diseases such as malaria.

With a life expectancy of 77.59 years, it has the same indicators as the European Union countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic and ranks 51st in the world. The most common causes of death are circulatory and cancer diseases. The Demographic and Health Survey conducted a survey in Albania in April 2009 detailing various health statistics including male circumcision, abortion and more.

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’s 2010 list ranked Albania 57th among the top 100 countries in the world.



The Albanian flag is a red flag with a black double-headed eagle in the centre. The red color represents the courage, strength and magnificence of the Albanian people, and the black color as a symbol of freedom and heroism. The eagle has been used by Albanians since the Middle Ages, including the Principality of Arbër and numerous ruling families such as Kastrioti, Muzaka, Thopia and Dukagjini.


Albanian cuisine is a synthesis of Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. It has developed in close connection with the historical background. In this respect, it is possible to see the Greek, Italian and Ottoman influences. The main meal in Albanian cuisine is lunch. Salads, fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh green peppers, olives, olive oil and salt are often used. Seafood cuisine has developed in coastal cities such as Durrës, Avlonya and Ayasaranda. In the mountainous regions, the consumption of smoked meat is high.


Sports in Albania have gained intensity especially on Football. Administratively, football is managed by the Albanian Football Federation (Albanian: Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit, F.SH.F.), which was founded in 1930. The Federation is a member of UEFA and FIFA.

Albania national football team
Albania national basketball team
Albania national futsal team
Albania national under-21 football team