Albania - The Land of the Eagle Sons
Albania, the land of the Skipetars or the land of the sons of the eagles, as
it is called in Albanian, has retained something of its wildness and loneliness
that fascinated Kara Ben Nemsi (Karl May) to this day.
The largely untouched nature is breathtakingly beautiful and free from mass
tourism. You can enjoy the beauty of Lake Ohrid or Lake Prespa on the border
with North Macedonia in the vicinity of small fishing villages, or sunbathe on
the beach on the Adriatic coast. Those who have had enough of swimming can visit
the many cultural sites and the old cities that testify to the long and eventful
history of Albania.
Traveling in the country is still sometimes adventurous. The roads are
largely unpaved and are often still used by ox and horse carts.
The few railway lines are single-track and the locomotives are still powered
by diesel. So you have to take some time to travel the country. The effort will
certainly be rewarded. The people are open and friendly, and you can certainly
count on a friendly little invitation here and there. But the traces of the war
can still be seen. There is still a risk of mines on the border with
Kosovo. Albania is still one of the poorest countries in Europe.
What no one could have imagined 20 years ago became reality on April 1st,
2009. Together with Croatia, the country became a member of the 28-member NATO.
It is interesting that between 1972 and 1984 around 173,370 small and large
bunkers were built by the dictator Enver Hodscha (1908-1985) to protect the
country against external enemies.
|Name of the country
||Republic of Albania
|Form of government
||Between approximately 39º - 42º north latitude and approximately 19º - 21º east longitude
||Hymni i Flamurit
||November 28 and 29 (declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912; end of the Italian-German occupation in 1944)
||approx. 3.2 million (Credit:
||Albanians 95%, Greeks 3% and others 2%
||Muslim 70%, Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
||Albanian, in the south a minority speak Greek.
||Tirana with around 650,000 residents
||since April 1, 2009
||Korabi with a height of 2,751 m
||Inside with a length of around 285 km
||Shkodra Lake with an area of about 391 km²
|International license plate
||1 Lek (Lek) = 100 Qindarka
|Time difference to CET
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||220 V, 50 Hz
|Internet Top Level Domain (TLD)
Before the year 1000
Abbreviationfinder website, from 1100 to approx. 450 BC There were the first fortified settlements
of the Illyrians, one of the oldest peoples in Europe. The last
Illyrian king was defeated by the Romans.
167/165 BC BC Albania was occupied by the Romans and added to the Roman
Empire. In 390 Albania was assigned to the Byzantine Empire. Slavic ethnic
groups invaded the country from 500 AD.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
Around 1000 the name Albanians appeared for the first time for small mountain
principalities, some of which were under Venetian and partly Byzantine rule.
Between 1081 and 1185 the Normans invaded the area.
Between 1000 and 1500 the first Bulgarian empire, the Serbian empire and the
kingdom of Naples fought over the area.
Today's national hero, Prince Gjergj Kastrioti, united the Albanians for the
first time in 1444 and used them to repel the invading Ottomans. Ten years after
his death (1458), i.e. in 1478, the Ottomans finally conquered the country. Many
Albanians fled to Italy, the others converted to Islam. In 1614 Tirana
18th and 19th centuries
In 1878 the first attempts at autonomy against the Ottomans emerged, which
were represented by the League of Prizren (in today's Kosovo) at the Berlin
20th century until today
The autonomy movements led to a rebellion against the Turks in 1910.
In 1912 Serbs, Montenegrins and Greeks declared war on the Turks and invaded
Albanian territory. The first Balkan War broke out. On November 28, 1912, Ismael
Kemal proclaimed the independence of Albania in Valona. But Albania did not
achieve full independence until 1920. In 1913 the major European
powers England, Germany, Russia, Austria - Hungary, France and Italy agreed
to create an independent principality.
The German Prince Wilhelm zu Wied was appointed ruler of Albania. But he left
the country again six months later.
In 1920 Albania gained full independence and was admitted to the League of
In 1922 Zogu became prime minister and Albania was modernized with Italian
help. In 1924 Zogu had to flee to Yugoslavia because of a revolt. The new
government under Noli tried to establish a western-oriented democracy, but
failed, among other things for financial reasons. In 1925 Zogu recaptured
Yugoslavia with armed support and in 1928 proclaimed a monarchy. This had close
contact to fascist Italy under Mussolini, which exerted a strong influence on
In 1939 Italy occupied Albania.
From September 8th, 1943 to November 29th, 1944 Albania was under German
January 11th, 1946 the monarchy was abolished by Enver Hoxha, the leader of
the communist party, who proclaimed the People's Republic of Albania. With the
support of Tito, he formed a popular front government.
In 1946 the new constitution came into force.
In 1948 Albania distanced itself from the Yugoslav communists and came closer to
On April 14th, 1955 Albania became a member of the Warsaw Pact.
In 1955 Albania was also admitted to the UN. In 1968, the country withdrew from
the Warsaw Pact to express its protest against the invasion of Russian troops
In 1978 Albania also broke with communist China. Hoxha died on April 11th,
1985 and Ramiz Alia took over the leadership of the Communist Party. The first
cautious opening of the country began under him. A multi-party system was
approved under Ramiz Alia in 1990 after violent protests and emigration
Albania has been a parliamentary republic since 1991.
The first free elections since World War II took place in March. Various
governments were formed and, in 1992, new elections were held, which the
Democratic Party won.
In 1996 the Democrats won the election a second time. At the beginning of the
year, due to the collapse of certain investment systems in which almost the
entire population had invested (the so-called pyramid games), there was
Large parts of the industry and infrastructure were destroyed.
The country came under the control of armed groups for a short time. In early
1997, President Berisha resigned from the Democratic Party.
OSCE auxiliaries were sent into the country on April 11, 1997 to prevent a
complete breakdown of order. In June 1997 new elections were called under the
supervision of the OSCE, in which Fatos Nano was elected Prime Minister by the
Socialist Party. Opposition politician Hajdari was assassinated in September,
after which the prime minister's office was occupied and Pandeli Majko of the
Socialist Party became the new prime minister.
On November 28, 1998, a modern democratic constitution came into effect.
In 1999 the country experienced a wave of refugees from Kosovo. NATO soldiers
were stationed in Albania to protect the country from a possible Yugoslav attack
and to support the approximately 600,000 refugees. In 1999 Ilir Meta became
Prime Minister of the Socialist Party.
In 2001 parliamentary elections were held again, which resulted in a clear
victory for the Socialist Party. In 2002 Pandeli Majko became prime minister
again. In 2003 there were first negotiations for a stabilization and association
agreement with the EU. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the SP lost its
majority. From now on, the Democratic Party was again the government holder.
Together with Croatia, the country became a member of the 28-member NATO on
April 1, 2009.