Context of Albania

Albania ( (listen) a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə; Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is situated in the Balkans, and is located on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the Mediterranean Sea and shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. The country displays varied climatic, geological, hydrological, and morphological conditions, in an area of 28,748 km2 (11,100 sq mi). The landscape ranges from the snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps and the Korab, Skanderbeg, Pindus, and Ceraunian Mountains, to the hot and sunny coasts ...Read more

Albania ( (listen) a(w)l-BAY-nee-ə; Albanian: Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is situated in the Balkans, and is located on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the Mediterranean Sea and shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. The country displays varied climatic, geological, hydrological, and morphological conditions, in an area of 28,748 km2 (11,100 sq mi). The landscape ranges from the snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps and the Korab, Skanderbeg, Pindus, and Ceraunian Mountains, to the hot and sunny coasts of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas along the Mediterranean. Tirana is its capital and largest city, followed by Durrës, Vlorë, and Shkodër.

Albania has been controlled by different civilisations over time, such as the Illyrians, Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. The Albanians established the autonomous Principality of Arbër in the 12th century. The Kingdom of Albania and Principality of Albania formed between the 13th and 14th centuries. Prior to the Ottoman conquest of Albania in the 15th century, the Albanian resistance to Ottoman expansion into Europe led by Skanderbeg won them acclaim over most of Europe. Albania remained under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries, during which many Albanians (known as Arnauts) attained high-ranking offices in the empire, especially in the Southern Balkans and Egypt. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, cultural developments, widely attributed to Albanians having gathered both spiritual and intellectual strength, conclusively led to the Albanian Renaissance. After the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars, the modern nation state of Albania declared independence in 1912. In the 20th century, the Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy, which formed Greater Albania before becoming a protectorate of Nazi Germany. Enver Hoxha formed the People's Socialist Republic of Albania after World War II, modeled under the terms of Hoxhaism. The Revolutions of 1991 concluded the fall of communism in Albania and eventually the establishment of the current Republic of Albania.

Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. It is a developing country, ranking 67th in the Human Development Index, with an upper-middle income economy dominated by the service sector, followed by manufacturing. It went through a process of transition following the end of communism in 1990, from centralised planning to a market-based economy. Albania provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. Albania is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, COE, OSCE, and OIC. It has been an official candidate for membership in the European Union since 2014. It is one of the founding members of the Energy Community, including the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Union for the Mediterranean.

More about Albania

Basic information
  • Currency Albanian lek
  • Native name Shqipëria
  • Calling code +355
  • Internet domain .al
  • Mains voltage 220V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 6.11
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 2793592
  • Area 28748
  • Driving side right
History
  • Prehistory
     
    The remains of the Kamenica Tumulus in the county of Korçë

    The first attested traces of Neanderthal presence in...Read more

    Prehistory
     
    The remains of the Kamenica Tumulus in the county of Korçë

    The first attested traces of Neanderthal presence in the territory of Albania dates back to the middle and upper Paleolithic period and were discovered in Xarrë and at Mount Dajt in the adjacent region of Tirana.[1] Archaeological sites from this period include the Kamenica Tumulus, Konispol Cave and Pellumbas Cave.

    The discovered objects in a cave near Xarrë include flint and jasper objects along with fossilised animal bones, while those discoveries at Mount Dajt comprise bone and stone tools similar to those of the Aurignacian culture. They also demonstrate notable similarities with objects of the equivalent period found at Crvena Stijena in Montenegro and northwestern Greece.[1]


    Archaeological sites from this period include the Kamenica Tumulus, Konispol Cave and Pellumbas Cave. The discovered objects in a cave near Xarrë include flint and jasper objects along with fossilised animal bones, while those discoveries at Mount Dajt comprise bone and stone tools similar to those of the Aurignacian culture. They also demonstrate notable similarities with objects of the equivalent period found at Crvena Stijena in Montenegro and northwestern Greece.[1]

    Multiple artefacts from the Iron and Bronze Ages near tumulus burials have been unearthed in central and southern Albania, which has similar affinity with the sites in southwestern Macedonia and Lefkada. Archaeologists have come to the conclusion that these regions were inhabited from the middle of the third millennium BC by Indo-European people who spoke a Proto-Greek language. Hence, a part of this historical population later moved to Mycenae around 1600 BC and properly established the Mycenaean civilisation.[2][3][4]

    Antiquity
     
    Founded in the 4th century BC, Scodra was a significant city of the Illyrian tribes of the Ardiaei and Labeates.

    In ancient times, the incorporated territory of Albania was historically inhabited by Indo-European peoples, among them numerous Illyrian tribes, Ancient Greeks and Thracians.

     
    Apollonia was an important Ancient Greek colony on the Illyrian coast along the Adriatic Sea and one of the western points of the Via Egnatia route, that connected Rome and Constantinople.

    The territory referred to as Illyria corresponded roughly to the area east of the Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean Sea extending in the south to the mouth of the Vjosë.[5][6] The first account of the Illyrian groups comes from Periplus of the Euxine Sea, an ancient Greek text written in the middle of the 4th century BC.[7] The west was inhabited by the Thracian tribe of the Bryges while the south was inhabited by the Ancient Greek-speaking tribe of the Chaonians, whose capital was at Phoenice.[7][8][9] Other colonies such as Apollonia, Epidamnos, and Amantia, were established by Ancient Greek city-states on the coast by the 7th century BC.[7][10][11]

     
    Coin with the image of Gentius of Illyria

    The Illyrian Taulanti were a powerful Illyrian tribe that were among the earliest recorded tribes in the area. They lived in a area that corresponds much of present-day Albania. Together with the Dardanian ruler Cleitus, Glaucias, the ruler of the Taulantian kingdom, fought against Alexander the Great at the Battle of Pelium in 335 BC. As the time passed, the ruler of Ancient Macedonia, Cassander of Macedon captured Apollonia and crossed the river Genusus (Albanian: Shkumbin) in 314 BC. A few years later Glaucias laid siege to Apollonia and captured the Greek colony Epidamnos. It was also him that granted the young Pyrrhus asylum, when his father was driven out of Epirus. Pyrrhus then was raised in Illyria. In 307 BC, Glaucias invaded Epirus and placed Pyrrhus on the throne at the age of eleven. However, his guardians ruled in his stead until he came of age.[12]

    The Illyrian Ardiaei tribe, centred in Montenegro, ruled over most of the territory of northern Albania. Their Ardiaean Kingdom reached its greatest extent under King Agron, the son of Pleuratus II. Agron extended his rule over other neighbouring tribes as well.[13] Following Agron's death in 230 BC, his wife, Teuta, inherited the Ardiaean kingdom. Teuta's forces extended their operations further southwards to the Ionian Sea.[14] In 229 BC, Rome declared war[15] on the kingdom for extensively plundering Roman ships. The war ended in Illyrian defeat in 227 BC. Teuta was eventually succeeded by Gentius in 181 BC.[16] Gentius clashed with the Romans in 168 BC, initiating the Third Illyrian War. The conflict resulted in Roman conquest of the region by 167 BC. The Romans split the region into three administrative divisions.[17]

    Middle Ages
     
    The town of Krujë was the capital of the Principality of Arbanon in the Middle Ages.

    The Roman Empire was split in 395 upon the death of Theodosius I into an Eastern and Western Roman Empire in part because of the increasing pressure from threats during the Barbarian Invasions. From the 6th century into the 7th century, the Slavs crossed the Danube and largely absorbed the indigenous Ancient Greeks, Illyrians and Thracians in the Balkans; thus, the Illyrians were mentioned for the last time in historical records in the 7th century.[18][19]

    In the 11th century, the Great Schism formalised the break of communion between the Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic Church that is reflected in Albania through the emergence of a Catholic north and Orthodox south. The Albanian people inhabited the west of Lake Ochrida and the upper valley of River Shkumbin and established the Principality of Arbanon in 1190 under the leadership of Progon of Kruja.[20] The realm was succeeded by his sons Gjin and Dhimitri.

    Upon the death of Dhimiter, the territory came under the rule of the Albanian-Greek Gregory Kamonas and subsequently under the Golem of Kruja.[21][22][23] In the 13th century, the principality was dissolved.[24][25][26] Arbanon is considered to be the first sketch of an Albanian state, that retained a semi-autonomous status as the western extremity of the Byzantine Empire, under the Byzantine Doukai of Epirus or Laskarids of Nicaea.[27]

     
    A relief of the Scuola degli Albanesi commemorating the siege of Shkodra. It illustrates Sultan Mehmet II laying siege to the Albanian town of Scutari, then part of Venetian Empire.

    Towards the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, Serbs and Venetians started to take possession over the territory.[28] The ethnogenesis of the Albanians is uncertain; however the first undisputed mention of Albanians dates back in historical records from 1079 or 1080 in a work by Michael Attaliates, who referred to the Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople.[29] At this point the Albanians were fully Christianised.

    Few years after the dissolution of Arbanon, Charles of Anjou concluded an agreement with the Albanian rulers, promising to protect them and their ancient liberties. In 1272, he established the Kingdom of Albania and conquered regions back from the Despotate of Epirus. The kingdom claimed all of central Albania territory from Dyrrhachium along the Adriatic Sea coast down to Butrint. A catholic political structure was a basis for the papal plans of spreading Catholicism in the Balkan Peninsula. This plan found also the support of Helen of Anjou, a cousin of Charles of Anjou. Around 30 Catholic churches and monasteries were built during her rule mainly in northern Albania.[30] Internal power struggles within the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century enabled Serbs' most powerful medieval ruler, Stefan Dusan, to establish a short-lived empire that included all of Albania except Durrës.[28] In 1367, various Albanian rulers established the Despotate of Arta. During that time, several Albanian principalities were created, notably the Principality of Albania, Principality of Kastrioti, Lordship of Berat and Principality of Dukagjini. In the first half of the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire invaded most of Albania, and the League of Lezhë was held under Skanderbeg as a ruler, who became the national hero of the Albanian medieval history.

    Ottoman Empire
    Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg 
    After serving the Ottoman Empire for nearly 20 years, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg deserted and began a successful rebellion against the empire that halted Ottoman advance into Europe for 25 years.
    Ali Pasha Tepelena 
    Ali Pasha Tepelena was a powerful autonomous Ottoman-Albanian ruler, governing over the Pashalik of Yanina.

    With the fall of Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire continued an extended period of conquest and expansion with its borders going deep into Southeast Europe. They reached the Albanian Ionian Sea Coast in 1385 and erected their garrisons across Southern Albania in 1415 and then occupied most of Albania in 1431.[31][32] Thousands of Albanians consequently fled to Western Europe, particularly to Calabria, Naples, Ragusa and Sicily, whereby others sought protection at the often inaccessible Mountains of Albania.[33][34]

    The Albanians, as Christians, were considered an inferior class of people, and as such they were subjected to heavy taxes among others by the Devshirme system that allowed the Sultan to collect a requisite percentage of Christian adolescents from their families to compose the Janissary.[35] The Ottoman conquest was also accompanied with the gradual process of Islamisation and the rapid construction of mosques which consequently modified the religious picture of Albania.

    A prosperous and longstanding revolution erupted after the formation of the Assembly of Lezhë until the Siege of Shkodër under the leadership of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, multiple times defeating major Ottoman armies led by Sultans Murad II and Mehmed II. Skanderbeg managed to gather several of the Albanian principals, amongst them the Arianitis, Dukagjinis, Zaharias and Thopias, and establish a centralised authority over most of the non-conquered territories, becoming the Lord of Albania.[36]

    Skanderbeg consistently pursued the goal relentlessly but rather unsuccessfully to constitute a European coalition against the Ottomans. He thwarted every attempt by the Ottomans to regain Albania, which they envisioned as a springboard for the invasion of Italy and Western Europe. His unequal fight against them won the esteem of Europe also among others financial and military aid from the Papacy and Naples, Venice and Ragusa.[37]

    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. The city of Vlorë saw passing through its ports imported merchandise from Europe such as velvets, cotton goods, mohairs, carpets, spices and leather from Bursa and Constantinople. Some citizens of Vlorë even had business associates throughout Europe.[38]

    The phenomenon of Islamisation among the Albanians became primarily widespread from the 17th century and continued into the 18th century.[39] Islam offered them equal opportunities and advancement within the Ottoman Empire. However, motives for conversion were, according to some scholars, diverse depending on the context though the lack of source material does not help when investigating such issues.[39] Because of increasing suppression of Catholicism, most Catholic Albanians converted in the 17th century, while Orthodox Albanians followed suit mainly in the following century.

    Since the Albanians were seen as strategically important, they made up a significant proportion of the Ottoman military and bureaucracy. Many Muslim Albanians attained important political and military positions and culturally contributed to the broader Muslim world.[39] Enjoying this privileged position, they held various high administrative positions with over two dozen Albanian Grand Viziers. Others included members of the prominent Köprülü family, Zagan Pasha, Muhammad Ali of Egypt and Ali Pasha of Tepelena. Furthermore, two sultans, Bayezid II and Mehmed III, both had mothers of Albanian origin.[38][40][41]

    Rilindja
    Naum Veqilharxhi 
    Naum Veqilharxhi was among the most important figures of the early Albanian Renaissance.
    Dora d'Istria 
    Dora d'Istria was among the main advocates in Europe for the Albanian cause.[42]

    The Albanian Renaissance was a period with its roots in the late 18th century and continuing into the 19th century, during which the Albanian people gathered spiritual and intellectual strength for an independent cultural and political life within an independent nation. Modern Albanian culture flourished too, especially Albanian literature and arts, and was frequently linked to the influences of the Romanticism and Enlightenment principles.[43]

    Prior to the rise of nationalism, Albania was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries, and Ottoman authorities suppressed any expression of national unity or conscience by the Albanian people. Through literature, Albanians started to make a conscious effort to awaken feelings of pride and unity among their people that would call to mind the rich history and hopes for a more decent future.

    The victory of Russia over the Ottoman Empire following the Russian-Ottoman Wars resulted the execution of the Treaty of San Stefano which overlooked to assign Albanian-populated lands to the Slavic and Greek neighbours. However, the United Kingdom and Austro-Hungarian Empire consequently blocked the arrangement and caused the Treaty of Berlin. From this point, Albanians started to organise themselves with the goal to protect and unite the Albanian-populated lands into a unitary nation, leading to the formation of the League of Prizren.

    The league had initially the assistance of the Ottoman authorities whose position was based on the religious solidarity of Muslim people and landlords connected with the Ottoman administration. They favoured and protected the Muslim solidarity and called for defence of Muslim lands simultaneously constituting the reason for titling the league Committee of the Real Muslims.[44]

    Approximately 300 Muslims participated in the assembly composed by delegates from Bosnia, the administrator of the Sanjak of Prizren as representatives of the central authorities and no delegates from Vilayet of Scutari.[45] Signed by only 47 Muslim deputies, the league issued the Kararname that contained a proclamation that the people from northern Albania, Epirus and Bosnia and Herzegovina are willing to defend the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire by all possible means against the troops of Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro.[46]

    Ottomans authorities cancelled their assistance when the league, under Abdyl Frashëri, became focused on working towards Albanian autonomy and requested merging four vilayets, including Kosovo, Shkodër, Monastir and Ioannina, into an unified vilayet, the Albanian Vilayet. The league used military force to prevent the annexing areas of Plav and Gusinje assigned to Montenegro. After several successful battles with Montenegrin troops, such as the Battle of Novšiće, the league was forced to retreat from their contested regions. The league was later defeated by the Ottoman army sent by the sultan.[47]

    Independence
     
    Ismail Qemali is regarded as the founding father of the modern Albanian nation.

    Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire on 28 November 1912, accompanied with the establishment of the Senate and Government by the Assembly of Vlorë on 4 December 1912.[48][49][50][51] Its sovereignty was recognised by the Conference of London. On 29 July 1913, the Treaty of London delineated the borders of the country and its neighbours, leaving many Albanians outside Albania, predominantly partitioned between Montenegro, Serbia and Greece.[52]

    Headquartered in Vlorë, the International Commission of Control was established on 15 October 1913 to take care of the administration of newly established Albania, until its own political institutions were in order.[53][54] The International Gendarmerie was established as the first law enforcement agency of the Principality of Albania. In November, the first gendarmerie members arrived in the country. Prince of Albania Wilhelm of Wied (Princ Vilhelm Vidi) was selected as the first prince of the principality.[55] On 7 March, he arrived in the provisional capital of Durrës and started to organise his government, appointing Turhan Pasha Përmeti to form the first Albanian cabinet.

    In November 1913, the Albanian pro-Ottoman forces had offered the throne of Albania to the Ottoman war Minister of Albanian origin, Ahmed Izzet Pasha.[56] The pro-Ottoman peasants believed that the new regime was a tool of the six Christian Great Powers and local landowners, that owned half of the arable land.[57]

    In February 1914, the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër by the local Greek population against incorporation to Albania. This initiative was short-lived, and in 1921 the southern provinces were incorporated into the Albanian Principality.[58][59] Meanwhile, the revolt of Albanian peasants against the new Albanian regime erupted under the leadership of the group of Muslim clerics gathered around Essad Pasha Toptani, who proclaimed himself the saviour of Albania and Islam.[60][61] In order to gain support of the Mirdita Catholic volunteers from the northern part of Albania, Prince Wied appointed their leader, Prênk Bibë Doda, to be the foreign minister of the Principality of Albania. In May and June 1914, the International Gendarmerie was joined by Isa Boletini and his men, mostly from Kosovo,[62] and northern Mirdita Catholics, were defeated by the rebels who captured most of Central Albania by the end of August 1914.[63] The regime of Prince Wied collapsed, and he left the country on 3 September 1914.[64]

    First Republic and Kingdom
     
    Zog I was the first and only king of Albania; his reign lasted 11 years (1928–1939).

    Following the end of the government of Fan Noli, the parliament adopted a new constitution and proclaimed the country as a parliamentary republic in which King Zog I of Albania (Ahmet Muhtar Zogu) served as the head of state for a seven-year term. Immediately after, Tirana was endorsed officially as the country's permanent capital.[65]

    The politics of Zogu was authoritarian and conservative with the primary aim of the maintenance of stability and order. He was forced to adopt a policy of cooperation with Italy where a pact had been signed between both countries, whereby Italy gained a monopoly on shipping and trade concessions.[66] Italians exercised control over nearly every Albanian official through money and patronage.[67] In 1928, the country was eventually replaced by another monarchy with a strong support by the fascist regime of Italy however, both maintained close relations until the Italian invasion of the country. Zogu remained a conservative but initiated reforms and placed great emphasis on the development of infrastructure.

    In an attempt at social modernisation, the custom of adding one's region to one's name was dropped. He also made donations of land to international organisations for the building of schools and hospitals. The armed forces were trained and supervised by instructors from Italy, and as a counterweight, he kept British officers in the Gendarmerie despite strong Italian pressure to remove them.

    After being militarily occupied by Italy from 1939 until 1943, the Kingdom of Albania was a protectorate and a dependency of the Kingdom of Italy governed by Victor Emmanuel III and his government. In October 1940, Albania served as a staging ground for an unsuccessful Italian invasion of Greece. A counterattack resulted in a sizeable portion of southern Albania coming under Greek military control until April 1941 when Greece capitulated during the German invasion. In April 1941, territories of Yugoslavia with substantial Albanian population were annexed to Albania inclusively western Macedonia, a strip of eastern Montenegro, the town of Tutin in central Serbia and most of Kosovo.[68]

    Germans started to occupy the country in September 1943 and subsequently announced that they would recognise the independence of a neutral Albania and set about organising a new government, military and law enforcement. Balli Kombëtar, which had fought against Italy, formed a neutral government and side by side with the Germans fought against the communist-led National Liberation Movement of Albania.[69]

    During the last years of the war, the country fell into a civil war-like state between the communists and nationalists. The communists defeated the last anti-communist forces in the south in 1944. Before the end of November, the main German troops had withdrawn from Tirana, and the communists took control by attacking it. The partisans entirely liberated the country from German occupation on 29 November 1944. A provisional government, which the communists had formed at Berat in October, administered Albania with Enver Hoxha as the head of government.

    By the end of the Second World War, the main military and political force of the nation, the Communist party sent forces to northern Albania against the nationalists to eliminate its rivals. They faced open resistance in Nikaj-Mërtur, Dukagjin and Kelmend led by Prek Cali.[citation needed] On 15 January 1945, a clash took place between partisans of the first Brigade and nationalist forces at the Tamara Bridge, resulting in the defeat of the nationalist forces. About 150 Kelmendi[70] people were killed or tortured. This event was the starting point of many other issues which took place during Enver Hoxha's dictatorship. Class struggle was strictly applied, human freedom and human rights were denied.[71] The Kelmend region was almost isolated by both the border and by a lack of roads for another 20 years, the institution of agricultural cooperatives brought about economic decline. Many Kelmendi people fled, and some were executed trying to cross the border.[71]

    Communism
     
    Enver Hoxha served as Prime Minister and First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania.

    In the aftermath of World War II and the defeat of the Axis Powers, the country became initially a satellite state of the Soviet Union, and Enver Hoxha emerged as the leader of the newly established People's Republic of Albania.[72] Soviet-Albanian relations began to deteriorate after Stalin's death in 1953. At this point, the country started to develop foreign relations with other communist countries, among others with the People's Republic of China.

    During this period, the country experienced an increasing industrialisation and urbanisation, a rapid collectivisation and economic growth which led to a higher standard of living.[71] The government called for the development of infrastructure and most notably the introduction of a railway system that completely revamped transportation.

    The new land reform laws were passed granting ownership of the land to the workers and peasants who tilled it. Agriculture became cooperative, and production increased significantly, leading to the country becoming agriculturally self-sufficient. In the field of education, illiteracy was eliminated among the country's adult population.[73] The government also oversaw the emancipation of women and the expansion of healthcare and education throughout the country.[74]

    The average annual increase in the country's national income was 29% and 56% higher than the world and European average, respectively.[75][failed verification] The nation incurred large debts initially with Yugoslavia until 1948, then the Soviet Union until 1961 and China from the middle of the 1950s.[76] The constitution of the communist regime did not allow taxes on individuals, instead, taxes were imposed on cooperatives and other organisations, with much the same effect.[77]

     
    A bunker overlooking the Albanian Alps. By 1983, approximately 173,371 concrete bunkers were scattered across the country.[78]

    Today a secular state without any official religion, religious freedoms and practises were severely curtailed during the communist era with all forms of worship being outlawed. In 1945, the Agrarian Reform Law meant that large swaths of property owned by religious groups were nationalised, mostly the waqfs along with the estates of mosques, tekkes, monasteries and dioceses. Many believers, along with the ulema and many priests, were arrested and executed. In 1949, a new Decree on Religious Communities required that all their activities be sanctioned by the state alone.[79]

    After hundreds of mosques and dozens of Islamic libraries containing priceless manuscripts were destroyed, Hoxha proclaimed Albania the world's first atheist state in 1967.[80][81] The churches had not been spared either and many were converted into cultural centres for young people. A 1967 law banned all fascist, religious, and antisocialist activity and propaganda. Preaching religion carried a three to ten-year prison sentence.

    Nonetheless, many Albanians continued to practise their beliefs secretly. The anti-religious policy of Hoxha attained its most fundamental legal and political expression a decade later: "The state recognises no religion", states the 1976 constitution, "and supports and carries out atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people".[81]

    Fourth Republic
     
    In 1988, the first foreigners were allowed to walk into the car-free Skanderbeg Square in Tirana.

    After forty years of communism and isolation as well as the revolutions of 1989, people, most notably students, became politically active and campaigned against the government that led to the transformation of the existing order. Following the popular support in the first multi-party elections of 1991, the communists retained a stronghold in the parliament until the victory in the general elections of 1992 led by the Democratic Party.[82]

    Considerable economic and financial resources were devoted to pyramid schemes that were widely supported by the government. The schemes swept up somewhere between one sixth and one third of the population of the country.[83][84] Despite the warnings of the International Monetary Fund, Sali Berisha defended the schemes as large investment firms, leading more people to redirect their remittances and sell their homes and cattle for cash to deposit in the schemes.[85]

    The schemes began to collapse in late 1996, leading many of the investors to join initially peaceful protests against the government, requesting their money back. The protests turned violent in February 1997 as government forces responded by firing on the demonstrators. In March, the Police and Republican Guard deserted, leaving their armouries open. These were promptly emptied by militias and criminal gangs. The resulting civil war caused a wave of evacuations of foreign nationals and refugees.[86]

    The crisis led both Aleksandër Meksi and Sali Berisha to resign from office in the wake of the general election. In April 1997, Operation Alba, a UN peacekeeping force led by Italy, entered the country with two goals exclusively to assist with the evacuation of expatriates and to secure the ground for international organisations. The main international organisation that was involved was the Western European Union's multinational Albanian Police element, which worked with the government to restructure the judicial system and simultaneously the Albanian police.

    Contemporary
     
    The earthquake of November 2019 was the strongest to hit Albania in more than four decades.[87]

    Following the disintegration of the communist system, Albania focused on an active process of Westernisation with the goal of accession to the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[88] In 2009, the country, together with Croatia, gained active membership in NATO, becoming among the first countries in Southeast Europe to do so.[89][90] It also applied to join the European Union on 28 April 2009, receiving official candidate status on 24 June 2014.[91][92]

    Edi Rama of the Socialist Party won both the 2013 and 2017 parliamentary elections. As Prime Minister, he implemented numerous reforms focused on modernising the economy, as well as democratising state institutions, including the country's judiciary and law enforcement. Unemployment has been steadily reduced, with Albania achieving the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the Balkans.[93] Rama has also placed gender equality at the centre of his agenda; since 2017 almost 50% of the ministers are female, the largest number of women serving in the country's history.[94]

    On 26 November 2019, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake ravaged Albania with the epicentre positioned 16 km (10 mi) southwest of the town of Mamurras.[95] The tremor was felt in Tirana and in places as far away as Taranto, Italy, and Belgrade, Serbia, while the most affected areas were the coastal city of Durrës and the village of Kodër-Thumanë.[96] Response to the earthquake included substantial humanitarian aid from the Albanian diaspora and several countries around the world.[97]

    On 9 March 2020, COVID-19 was confirmed to have spread to Albania.[98][99] From March to June 2020, the government declared a state of emergency as a measure to limit the rapid spread of the pandemic in the country.[100][101][102] The country's COVID-19 vaccination campaign started on 11 January 2021, however, as of 11 August 2021, the total number of vaccines administered so far in Albania amounts to 1,280,239 doses.[103][104]

    During the 2021 parliamentary elections, the ruling Socialist Party led by Edi Rama secured its third consecutive victory, winning nearly half of votes and enough seats in parliament to govern alone.[105][106] In February 2022, Albania's Constitutional Court overturned parliament's impeachment of President Ilir Meta, opponent of the ruling Socialist Party.[107] In June 2022, the Albanian parliament elected Bajram Begaj, the candidate of the ruling Socialist Party (PS), as the current President of Albania.[108][109] In January 2023, Albania launched its first two satellites, Albania 1 and Albania 2, into orbit, in what was regarded as a milestone effort in monitoring the country's territory and identifying illegal activities.[110][111]

    ^ a b c F. Prendi, "The Prehistory of Albania", The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd edn., vol. 3, part 1: The Prehistory of the Balkans; and the Middle East and the Aegean World, Tenth to Eighth Centuries B.C., ed. John Boardman et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1982), 189–90. ^ British Association for Mycenaean Studies (1973). Crossland, R. A.; Birchall, Ann (eds.). Bronze Age Migrations in the Aegean; Archaeological and Linguistic Problems in Greek Prehistory: Proceedings of the First International Colloquium on Aegean Prehistory, Sheffield. Vol. 4. Duckworth Books. pp. 189–198. ISBN 978-0-7156-0580-6. Retrieved 16 March 2011. ^ Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Guy Thompson Griffith A History of Macedonia: Historical geography and prehistory. Clarendon Press, 1972, p. 290 ^ Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond. Studies: Further studies on various topics. A.M. Hakkert, 1993, p. 231: "The leading dans of both groups buried their dead under a circular tumulus of soil in the second millennium BC The main reservoir of the Greek speakers was central Albania and Epirus, and it was from there that the founders of Mycenaean civilization came to Mycenae, c. 1600 BC, and buried their nobles in Grave Circle B. Further waves of immigrants passing through and from Epirus people the Greek peninsula and islands the last wave, called Dorians, settling from 1100 onwards. The lands they left in central Albania were occupied during the so-called Dark Age (U10-800BC) by Illyrians, whose main habitat was in the area now called Bosnia," ^ The Illyrians (The Peoples of Europe) by John Wilkes, 1996, ISBN 978-0-631-19807-9, page 92, "Appian's description of the Illyrian territories records a southern boundary with Chaonia and Thesprotia, where ancient Epirus began south of river Aoous (Vjose)" also map ^ Cambridge University Press. The Cambridge ancient history. 2000. ISBN 0-521-23447-6, page 261,"... down to the mouth of Aous" ^ a b c Wilkes, John (1995). The Illyrians. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 94, 96, 104. ISBN 0-631-19807-5. ^ Boardman, John; Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1982). The Cambridge Ancient History: The Expansion of the Greek World, Eighth to Six Centuries B.C. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 284. ISBN 0-521-23447-6. ^ Lewis, David Malcolm; Boardman, John (1994). The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume 6: The Fourth Century BC. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. pp. 430, 434. ISBN 0-521-23348-8. ^ Wilson, Nigel Guy (2006). Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. New York, New York and Oxford, United Kingdom: Routledge (Taylor & Francis). p. 594. ISBN 978-0-415-87396-3. ^ Chamoux, François (2003). Hellenistic Civilization. Oxford, United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing. p. 97. ISBN 0-631-22242-1. ^ Justin, Epitome, 17.3 ^ Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière; Walbank, Frank William (1 January 1972). A History of Macedonia: 336–167 B.C. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-814815-9. ^ Jackson-Laufer, Guida Myrl (1 January 1999). Women Rulers Throughout the Ages: An Illustrated Guide. ABC-CLIO. pp. 382–383. ISBN 978-1-57607-091-8. ^ The History of Rome. D. Appleton & Company. 1 January 1846. p. 259. ^ Wilkes, John (9 January 1996). The Illyrians. Wiley. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-631-19807-9. ^ Marjeta Šašel Kos, "The Illyrian King Ballaeus – Some Historical Aspects", Épire, Illyrie, Macédoine: Mélanges offerts au professeur Pierre Cabanes, ed. Danièle Berranger (Clermont-Ferrand: Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, 2007), 127. ^ Bideleux, Robert; Jeffries, Ian (24 January 2007). Balkans: A Post-Communist History. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-134-58328-7. From AD 548 onward, the lands now known as Albania began to be overrun from the north by ever-increasing ... ^ Schaefer, Richard T. (2008), Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society, SAGE Publications, ISBN 978-1-4129-2694-2 ^ Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (1986). Studies in late Byzantine history and prosopography. Variorum Reprints. ISBN 9780860781905. ^ Jireček, Konstantin; Thopia (1916). Illyrisch-albanische Forschungen. Duncker & Humblot. p. 239. Griechen Gregorios Kamonas ^ Abulafia, David; McKitterick (21 October 1999). The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 5, C.1198-c.1300. p. 786. ISBN 978-0-521-36289-4. Greco-Albanian lord Gregorios Kamonas ^ The Genealogist. 1980. p. 40. ^ Clements, John (1992), Clements encyclopedia of world governments, Vol. 10. Political Research, Inc. p. 31: "By 1190, Byzantium's power had so receded that the archon Progon succeeded in establishing the first Albanian state of the Middle Ages, a principality" ^ Pickard, Rob; Çeliku, Florent (2008). Analysis and Reform of Cultural Heritage Policies in South-East Europe. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 978-92-871-6265-6. ^ Norris, H. T. (1993). Islam in the Balkans: religion and society between Europe and the Arab world. University of South Carolina Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-87249-977-5. ^ Pipa, Arshi; Repishti, Sami (1984). Studies on Kosova. East European Monographs #155. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-88033-047-3. ^ a b Zickel, Raymond; Iwaskiw, Walter R., eds. (1994). ""The Barbarian Invasions and the Middle Ages," Albania: A Country Study". Retrieved 9 April 2008. ^ Madgearu, Alexandru; Gordon, Martin (2008). The wars of the Balkan Peninsula: Their medieval origins. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780810858466. Albanoi. ^ Etleva, Lala (2008). Regnum Albaniae, the Papal Curia, and the Western Visions of a Borderline Nobility (PDF). Cambridge University Press. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. ^ Licursi, Emiddio Pietro (2011). Empire of Nations: The Consolidation of Albanian and Turkish National Identities in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1878–1913 (Thesis). New York: Columbia University. p. 19. hdl:10022/AC:P:10297. By 1415, after a chaotic interregnum, Sultan Mehmet I sent the military to erect the first Ottoman garrisons throughout southern Albania, establishing direct military authority in the region ... l jurisdiction over most of Albania ... ^ The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism by D. Hupchick, page 110 ^ Gjonça, Arjan (2001). Communism, Health and Lifestyle: The Paradox of Mortality Transition in Albania, 1950–1990. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-313-31586-2. ^ Norris, H. T. (1993). Islam in the Balkans: religion and society between Europe and the Arab world. University of South Carolina Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-87249-977-5. ^ Zickel, Raymond; Iwaskiw, Walter R. (1994). "Albania: A Country Study ("Albanians under Ottoman Rule")". Retrieved 9 April 2008. ^ Rob Pickard (2008). Analysis and Reform of Cultural Heritage Policies in South-East Europe (Europarat ed.). p. 16. ISBN 978-92-871-6265-6. ^ "Albania :: The decline of Byzantium". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 3 October 2014. ^ a b "Arnawutluḳ." in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online, 2012. ^ a b c Clayer, Nathalie (2012). "Albania" in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, Rokovet, John Nawas, Everett Rowson (eds.). Brill Online. ^ Babinger, Franz (1992). Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time. Princeton University Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-691-01078-1. ^ Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. p. 94. ISBN 0-19-507673-7. ^ Observator Cultural. "Dor de Dunăre şi alte nostalgii cosmopolite". observatorcultural.ro (in Romanian). ^ Sarah Amsler (2007). Theorising Social Change in Post-Soviet Countries: Critical Approaches (Balihar Sanghera, Sarah Amsler, Tatiana Yarkova ed.). Peter Lang, 2007. p. 96105. ISBN 9783039103294. ^ Kopecek, Michal; Ersoy, Ahmed; Gorni, Maciej; Kechriotis, Vangelis; Manchev, Boyan; Trencsenyi, Balazs; Turda, Marius (2006), Discourses of collective identity in Central and Southeast Europe (1770–1945), vol. 1, Budapest, Hungary: Central European University Press, p. 348, ISBN 978-963-7326-52-3, The position of the League in the beginning was based on religious solidarity. It was even called Komiteti i Myslimanëve të Vërtetë (The Committee of the Real Muslims) ... decisions are taken and supported mostly by landlords and people closely connected with Ottoman administration and religious authorities.. ^ Kopeček, Michal; Ersoy, Ahmed; Gorni, Maciej; Kechriotis, Vangelis; Manchev, Boyan; Trencsenyi, Balazs; Turda, Marius (2006), "Program of the Albanian League of Prizren", Discourses of collective identity in Central and Southeast Europe (1770–1945), vol. 1, Budapest, Hungary: Central European University Press, p. 347, ISBN 978-963-7326-52-3, retrieved 18 January 2011, there were no delegates from Shkodra villayet and a few Bosnian delegates also participated. Present was also mutasarrif (administrator of sandjak) of Prizren as representative of the central authorities ^ Elsie, Robert. "1878 The Resolutions of the League of Prizren". albanianhistory.net. Archived from the original on 8 September 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2011. On 10 June 1878, ... The League of Prizren, Alb. Lidhja e Prizrenit, ... On 13 June 1878, the League submitted an eighteen-page memorandum to Benjamin Disraeli, the British representative at the Congress of Berlin ^ "Albanian League". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 5 January 2012. ^ Giaro, Tomasz (2007). "The Albanian legal and constitutional system between the World Wars". Modernisierung durch Transfer zwischen den Weltkriegen. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Vittorio Klosterman GmbH. p. 185. ISBN 978-3-465-04017-0. Retrieved 24 January 2011. From its own members congress elected a senate (Pleqësi), composed of 18 members, which assumed advisory role to the government. ^ Qemali, Ismail. "Ismail Kemal bey Vlora: Memoirs". Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 15th–28th November 1912 ... ^ Qemali, Ismail. "Ismail Kemal bey Vlora: Memoirs". Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2011. On the resumption of the sitting, I was elected President of the Provisional Government, with a mandate to form a Cabinet ... ^ Giaro, Tomasz (2007). "The Albanian legal and constitutional system between the World Wars". Modernisierung durch Transfer zwischen den Weltkriegen. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Vittorio Klosterman GmbH. p. 185. ISBN 978-3-465-04017-0. Retrieved 24 January 2011. a provisional government, consisting of ten members and led by Vlora, was formed on 4 December. ^ Elsie, Robert. "1913 The Conference of London". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2012. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (1999) [1983], "The end of Ottoman rule in Europe", History of the Balkans: Twentieth century, vol. 2, Cambridge, United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge, p. 101, ISBN 978-0-521-27459-3, retrieved 21 January 2011, the International Commission ... had headquarters in Vlorë ^ Zaharia, Perikli (24 March 2003). "The post – 1989 constitutional course of south east Europe". Athens: Centre for European Constitutional Law. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011. ^ Seton-Watson, R.W.; Wilson, J. Dover; Zimmern, Alfred E.; Greenwood, Arthur (10 January 2004) [1915], "III Germany", The War and Democracy (1st ed.), London: MacMillan, archived from the original on 13 November 2012, Prince William of Wied, the first Prince of Albania ^ Elsie, Robert. "Albania under prince Wied". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. pro-Ottoman forces ... were opposed to the increasing Western influence ... In November 1913, these forces, ... had offered the vacant Albanian throne to General Izzet Pasha ... War Minister who was of Albanian origin. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (1999) [1983], History of the Balkans: Twentieth century, vol. 2, Cambridge, United Kingdom: The Press Syndicate of University of Cambridge, p. 103, ISBN 978-0-521-27459-3, retrieved 25 January 2011, peasants..willing listeners to Ottoman propaganda ... attached the new regime as a tool of the beys and Christian powers ^ Bowden, William (2003). Epirus Vetus : the archaeology of a late antique province. London: Duckworth. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7156-3116-4. the Greek Epirote population of the area refused to be incorporated into the new Albanian state and in February 1914 declared the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus ... in 1921 Albania was recognised as an independent sovereign state, with its borders established on their present lines. ^ ed, Gregory C. Ference (1994). Chronology of 20th century eastern European history. Detroit [u.a.]: Gale Research. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8103-8879-6. February 28 George Zographos, a former foreign minister of Greece, proclaims at Gjirokaster the establishment of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus, with Zographos as president. He notifies the International Commission that his government has been established because the Great Powers have not provided the Greeks in southern Albania any guarantees for the protection of the life, property and religious freedom, and ethnic existence. ^ "The Efforts to settle amputated Albania state". albaniainbrief.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2011. Thousands of muslim peasants, ... were exploited by their leaders Haxhi Qamili, Arif Hiqmeti, Musa Qazimi and Mustafa Ndroqi, ... to rebel ^ Vickers, Miranda (1999). The Albanians: a modern history. I.B. Tauris. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9. He gathered round him a group of discontented Muslim priests ... and proclaimed himself the savior of Albania and the Champion of Islam. ^ Elsie, Robert. "Albania under prince Wied". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. mostly volunteers from Kosova under their leader Isa Boletini ^ Elsie, Robert. "Albania under prince Wied". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. Panic broke out in Durrës, and the royal family sought refuge on an Italian vessel ... ^ Springer, Elisabeth; Kammerhofer, Leopold (1993). Archiv und Forschung. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. p. 346. ISBN 978-3-486-55989-7. ^ Vickers, Miranda (1 January 1999). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B. Tauris. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9. ^ Vickers, Miranda (1 January 1999). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-86064-541-9. ^ Gerwarth, Robert (2007). Twisted Paths: Europe 1914-1945. Oxford University Press. pp. 242–261. ISBN 978-0-1992-8185-5. ^ Bogdani, Mirela; Loughlin, John (15 March 2007). Albania and the European Union: The Tumultuous Journey Towards Integration and Accession. I.B. Tauris. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-84511-308-7. ^ Morrock, Richard (11 October 2010). The Psychology of Genocide and Violent Oppression: A Study of Mass Cruelty from Nazi Germany to Rwanda. McFarland. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7864-5628-4. The nationalist Balli Kombetar, which had fought against Italy, made a deal with the German invaders, and formed a "neutral" government in Tirana which ... ^ Zef Pllumi (2008). Live to Tell: A True Story of Religious Persecution in Communist Albania. iUniverse. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-595-45298-9. ^ a b c "Albanian Nationalism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 22 November 2016. ^ "Envery Hoxha". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 22 November 2016. ^ 40 Years of Socialist Albania, Dhimiter Picani ^ Qori, Arlind (22 February 2019). "From Faculty to Factory". Jacobin. Retrieved 14 March 2019. ^ Dalakoglou, Dimitris (2012). "The Road from Capitalism to Capitalism". Mobilities. 7 (4): 571–586. doi:10.1080/17450101.2012.718939. S2CID 143288773. ^ Prybyla, Jan S. (1 January 1969). Comparative Economic Systems. Ardent Media. p. 294. ISBN 9780390719003. ^ Pano, Aristotel. "Panorama of the Economic-Social Development of Socialist Albania". Retrieved 11 April 2012. ^ "Hapet dosja, ja harta e bunkerëve dhe tuneleve sekretë". Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2016. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Albania: Hoxha's Antireligious Campaign ^ Kombësia dhe feja në Shqipëri, 1920–1944 / Roberto Morocco dela Roka; e përktheu nga origjinali Luan Omari. ^ a b Elsie, Robert (2010). Historical Dictionary of Albania. Historical Dictionaries of Europe, No. 75 (2nd ed.). Lanham, MD, and Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8108-6188-6. ^ "Report: The Elections in Albania". Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). 4 April 1991. Archived from the original on 1 October 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020. ^ Jarvis, Christopher (2000). "The Rise and Fall of the Albanian Pyramid Schemes". Finance and Development. 37 (1): 1. ^ Bezemer, Dirk (2001). "Post-socialist Financial Fragility: The Case of Albania" (PDF). Cambridge Journal of Economics. 25 (1): 1–25. doi:10.1093/cje/25.1.1. hdl:10419/85494. JSTOR 23599718. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2022. ^ Musaraj, Smoki (2011). "Tales from Albarado: The Materiality of Pyramid Schemes in Post-socialist Albania". Cultural Anthropology. 26 (1): 84–110. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1360.2010.01081.x. ^ For the most part, the Albanian refugees emigrated to Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, or North America. ^ "Significant Earthquake". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Archived from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021. ^ Burden, Brandon (December 2016). "NATO's small states: Albania as a case study" (PDF). Calhoun Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). pp. 44–60. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 April 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021. ^ "Ceremony marks the accession of Albania and Croatia to NATO". North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 7 April 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2019. ^ "Albania in NATO". ambasadat.gov.al. Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Albania to NATO. ^ "Albania – EU-Albania relations". European Commission. Archived from the original on 26 June 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2019. ^ "EU candidate status for Albania". European Commission. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2019. ^ Shqip, Gazeta. "Ahmetaj: Premtimi për 300 mijë vende punë është mbajtur – Gazeta SHQIP Online". gazeta-shqip.com. ^ "PM Rama at 'Global Leader Woman' Summit". ambasadat.gov.al. ^ ANSS. "Albania 2019: M 6.4 – 16 km WSW of Mamurras, Albania". Comprehensive Catalog. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 1 December 2019. ^ "Very Strong earthquake – Albania – November 26, 2019". Earthquake-Report. 26 November 2019. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019. 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    Albania is generally a safe place to visit but there are some safety precautions you have to take before visiting the country.

    In some Albanian cities like Berat there are no traffic lights and thus crossing on the road can be dangerous Avoid places that are deemed as slums and are sketchy, things like pickpocket can happen and also violence can occur, so avoid bringing valuables in those areas. Albania does have speed limits, but most people do not follow them. If you are driving on the highway, you have to pay extra attention to avoid car crashes . If you are not a good driver it is highly recommended that you take a bus.

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