Interesting and fun facts about Albania

Here are  interesting and fun facts about Albania 

Albania is one of the smallest countries in Europe

 Albania is one of the smallest countries in Europe, both in terms of land area and population. The country covers an area of just over 28,000 square kilometers (or around 11,000 square miles), which makes it the 145th largest country in the world by land area. In terms of population, Albania has around 2.9 million people, which makes it the 136th most populous country in the world.

The official language of Albania is Albanian, which is spoken by nearly 98% of the population.

Albania is the only country in Europe where the primary religion is Islam.

Albania has a long and complex history, having been ruled by various empires and occupying a strategic position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Albania is home to the Albanian Alps

Albania is home to the Albanian Alps, which offer some of the most stunning natural scenery in the region.

Albania's northern region is home to the Albanian Alps, also known as the Accursed Mountains or Prokletije in Albanian.

The region is characterized by its rugged terrain, towering peaks, and stunning natural scenery, making it a must-see destination for any nature lover. 

Albania is home to three official UNESCO sites

Albania is home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ancient city of Butrint and the historic center of Berat.

Butrint National Park - Located in the south of Albania, Butrint is an ancient Greek and Roman city that has been inhabited for over 2,500 years. It contains a wealth of archaeological and historical treasures, including temples, theaters, and public buildings.

Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra - Berat and Gjirokastra are two historic towns in southern Albania that are known for their well-preserved Ottoman-era architecture. The towns contain a number of historic houses, mosques, and other buildings that are examples of traditional Balkan architecture.

Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region - This site is shared between Albania and North Macedonia, and encompasses the town of Ohrid and its surrounding natural and cultural landmarks. The site includes ancient churches, monasteries, and other buildings that are examples of Byzantine architecture, as well as the pristine waters of Lake Ohrid, which are home to a number of rare and endemic species.

Albania is famous for its cuisine

Albania is famous for its cuisine

Albanian cuisine is known for its unique flavors and influences from the Mediterranean and Balkan regions. Here are some of the top dishes and culinary experiences to try when visiting Albania:

Tavë kosi: A popular Albanian dish made with baked lamb and rice, topped with a yogurt and egg sauce.

Byrek: A savory pastry filled with meat, cheese, spinach, or other fillings, and baked to perfection.

Fërgesë: A traditional dish made with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese, often served with meat or potatoes.

Baklava: A sweet pastry made with layers of phyllo dough, nuts, and honey syrup.

Rakia: A strong, clear brandy made from fermented fruit, such as plums or grapes, and often served as a digestive after meals.

Fresh seafood: With its long coastline, Albania is home to a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including grilled fish, squid, and octopus.

Traditional restaurants: When visiting Albania, be sure to check out traditional restaurants, called "kulla," which offer a unique dining experience in restored stone houses with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Overall, Albanian cuisine is a must-try for any food lover, with a variety of unique flavors and culinary experiences that showcase the country's rich cultural heritage.

Enjoy Albanian hospitality.

Yes, that is true! Albanian culture places a high value on hospitality and welcoming guests, and it is common for locals to invite visitors for a coffee or a traditional drink like rakija. This is particularly true in rural areas, where people are often more traditional and conservative, and where visitors are seen as an opportunity to connect with the wider world.

Sharing a coffee or a drink with a local can be a wonderful way to learn about Albanian culture and traditions, as well as to make new friends and connections. Albanians are generally very friendly and welcoming to foreign visitors, and are often curious about their backgrounds and experiences. They are also known for their warmth and generosity, and will often go out of their way to make sure that visitors feel comfortable and at home.

If you are invited for a coffee or a drink in Albania, it is considered polite to accept the invitation and to show your appreciation for the hospitality that is being offered. You should also be prepared to engage in conversation, as Albanians are often interested in learning about the world outside of their own country. 

By embracing the local customs and traditions, you can make the most of your time in Albania and experience the country's unique and welcoming culture.

Albania has a rich cultural heritage

Albania has a rich cultural heritage, and is known for its traditional music, dance, and art. Yes, Albania has a rich cultural heritage, and its traditional music, dance, and art are an important part of its national identity. Here are some of the top things to know about Albanian culture:

Music: Traditional Albanian music is characterized by its haunting melodies and rich vocal harmonies. The country is home to a variety of musical genres, including polyphonic singing, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.

Dance: Albanian folk dances are an important part of the country's cultural heritage, with each region having its own unique style of dance. Popular dances include the Valle, the Kolo, and the Vallja e Tropojës.

Art: Albania has a rich artistic heritage, with traditional arts and crafts such as embroidery, weaving, and woodcarving still practiced today. The country is also home to several museums and galleries, showcasing the work of Albanian artists.

Cuisine: Albanian cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean and Balkan influences, with dishes such as fërgesë, a traditional dish made with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese, and byrek, a savory pastry filled with meat or cheese.

Festivals: Albania is home to a variety of festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including the Tirana International Film Festival, the Gjirokastra Folk Festival, and the Dita e Verës, a summer solstice celebration.

Overall, Albanian culture is a vibrant and diverse blend of traditions and influences, with a rich heritage that is still celebrated and practiced today.

The highest point in Albania. 

The highest point in Albania is Mount Korab, which has an elevation of 2,764 meters (9,068 feet). It is located on the border between Albania and North Macedonia, in the central part of the Albanian Alps. Mount Korab is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers, and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The mountain is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including several endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. The climb to the summit of Mount Korab is challenging but rewarding, and is considered one of the must-do activities for adventure seekers visiting Albania

Albanian buses (called furgons) have no timetable

That's an interesting fact! Yes, it's true that Albanian buses, also known as furgons, often don't have a set timetable. Instead, they operate on a more flexible schedule and leave when they are full, which can sometimes result in long wait times for passengers. Furgons are a common mode of transportation in Albania, especially for shorter trips within the country. Despite their lack of a timetable, they are generally reliable and affordable, and can be a great way to experience local life and culture while traveling in Albania.

Albanians believe that a scarecrow placed on a home or other building while it’s under construction will ward off envy from the neighbours.

that is correct! In Albanian folklore, it is believed that envy from neighbors or passersby can bring bad luck or misfortune to a newly constructed building. To ward off this envy, it is common practice in Albania to place a scarecrow, also known as a "baba mbushur" or "stuffed man," on the roof or outside the building during construction. 

The scarecrow is often made of old clothes stuffed with hay or straw, and is meant to trick the envious eye into thinking that the building is already occupied or unfinished. The practice is particularly common in rural areas of Albania, but can also be seen in urban areas. 

The belief in the power of the scarecrow to ward off envy is deeply ingrained in Albanian culture, and continues to be a part of the construction process to this day.

. Albania has never won a medal at the Olympics

No, that is not entirely correct. Albania has won medals at the Olympic Games, but they are relatively few in number. Albania first participated in the Olympic Games in 1972 and has since competed in most editions of the Games. The country has won a total of four Olympic medals, all in weightlifting:

1 silver medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, won by weightlifter Sulejman Taka in the men's 90kg category.

1 bronze medal at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, won by weightlifter Artan Kola in the men's 60kg category.

1 bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, won by weightlifter Hristo Hristov in the men's 77kg category.

1 bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, won by weightlifter Luiza Gega in the women's 58kg category.

While Albania's Olympic medal count is relatively low, these achievements are still significant and a source of pride for the country.

Tirana, it’s one of the only capitals without a McDonalds.

Yes, that is correct! Tirana, the capital city of Albania, does not have a McDonald's restaurant, making it one of the few capital cities in the world without the fast-food chain. The only other capital without a McDonald's is  Vatican City. 
, which is an independent city-state located within Rome, Italy. Despite the absence of McDonald's, Tirana has a wide variety of local restaurants and cafes that offer traditional Albanian cuisine as well as international dishes. In recent years, the city has also seen the growth of modern shopping centers and malls, which offer a range of international brands and dining options. 

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