All About Albania
Albania,the under-explored jewel of the Balkan peninsular,lies along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastlines.It is a mystical country steeped in history,culture and beauty.Sharing boarders with Montenegro and Kosovo in the north,with Macedonia in the east and Greece in the south Albania proudly boasts areas of outstanding natural beauty from stunning, forested mountain ranges and protected National Parks to unspoilt,golden beaches with clear turquoise waters.It is also home to Butrint,Gjirokaster and Berat a UNESCO sites dating back to the Romans and there are many Byzantine castles worth exploring.Combining the picturesque landscapes,heritage and the Mediterranean climate it is understandable that Albania is becoming a more popular tourist destination and why in 2011 it was first in the top ten countries to visit in the Lonely Planet guide.
The country has so much more to offer than it's countryside.The hospitality of the local people cannot be emphasised enough.The local Albanian people are known for their welcoming generosity and friendliness towards foreigners.With great pride in their country guests will be respected and greeted with the warmest of welcomes.
With a population of 4.2 million Albania, formally known centuries ago as Illyria,is constantly evolving.It was a Christian country from the 2nd century until the Ottoman Turks introduced Islam,however,for a time in the last century this country was under a communist regime and in 1967 under the Dictator Enver Hoxha it became the first atheist state.These days people are not identified by a specific national religion so it is common to see a church in the same vicinity of a mosque.Left over from the communist rule and scattered over the countryside there are thousands of army bunkers which are a stark reminder of a previous era.
The national symbol of Albania traditionally was a black eagle,evidence of this emblem dates back to 1190 where it appeared on a stone carving.The national flag bears a two headed,black eagle on a bright red background which has been used since 1912 to celebrate the Albanian independence.