World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Albania Travelling Guide
Albania Travelling Guide

In General: In 1990 Albania ended 44 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as corrupt governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, a dilapidated infrastructure, widespread gangsterism, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged local elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies which should be addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code.

Area Comparative: Slightly smaller than Maryland

Climate: Mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter

Terrain: Mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast

Population: 3,544,841 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic Groups: Albanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Gypsy, Serb, and Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)

Religions: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania recently began allowing private religious practice.

Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek

Governmental Type:
Emerging democracy

Capital: Tirana

Legal System: Has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economic Overview: Poor and backward by European standards, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime and to revive economic activity and trade. The economy is bolstered by remittances from abroad of $400-$600 million annually, mostly from Greece and Italy. Agriculture, which accounts for 52% of GDP, is held back because of frequent drought and the need to modernize equipment and consolidate small plots of land. Severe energy shortages are forcing small firms out of business, increasing unemployment, scaring off foreign investors, and spurring inflation.

Communication/ Telephone System:
Albania has the poorest telephone service in Europe.

Environmental Issues: Deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents.

Places of interest: The Botanical Gardens are looked after only marginally well and are quite spartan and almost dreary. There is a small fee. What is most interesting, perhaps, is watching the wedding parties come through for corny photo opportunities every Sunday. If you want to be amused just hang out there on Sunday and watch the brides and grooms cavort around for the video cameras and watch as the bride strikes goofy poses for the still photographers.

The National Museum of History is open Monday-Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm. It has shorter hours on Saturday. They charge 300 Lek or US$3 for entry. It is a very well organized and equipped museum that presents Albanian history from the Illyrians up to and (now) through the Communist era (until 1992). The museum creatively displays ancient votives and stella, original costumes, weapons and documents and recently created panoramas and statues. There are numerous detailed battle chronologies depicted on maps for those interested in the military history of Albania through the Illyrian, Ottoman and fascist eras. There is also an entire exhibit devoted to Christian icons. This is truly a superior display of original Christian iconography. The pieces come from Albania's ancient churches and are a must-see for anyone interested in these artifacts.

Travel Tips: Stay away!!!!!!!!!!!!!