The area known as Albania today has been populated since prehistoric times.In antiquity, much of it was settled by the Illyrians, who are the ancestors of present-day Albanians. It was around the turn of the third millennium B.C. that an Indo-European population settled there. The result of this melding of cultures was the creation of a population incorporating the unique cultural and linguistic characteristics of the whole Balkan Peninsula. Based on this ancient population, the Illyrian people developed through the second millennium and the first century B.C. After its collapse in the year 30 B.C., Illyria came under the control of the Roman Empire. Upon the division of the Roman Empire in 395 A.D., Illyria became a part of the Byzantine Empire. The Greeks arrived in the 5th century B.C. to establish self-governing colonies in Epidamnos (now Durrës), Apollonia, and Butrint, and they established an expansive trading system with the Illyrians, who formed tribal states in the IV century B.C. The expanding Illyrian kingdom clashed with Rome in 229 B.C. A lengthy struggle ensued and resulted in the extension of Roman control over the entire Balkan area by 167 B.C. Under the Romans, Illyrians enjoyed relative peace and prosperity. Large agricultural estates flourished under slave labor. Like the Greeks, the Illyrians managed to preserve their own language and traditions despite centuries of Roman rule. Over time the people gradually replaced their old gods with the new Christian faith championed by Emperor Constantine. Trade continued to flourish during this time. The main route between Rome and Constantinople, the Via Egnatia, passed through the port at Durrës. When the Roman Empire was divided in 395 A.D., Illyria fell within the Eastern Empire, later known as the Byzantine Empire. Three early Byzantine Emperors (Anastasius I, Justin I and Justinian I) were Illyrian in origin. Ongoing invasions by Visigoths, Huns, Ostrogoths, and Slavs continued through the 5th and 6th centuries.
In 1344, Albania was annexed by Serbia. Their control of the area was brief, though, as the Turks defeated the Serbians in 1389. At this point, the Venetians controlled some coastal towns but with the Serbian defeat, the entire region became vulnerable to Ottoman attack. From 1443 to 1468, an Albanian nobleman named Skanderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti) united warring Albanian princes and led a resistance effort against the Turks from his castle at Kruja. Skanderbeg won all 25 battles he fought against the Turks and kept them at bay for more than two decades. He would go on to become a national hero, but upon his death, the Ottomans overwhelmed Albanian resistance and took control of the country in 1479. For more than 400 years Albania was under Ottoman rule. Muslim citizens were favored and were exempted from the Janissary system, which dictated that Christian households give up one of their sons to convert to Islam and serve in the army. Consequently, many Albanians abandoned their Christian faith and converted to Islam. The subsequent insurrection efforts eventually brought about the proclamation of the independence of Albania in 1912.
King Zog I ruled for nearly fourteen years until the country was invaded by Italy in 1939 and eventually occupied by Mussolini's forces. German forces occupied portions of Albania during this time, as well. A resistance against this foreign occupation was formed and became known as the Antifascist National Liberation front.
In November of 1944, the occupying forces were eventually expelled and the Communist Party assumed power. Shortly thereafter, a totalitarian regime was established under the communist leader Enver Hoxha. For nearly fifty years, the regime enforced a policy of strict isolationism. This left the country in an extraordinarily impoverished state when it finally emerged from this isolation upon Hoxha's death in 1991. The Democratic Party assumed control at this point and led the country from 1991 until 1997. 1997 saw a period of great financial and political upheaval as the collapse of vast pyramid schemes threw society into a brief state of chaos. The Socialist Party guided the country through this pivotal time and remained in power until 2005. Following the most recent elections in July 2005, the Democratic Party regained political power and continues to lead Albania today. Looking to the future, Albania's leaders hope to integrate the country into the European Union (EU). Albania is now a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and also part of many other international organizations.GEOGRAPHY
Albania is a small country with a landmass of 28.748 sq km (about 11.000 sq miles). It is situated in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula in the south-eastern part of Europe. It shares borders with Montenegro and Kosovo to the North and Northeast, Macedonia to the East and Greece to the South. To the West, Albania has a coast that adjoins the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The Adriatic separates it from Italy via the Strait of Otranto (72 km/45 mi).Much of Albania's surface is mountainous - the average height above sea level is 708 m, (2,336 ft) and its highest peak, Mount Korab on the Macedonian border, is 2.753 m (9,085 ft). Most of the population lives in the south-central lowlands and on the coastal plain. The country has many rivers which originate in the high mountains and pass through steep gorges before reaching the plain and making their way to the sea. Most of the main rivers have been extensively managed, usually to generate hydro-electricity. Albania has nearly 450 km (280 mi) of seacoast, with the Adriatic running from the Montenegrin border south to the Bay of Vlora, where the Ionian Sea begins. The Ionian Cost is very rugged with rocky coves along the narrow coastal strip and steep mountains rising almost straight up almost much of its length. The highest point along this stretch is at the Llogara Pass, over 1.000m (3,300ft) high. Geologic activity and erosion have created many caves at the base of these cliffs, some of which were inhabited in prehistoric times.On the other hand, the Adriatic coast is a low-lying one, with large protected bays (such as those of Vlora and Durrës), which have been used as harbors since ancient times. The rivers that flow into the Adriatic have created fertile alluvial plains on these lowlands and, at their mouths, exceptionally rich wetlands, which are home to many waterfowl and migratory birds.
In Albania there are also a number of lakes. The most significant are:
Over a third of the territory of Albania - about a million hectares (2.5 million acres) - is forested and the country is very rich in flora. About 3.000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. The forests are home to a wide range of animals such as wolves, bears, wild boars, and chamois. lynx, wildcats, pine martens and polecats are rarer, but survive in some parts of the country.HEALTH & SAFETY
Visiting Albania is an enriching and rewarding experience, and we look forward to introducing you to a new Mediterranean love. That's why we seek to ensure your stay is as healthy and comfortable as possible. Albanians have a long tradition of hospitality, and you will find the people of our country quick to respond to any request for assistance. Thus, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Since this region is warm in the summer months, remember to drink plenty of fluids while you are here. Bottled water is widely available and is offered at a low price.
Driving in Albania presents a unique set of challenges for visitors. Infrastructure development is in full swing since the country's emergence from communism, but drivers may still find it difficult to navigate our roads. As a result, we recommend taking a taxi or a bus. Local transportation offers a stress-free way for you to enjoy the scenery while listening to our professional drivers regales you with tales of life in Albania. This is if you want to experience the country with calm and mix with locals, because public transport is quite slow. While if you want to see more in a few days hire a local guide and driver from the online travel agencies prior to your arrival.
As you would with any international vacation, be sure to check with your embassy or consulate for information that may be specific to you on your visit to Albania. Checking to see that you have your visa (if required), health insurance, and other documentation prepared will ensure that your visit to our country is as wonderful as possible. We wish you good health and maximum comfort on your trip to Albania!HOW TO GET TO ALBANIA?
Through bus service you can also move through cities:
International Airport "Mother Teresa" (also known as Rinas) is approximately 25 kilometres from Tirana and has many direct flights from Europe. Main city connections include London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Vienna, Zurich, Athens, Bologna, Budapest, Istanbul etc.
The city of Tirana is linked with the airport by bus service. Departure for the airport is made from Skanderbeg Square every hour to the airport.ALBANIAN CITIES Tirana
Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1920. It is relatively new city established in 1614 from Sulejman Bargjini, feudal of the area at the time. The city began to grow at the beginning of the 18th century. "Tirana ", it is thought that comes from the word " Theranda", mentioned in the ancient Greek and Latin sources, that aborigines called Te Ranat, because the field was formed as a result of stiff materials that the waters from the surrounding mountains brought. Today Tirana is not only the most populated city in Albania, but also the biggest political and economic centre in the country. The Adriatic Sea and Dajti mountains are near to the city. It takes you less than one hour drive to reach the sea. A Great Park with an artificial lake is located immediately at the southern part of the city.
Vlora is a coastal city. It is not only one of the major ports, but also of great historical importance as it was here that in 1912 the Assembly was convened to proclaim Albania as an independent state and to set up the first National Government headed by Ismail Qemali. Thus Vlore became the first capital city in independent Albania.
One can learn more about the background of this event at the Museum of Independence. On a hill above the city one can enjoy the religious place of "Kuzum Baba". From there you can see the beach and the view of the whole city.
It known as "the city of one-thousand windows" and is declared as a museum city. It is on the slopes of the Tomorri mount where the castle of the city rises in a predominant hill. Inside its walls there are dwelling houses and the "Onufri Museum". Paintings and icons by the outstanding Albanian painter are also exhibited there. The old part of the city has some religious buildings like churches and mosques.
The principal port of Durres is the second largest city of Albania. The city was colonized by the colonists from Corinth and Korkyra in 627 B.C. It was named Epidamnus, which later became Dyrrachium. The most important object is the amphitheatre, the largest in Balkan with 15,000 seats, dating back to the 2nd century AD and containing an Early Christian crypt with a rare wall mosaics . Between the 1st and 3rd centuries Durres was an important port and trading centre on the Via Egnatia trading route, between Rome and Byzantuim (Istanbul). After a great number of earthquakes, much of ancient Durres sank into the sea or collapsed and was subsequently built over. Today the city is well known for the nearby beach resort of Durres and its sandy beaches and warm sea waters.
Kruja is a medieval town near Tirana. The name of Kruja is closely connected with the name of the National Hero, George Kastriot Scanderbeg, who fought against the Ottomans for 25 years in succession, defending European civilization from their threat in the 15th century. At a prominent and strategic place near the city, there is a castle, within is housed the Scanderbeg Museum (National Museum). On the way to the castle there is a medieval bazaar.
Is the largest city of south eastern part of Albania. It is situated at the foot of Morava Mountain on a plateau 800 m above sea level. It became an important trading and handicraft centre in the 18th century due to the development of trade with neighbouring regions. The museum for Medieval Art is in Korça. It presents the spiritual and material culture of the Albanian people. There are also the Museum of Education, where the first Albanian School were opened in 1878 and the new museum of "Bratko Collections" with antiquaries from the Far East.
Pogradec is one of the most charming tourist resorts in Albania because of its position on Lake Ohrid which distinguishes itself for clear water and mountain views. The Koran fish, similar to trout, is found in this lake. Besides the beautiful beach, your stay in Pogradec is made more interesting by the excursion to the tourist centre in Driloni (5 km eastward) surrounded by ornamental plants and trees.
One of the most important cities of southern Albania has been declared a "Museum City". It is built on the slope of a mountain and is known for its characteristic and narrow stone paved streets. The dwelling houses have the form of medieval towers consisting a building ensemble with characteristic architecture. The castle of the city stands like a balcony over the city. It enables the visitors to enjoy a very beautiful landscape. The National Museum of Weapons is housed in the interior of the castle. Weapons are produced and used by the Albanian since the ancient times are displayed there.
Saranda is most southern city of Albania. Situated opposite of Corfu Island, Saranda is now mostly visited by day trippers who come to enjoy this previously inaccessible resort. It is one of the most tourist sites in Albania and is very preferable by "honeymooners". Near Saranda there are the ruins of the ancient city of Butrint and the spring of "Blue Eye".
It is one of the most major cities in the north - western part of the country. It is situated near the lake sharing the same name and along the road that leads to Montenegro. It is an ancient city with rich history. One can find old characteristic houses where wood and other traditional motifs are used. Near the city there is the castle of Rozafa built on a rocky hill from where you can see attractive and beautiful views. During your stay you can visit the Historical Museum of the city. Shkodra is a good point to start your trip to Albanian Alps.
On the way from Tirana to Shkodra in the town of Lezha is interesting to visit the memorial dedicated to burial place of Albanian National Hero, Scanderbeg.GENEARL INFO
Albania has a Mediterranean climate with each season offering distinct, yet pleasant weather. Some features of the climate vary by region: The coastal areas have a Central Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The alpine areas have a Central Continental climate with cold, snowy winters and temperate summers. The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7°C, and summer temperatures average 24°C. Lowland rainfall ranges from 1,000 mm to more than 1,500 mm annually, with greater rainfall in the north. Nearly 95% of rainfall occurs in the winter and rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Despite the rain, Albanians enjoy a great deal of sunshine. The overall climate is pleasant and favours outdoor activity. On average, Albanians enjoy a great deal of sunshine, second only to Spain in average annual sunny days. The overall climate is pleasant and favours outdoor activities.
Since the fall of Communism, the development of the Albanian economy has been fuelled primarily by the service and construction industries, though tourism has recently played an increasing role in the economy and is growing rapidly.
Many people are curious to explore a country whose borders were closed to travel for many years. Given the continued development of both summer and winter resorts, people all over the world have begun to think of Albania as a tourist destination.
Black double-headed eagle on red background
In Albania, there is a peaceful coexistence of those practicing a variety of religious faiths. Muslims, Orthodox, and those following the teachings of the Catholic Church comprise the majority of people adherent to religion. In 1967, religious worship was prohibited and the country became the world's only official atheist state. Since the end of the Communism,
Albanians have been guaranteed the freedom of religion and have exercised that freedom in various ways.The following are also public holidays that do not occur on the same date every year:
Alban Travel Ltd with a trading name Flytoalbania.com is a forward thinking company dedicated to providing our clients with outstanding customer service in Worldwide Travel. Based in UK we pride ourselves on qualified staff, knowledgeable in all phases of the travel industry, with a keen focus on customer expectations, which through the years allowed us to develop into a company dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional service. Based in London, Flytoalbania.com is formed as a result of successful business ventures through Alban Travel Ltd. We offer travel services worldwide while it specializes in the Eastern European Region especially Albania Flytoalbania.com offers you the best prices during summer & winter holidays 2018, with flights from London to Tirana. We work with various Airlines so we can bring you the cheapest prices on the market. All flights are covered by ATOL and SAFI Insurance,so it's good to know you can book with peace of mind. We hope you enjoy your flight.