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Albania Country Guide

Albania is a beautiful Mediterranean country located on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Situated between Greece, Macedonia, and Kosovo, this historically rich country has recently been nominated as a top place to visit by Lonely Planet.

Visually, Albania provides visitors with mixed views. The long and beautiful coastlines have pristine beaches, and in the distance, luscious mountains fill the horizon. Albania has been diligent to preserve its natural beauty, and visitors to this area will find that the forests and waters seem untouched.

Culturally, Albania is quite diverse. Their position in the Mediterranean area has made them a part of many great cultures. Ancient Roman and Greek influences can be found throughout the country. In addition, the Ottoman Empire has had many modern influences on the people of Albania.

Many famous events in history took place on the Albanian shores. Marc Anthony launched his fleet from the Albania shores on his way to conquer Pompey. The great orator, Cicero, stood in the ancient Albanian city of Apollonia and declared it the most beautiful place on earth.

Visitors to Albania will find many historical and archeologically significant sites to visit throughout the country. With a history dating back to prehistoric times, Albania has been a part of the Roman Empire, The Greek Empire and the Ottoman Empire. 

In modern times, Albania is considered a small country with a large presence. The country has been a democracy since 1991, and is currently a member of NATO, The United Nations, and many other security and trade organizations.

Albania comprises of nearly all Albanians, with a small three percent of the population claiming Greek heritage. The official language of the country is Albanian, but there are two distinct dialects of this language. Gheg and Tosk are the two main dialects, and the distinction between the two languages usually falls along the banks of the Shkumbin River.

In some areas of Albania, there is a dialect of ancient Greek that is still spoken. Other unusual dialects that can be found throughout the country include: Macedonian, Bulgarian, Aromanian (an older form of Armenian), Serbian, Gorani ( a Slavic dialect), and Roma. Roma is more commonly known as Gypsy.

The Armenian language is considered to be an Indo-Slavic language. The root words of their language can be traced to distinct Eastern Indian languages as well as Slavic and Germanic origins. The first written language that was established as Armenian was very similar in look to Latin, yet it had a very distinct style of its own.

Albanian food is a mixture of Mediterranean and Far East cuisine. It is based in sea food, olives, and spices. Vegetables are incorporated into most meals. Yogurt is also a large staple in the Albanian diet. Dairy products play a large role in the sauces made for the more elaborate dishes.

The Albanian language and culture is very diverse, making the country a wonderful place to live and visit.