Facts About Albania You Must Know Before Visit
By: Eric Nelson
Albania is a country surrounded by mountains, located in the Southeastern part of Europe. Having a small population of 2.85 million, this country boasts of scenic mountainous sites and tourist spots waiting to be explored.
Every country has its own unique features but Albania boasts of some really surprising facts that set it apart from other countries. So if you are a business seeking to expand in this beautiful country, you need to have a look at these fun facts along with hiring a reliable agency providing expert Albanian translation services.
Let’s have a look at some of the fun facts about Albania:-
The Walking Tradition
Albanians are known for their carefree nature and the activities they perform reflect that nature. In the evenings, Albanians have a tradition of coming out for a walk to stretch their legs and socialize. Known as “xhiro” this walking activity happens every evening were all neighbors gather to talk and interact with each other till nightfall.
Nobel Prize is Rare
Some countries are popular for their contributions to humanity and have numerous Nobel Prizes to their name. Not so with Albania. To date, Mother Teresa is the only Albanian to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in the then-Ottoman empire, in Skopje, she won the Nobel Prize in 1979 for her unmatchable contribution to humanity and refugees.
Majority of the community is Muslim
That’s right. Even though Albania started off as an atheist state, the majority of the population (60-70%) now residing in Albania is Muslims. In fact, Albania was the first atheist country in the European region when Dictator Enver Hoxha declared atheism state in 1967. Obsessed with communism, he abolished all religions in a go, even going as far as destroying several religious buildings. However, after Islam arrived in the region by the hands of Ottoman and Persian Empires in the 8th and 11th centuries, the majority of the population embraced Islam and remains as such.
When communism fell in 1991, Albania opened its doors for the rest of the world but the past 45 years of communism had left the country in a dire situation and it was the poorest country in the whole European region. The country had the lowest GDP per capita and purchasing power parity of over $2000 per person. However, Albania has recovered dramatically since then and now enjoys a good GDP and economic status in Europe. So if you are a company wanting to enter in this region, you need to leave all your worries behind and embrace the country with the help of a reliable agency delivering Albanian translation services.
No McDonalds in Albania
Sounds surprising, right? After the fall of communism and 45 years of isolation, big names like McDonald's was completely unknown in Albania and continues to this day, despite the big company having chains in over 125 countries worldwide. Although other burger joints such as Kentucky Fried Chicken are present in this country, McDonald's is still not present in this region, making it one of the very few countries where the giant burger joint is missing.
More Albanians outside than Within
It is a fact that a country has its own population composed of its own native people but this is not the case with Albania. After the fall of the regime in 1991, the era that followed saw a lot of revolutionary changes and shifts in the country. To make up for the lack of opportunities within Albania, many of the residents migrated outside the country, traveling to Greece, the US, and Italy. The influx of migrants is so high that approximately 1.4 million Albanians now live outside the country—approximately half more than living within.
National Geographic’s 2018 destinations
Albania is a beautiful country, with scenic mountains and resorts. This is the reason that it was declared one of the top destinations to explore by National Geographic in 2018. Although the main focus was on diving, the country as a whole was declared an ideal spot for vacation and travel. Even before this title was bestowed on this scenic country, the number of tourists annually visiting here was approximately 5-6 million—a huge number that continues to grow every year.
Smile and Nods are different
Some signs and body languages are universal, irrespective of where you travel to. While the rest of the world nods in agreement and shake their heads in disagreement, the Albanians do the opposite. Albanians nod when they mean ‘no’ and shake their heads when they mean ‘yes’. That’s why it’s quite easy to get confused when you communicate with an Albanian local.
Although the small city of Albania holds immense scenic beauty and charm, it also holds a ‘risk factor’ to its name. According to the 2015 World Risk Report by the UN, Albania is one of the few countries in Europe to be declared the riskiest ones due to the threat of natural disasters. In fact, in 2010, a huge flood swept the country, killing more than 7000 Albanians. This is the reason it is at most risk when it comes to natural disasters.
What’s in the name?
The most surprising fact associated with Albania is that the locals don’t refer to their country as Albania. The name most commonly used to refer to Albania by its residents is Shqiperi—meaning the Land of Eagles. As for the word “Albania”, it was used primarily by locals and everyone else till the Medieval times and 2nd Century B.C.
Street Art is Everywhere
Lastly, the reason Albania boasts of being one of the top destinations to be explored by National Geographic is also because of its capital Tirana. The city is a hotspot for tourists due to its street art and designs that set it apart from any capital of the world. Full of street installations and art, the city presents a stark contrast to its grey communist past.
The Last Word
Albania is surely a country to be explored and Albanians are the people you should definitely interact with. While the country may have a dark past, its future is a bright one so if you are a business willing to invest your resources in Albania, all you need to know is background history and have the support of a reliable translation agency for delivering you professional Albanian translation services and you are good to go.