Albania, the country on the Adriatic coast of the Balkans.
country located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula on the Strait of Otranto, the southern entrance to the Adriatic Sea. It encompasses an area of 11,100 square miles (28,748 square kilometres), with a maximum length from north to south of about 210 miles (340 kilometres) and a maximum width of about 95 miles. It is bounded to the northwest by Montenegro, to the northeast by the Kosovo region of Serbia, to the east by Macedonia, and to the southeast and south by Greece. To the west and southwest, Albania is bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Albania's immediate western neighbour, Italy, lies some 50 miles across the Adriatic. The capital city is Tiranë.
The origins of the Albanian people:more...
Data drawn from history and from linguistic, archaeological, and anthropological studies have led to the conclusion that Albanians are the direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians and that the latter were natives of the lands they inhabited. Similarly, the Albanian language derives from the language of the Illyrians, the transition from Illyrian to Albanian apparently occurring between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.
Illyrian culture is believed to have evolved from the Stone Age and to have manifested itself in the territory of Albania toward the beginning of the Bronze Age, about 2000 BC. The Illyrians were not a uniform body of people but a conglomeration of many tribes that inhabited the western part of the Balkans, from what is now Slovenia in the northwest to (and including) the region of Epirus, which extends about halfway down the mainland of modern Greece. In general, Illyrians in the highlands of Albania were more isolated than those in the lowlands, and their culture evolved more slowly—a distinction that persisted throughout Albania's history.
Authors of antiquity relate that the Illyrians were a sociable and hospitable people, renowned for their daring and bravery at war. Illyrian women were fairly equal in status to the men, even to the point of becoming heads of tribal federations. In matters of religion, Illyrians were pagans who believed in an afterlife and buried their dead along with arms and various articles inte...
Continuing prvious post...more...
The basis of Ottoman rule in Albania was a feudalmilitary system of landed estates, called timars, which were awarded to military lords for loyalty and service to the empire. As Ottoman power began to decline in the 18th century, the central authority of the empire in Albania gave way to the local authority of autonomy-minded lords. The most successful of these lords were three generations of pashas of the Bushati family, who dominated most of northern Albania from 1757 to 1831, and Ali Pasa Tepelenë of Janina (now Ioánnina, Greece), a colourful Oriental-type despot who ruled over southern Albania and northern Greece from 1788 to 1822. These pashas created separate states within the Ottoman state until they were overthrown by the sultan.
After the fall of the pashas, in 1831 Turkey officially abolished the timar system. In the wake of its collapse, economic and social power passed from the feudal lords to private landowning beys and, in the northern highlands, to tribal chieftains called bajraktars, who presided over given territories with rigid patriarchal societies that were often torn by blood feuds. Peasants who were formerly serfs now worked on the estates of the beys as tenant farmers.
Ottoman rule in Albania remained backward and oppressive to the end. In these circumstances, many Albanians went abroad in search of careers and advancement within the empire, and an unusually large number of them, in proportion to Albania's population, ...
The capital and the largest city of Albania, having 800 000 of the 3.5 million inhabitants of the country. Tourists find it interesting, nice and cheap. Tirana though, suffers from dense neighborhood and air pollution due to its rising car numbers.
Tirana is constantly changing