Albania (Shqipëria) is a 28,748 km2 country situated in the heart of the European continent, in Southeast Europe. The country is small in kilometers but it has many natural landscapes, is rich in mineral and natural resources and its inhabitants have inherited unique traditions of their Illyrian ancestors. Tourism has become a priority in country, being that Albania is surrounded by about 400 km coastline with its unspoiled Adriatic and Ionian beaches, which in 2104 were visited by more than 3 million tourists.
Located in the region called Balkans, Albania is bordered by Greece in southeast, Macedonia in the east, Kosovo in northeast and Montenegro in north. In front of it (bordered by Adriatic Sea) is Italy. The main airport is called Mother Theresa Airport, located in Rinas, between Tirana and Durres cities.
As for the geo-physic feature, Albania is divided into four zones: northern mountainous zone also called Albanian Alps, central mountainous zone, southern mountainous zone and the western wetland. The average latitude of the country is 708 m above the level sea. The country’s climate has Mediterranean features where the minimal temperatures may reach -15 degree during winter and up to 40 degree during summer season. Albania has about 270-300 sunny days per year.
Tirana, the largest city and at the same time the most developed metropolis is the capital of Albania, situated in the Middle Albania, bordered by Durres and Elbasan cities, second largest cities in country. Tirana is the settlement of many international firms and businesses’ offices. The architecture and urban development of the city boosted after 1990 since before citizens didn’t have the right to construct nor had their private owned lands or facilities.
3.020209 million people are estimated to live currently in Albania (calculated in 2014), whose prominent values are the worm hospitality and religious tolerance, often praised by important international figures, lately by Pope Francis during his historical visit to Tirana on September 21, 2014.
Economy of Albania has had many ups and downs during the transition period (after the fall of communism in 1990 until nowadays). It is a liberalized economy and mainly focused on tourism and natural resources (chrome, oil and other minerals). Economy’s priority sectors are: agriculture, tourism, ICT, transportation and logistics, renewable energy, manufacturing industry, mining industry (natural resources).
Albania is a democratic state and has a large number of small parties registered as active in country’s political life. Socialist Party (mayor left-wing party in country) is currently ruling the country, headed by its leader Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, declared winner of elections held in 2013. Democratic Party is the main opposite party, ruled by Lulezim Basha, which is currently Mayor of Tirana Municipality.
After the fall of communism regime in 1990, first democratic elections took place in 1991 but the communist party won and was still a majority. In March 1992, amid liberalization policies resulting in economic collapse and social unrest, a new front led by the new Democratic Party took power. The economic crisis spread in late 1996 following the failure of some Ponzi schemes operating in the country, peaking in 1997 in an armed rebellion that led to another mass emigration of Albanians, mostly to Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany and North America. In 1999, the country was affected by the Kosovo War, when a great number of Albanians from Kosovo found refuge in Albania. Albania became a full member of NATO in 2009, and has applied to join the European Union. In June 2014, the Republic of Albania became an official candidate for accession to the European Union.