Albania Encyclopedia Online

By | December 15, 2021

Southern European state, in the southwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It borders to the North with Montenegro, to the East with the formally Serbian region of Kosovo and the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, to the SE and to the South with Greece ; a O overlooks the Adriatic Sea. For Albania public policy, please check


The orographic system of the territory of Albania consists of three main sectors: the Albanian Alps, oriented in the SW-NE direction, from Lake Scutari to the Metochia plain and culminating in Mount Jezercës (2694 m); the central-eastern mountainous region, which includes three groups of mountains, including the valleys of the upper Shkumbin and the Black Drin and the Korce basin; the southern mountainous region, formed by parallel chains arranged from NW to SE, whose main peak is Tomori (2417 m). These large mountain areas are contrasted by a modest plain and low hill area that forms a coastal strip over 170 km long and 10 to 30 km wide.

The river regime is of a nivo-pluvial type with a torrential character; the major rivers, from N to S, are the Boiana, emissary of Lake Scutari; the Drin, originating from the confluence of two branches, the White Drin and the Black Drin; the Shkumbin; the Voiussa. The main lakes are those of Shkodra, on the border with Montenegro; of Ohrid, on the border with Macedonia; di Prespa, inside which there is the triconfinal point between Albania, Greece and Macedonia.

The climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters characterized by abundant rainfall (annual average of over 1400 mm) and hot and dry summers. There are three main phytogeographic regions: the Mediterranean region, which affects the coastal strip up to about 800 m, characterized by Mediterranean scrub; the mountain one, up to 1600-1800 m, with a prevalence of beech and fir trees; the alpine one, with herbaceous vegetation.


In 1923 the Albania it had 814,000 residents. The difficult living conditions and the spread of diseases (malaria, syphilis) kept mortality rates high and held back the demographic increase, even in the presence of high birth rates. Since the Second World War, however, the Albanian population has been characterized by a considerable demographic vitality: the improvement of sanitation conditions and the regime’s policies aimed at supporting the birth rate have led to a rapid increase in the population, which between 1945 and 1989 grew at an average annual rate of 2.7% (the highest in Europe), from 1,122,000 units to 3,182,000. With the collapse of the communist regime (1991) massive migratory flows were activated, especially towards Greece and Italy, with the consequent spillage, often in dramatic forms, of about 400,000 people in the first half of the 1990s alone. Subsequently, the flows slowed down (with the exception of the peak recorded during the 1997 political crisis) and the population began to stabilize, reaching 3,069,000 residents at the 2001 census. The data of the last census of 2011, on the other hand, testify to a 7.7% drop in the population: Albania now has 2,831,741 residents. A young population, 23% under the age of 14 and just 9.7% over 65.

The urban component has grown steadily since the early 1990s (53.7% in 2011, against 36% in 1990), due to internal migratory flows from rural areas to cities. The main city is Tirana, with 421,286 residents; it exceeds 100,000 residents Durres, Valona and Elbasan have almost 80,000 residents, Scutari has just under 75,000.

The Albanian population is ethnically homogeneous, with the exception of a consistent Hellen-speaking minority in the S of the country. There are also small groups of Slavs, Wallachians and Roma. The dominant religion is Sunni Islam (70%); Christianity (30%) is present in the Orthodox and Catholic confessions. There is a large number of ethnic Albanians outside the state, especially in Kosovo (about 1.6 million) and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (500,000).

Economic conditions

During the communist period, the Albania was characterized by very rigid forms of statism: nationalization of the economy, creation of a sector for the transformation of mineral resources, forced collectivization of agriculture, total abolition of private property and closure to the West were the guidelines of the economic policy of the regime. The reference economic partners were first Yugoslavia, then the Soviet Union and finally China. Later the regime implemented an autarchic choice, limiting relations with the outside world to mere commercial interchange and relegating the country in a condition of profound socio-economic backwardness. The crisis, aggravated by the collapse of the industrial apparatus and by the fluctuations in the prices of exported raw materials (chromium, oil, copper), manifested itself in all its gravity starting from the end of the 1980s: in the three-year period 1990-92, GDP it reduced by more than 50%, the inflation rate reached three-digit values ​​and industrial and agricultural production was paralyzed. The already very modest living conditions plummeted and the country slipped into political and economic chaos. The drastic measures (privatizations, price liberalization, budget cuts, control of monetary circulation) adopted by the government since 1992, together with remittances from emigrants and substantial international aid, they made it possible to bring the macroeconomic variables under temporary control, directing the country on the path of normalization. But the stabilization process lasted only until 1997: the new political crisis, triggered by the failure of the so-called ‘pyramid’ financial companies and the consequent revolt against the president S. Berisha, also had very serious repercussions on the economic level; the paralysis of production and the suspension of development cooperation programs caused a 10% reduction in GDP in 1997. Foreign direct investment, which had begun to flow into the country, also suffered a long setback. However, since 1998, the newfound political stability has made it possible to launch an effective strategy of economic recovery, meeting the favor of international financial institutions. GDP began to grow at sustained rates (13.2% in 1999; 6.7% in 2004) and living conditions have significantly improved. The GDP growth rate has slowed down in recent years, but the trend has nevertheless remained positive (3.5% in 2010, 3% in 2011).

Agriculture, now completely privatized, continues to play an important role even if its weight has been decreasing (from 36% of GDP in 1996 to 20% in 2010). The main crops include cereals, potatoes, beets; the enhancement of vines and olive trees is underway, which present good prospects for integration with the agro-industrial sector. The breeding is mainly sheep and poultry. Fishing, both marine and freshwater, is quite developed.

The industrial sector accounts for 19% of GDP. The main sectors are mining, agri-food and textiles, while very little remains of the large kombinat(industrial complexes) of the communist period (basic chemicals, refineries, steel mills). The construction sector is rather developed, with 10% of GDP participating.

The tertiary sector, which as a whole produces about 61% of the national wealth, is mainly attributable to the public administration and traditional services (trade, transport, catering). Considering the modest industrial base, Albanian imports concern all product sectors, while textiles are the only significant item of exports, of which in 2010 it constituted 30% of the total value. The main trading partner is Italy, followed by Greece, Germany and Turkey , although following the economic crisis that hit the main recipient countries of Albanian exports, these suffered a contraction in the years 2009 and 2010.


Albanian, which is divided into two main dialects, ghego and Tosco, the first spoke to N of the Shkumbin river and the second at S, is an Indo-European language of intermediate type between satem and centum(like Armenian). It is believed that it is an autonomous language, which settled in its current locations under the Slavic thrust in the first centuries of our era. Linguistic studies conducted on oral texts collected in the heart of the Albania, on passages by ecclesiastical writers of the 17th century. and on the traditional expressive heritage of the Italo-Albanians, have confirmed the autonomy of its phonological and grammatical structures, reducing the albeit important lexical influence of Latin and neo-Latin. The Albanian participates rather in some characteristic innovations of the Balkan languages ​​(article postponed to the noun, in charge of adjectives and genitives, substitution of the infinitive with participial periphrases, or with the subjunctive in a secondary clause).

In addition to Albania, Albanian is spoken in Greece around Kastoria and in Yugoslavia in the area that goes from the southern shores of the Presba and Ohrid lakes to Dibra and Pristina in the Kosovo plain and from there to the border southern Montenegro. We must add some colonies in Turkey, Greece, Dalmatia (Borgo Erizzo near Zara), those settled in southern Italy as well as groups of emigrants in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt and North America.

Albania Language