• Unbelievable facts about Albania

Albania is one of the oldest surviving countries in Europe, and it has a fascinating history and culture that has kept its people living for thousands of years. Though often overlooked, Albania has a lot to offer the curious traveler, from untouched beaches to incredible cuisine and ancient monasteries. Here are ten unbelievable facts about Albania that will surely surprise you!

The Albanian Flag

The Albanian flag is an instantly recognizable symbol. It has two red stripes, one white stripe and one black stripe, laid out horizontally. The red stripes represent an Albanian hero, Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, and the black and white stripes are said to symbolize peace and freedom. The flag was designed in 1912 and officially adopted in 1914.

Albania’s Ancient Monasteries

Albania is home to many ancient monasteries, most of which are in the north of the country. The most famous ones include Krujë Monastery, Shkodër Monastery and Mesi Monastery. These monasteries have been standing for hundreds of years and are still in use today. Monasteries have been home to many religious rituals and have served as a place of refuge for Albanians during times of conflict. They are also a major tourist attraction to those interested in Albanian culture and history.

The Albanian Alphabet

The Albanian language is unique in the fact that it uses its own exclusive alphabet, called “Tosk Albanian”. This alphabet has 36 letters and is based on the Latin alphabet, but has some characters that are not found in other languages. This alphabet was developed in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk, but has since been adopted and adapted by many people who speak Albanian.

Albanian Cuisine

Albanian cuisine is a major part of the culture. It is a mix of Mediterranean and Balkan cuisine, with influences from Greek and Turkish food. There are traditional dishes like the “byrek”, which is a savoury pastry filled with cheese, spinach, eggs and other delicious ingredients. Albanian food is also known for its freshness, with many dishes being made with local meats and freshly picked vegetables.

Albania’s Cretan Influence

Though it is often thought of as a Balkan nation, Albania actually has strong ties to the Mediterranean. It has a long history of being influenced by the Cretan culture thanks to its proximity to Crete. In fact, some historians believe the first Albanians were actually Cretan settlers in the 12th and 13th centuries. There are still some places in Albania, such as Dhërmi, which have a strong Cretan influence.

Albanian Films

Albania has a vibrant film industry, despite the fact that it is a small nation. Many Albanian films have been screened at international film festivals, such as Cannes and Berlin, and have garnered praise from critics and viewers alike. Some of the most prominent Albanian directors are Fatmir Koçi, Gjergj Xhuvani and Bekim Firdini.

Albania’s Unique Clubs

Albania is known for its vibrant nightlife, which is centred around its unique clubs. Rakia bars, which serve the traditional liquor of Albania called rakia, are common sights in larger cities. Additionally, Albania is also home to a number of underground clubs which host a range of different music, such as electronica, rock, jazz, and hip-hop.

Albania’s Magnificent Beaches

Albania is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe, due to its long coastline. The beaches in the south are particularly stunning, with crystal clear waters and white sand. Beach towns like Sarandë and Ksamil attract millions of tourists each year, who come to enjoy the beauty of the beaches, as well as the local seafood and nightlife.

Albanian Ancient Ruins

Albania is home to several ancient ruins, including Throni of Apollonia, Butrint and Amantia. These ancient sites provide a window into the past and are a major tourist attraction in Albania. Throni of Apollonia, in particular, is a spectacular site, with its marble columns and towering archways. These ruins are worth visiting for anyone interested in history and archaeology.

Albanian Music

Albanian music is unique and has a long history. Traditional music styles include:

  • Gheg is a style of singing popular in the north. It is usually accompanied by a double-headed drum, known as the ‘watch’.
  • Tosk is a southern style of music which is mainly vocal and improvisational.
  • Lab is a popular style of folk music which is sung in a call-and-response style. It is often accompanied by a “dulcimer” instrument.

Albania’s culture and history are incredibly fascinating and have been kept alive through its music. Exploring the musical styles of Albania will surely provide an interesting insight into this interesting country.

As we can see, Albania has many surprises in store for the curious traveler. From its rich cuisine to its beautiful beaches and ancient ruins, there is something for everyone in this small nation. So if you’re looking for a place to visit with a rich culture and history, Albania may be the destination for you.

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