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Located in the Southeastern part of Europe is a country known as Albania or the Republic of Albania. The Republic of Albania sits on the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. This country shares borders with Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Greece, and Italy. The capital of Albania and the largest country within Albania is Tirana with a long history of establishment within the country. The entire country is 11,100 square miles with mountains and seas to sight see while visiting. The water in the country of Albania takes up 4.7% of the country with many coasts, seas, and beaches to accompany the beautiful country. The languages used and that are recognized within this country are Albanian, Greek, Aromanian, Macedonian, and many others. The population of this country as of January 2020 is 2,845,955. The national currency used in the Republic of Albania is Lek or ALL and the calling code shown as +355.
The Republic of Albania started their first form of government in the 12th century as the autonomous Principality of Arber. To follow in the 13th and 14th centuries, the Kingdom of Albania and the Principality of Albania were established with the Ottoman conquest of Albania to follow in the 15th century. After the Ottoman conquest, between the 18th and 19th centuries, the Albanian Renaissance came about. Following the Balkan Wars, Albania finally declared independence in 1912. Following their independence, Albania was used as a protectorate of Nazi Germany and formed a communist government until 1991. After the fall of communism after the revolutions, the established government would be the one that would still stand today. The current constitution that governs the country was adopted in November of 1998 following the 4th republic of Albania in 1991. This country operates as a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic meaning that there is one central government leading the country but still to be considered a public matter. The legislature of the country is known as the Parliament of Albania or Kuvendi. The current president of Albania is Ilir Meta and the prime minister is Edi Rama.
Albania is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, COE, OSCE, and OIC. Albania is also one of the founding members of the Energy community which extends the energy market to Southern parts of Europe. This country also helped to form the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Union for the Mediterranean. The national anthem of this country is “Hymn to the Flag.” Education in Albania is secular, free, compulsory, and based on three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary education. The first two levels of education are free to the citizens of Albania while the third level of education is optional after secondary school. There are two semesters for the school year with the first semester starting in September-October and the year ending in June-July. School is taught in Albanian and a study in a foreign language is required and taught in elementary and bilingual schools around Albania. The languages normally taught to the students is English, Italian, French, and German. Schooling goes to 16 years of age. The two systems of school are elementary school which ranges from grade one to grade five and then secondary school which goes to grade six to grade nine. Children are required to attend school until 16 years old. The tertiary level of education in Albania is optional after secondary education. There are private and public schooling options for this third level of education where you earn your bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and ultimately, your doctorate.
Health care in the country of Albania is equal, free, and universal for all citizens as outlined in the constitution of Albania. There are three levels of health care in Albania as primary, secondary, and tertiary. Albania ranks 37th in the world with the life expectancy at 77.8 years. Albania has a relatively low rate of obesity as many choose the Mediterranean diet to fuel their body. In the country of Albania, there is no official religion as it is considered a secular and religiously diverse country. The people of Albania enjoy freedoms of religion, belief, and conscience under the constitution of Albania. According to the 2011 census in Albania, approximately 58% of people are Muslim, 16% are Christian and the remaining are either non denominational, irreligion, or unclear. There are smaller sects of Christianity that in Albania such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The people of Albania can be divided into two groups called the northern Ghegs and the southern Tosks based on culture and linguistics. The social structure of Albania is based on clans characterized by a common culture, common ancestry, and shared social ties. Some holidays that the people of Albanians celebrate are their Independence Day, Flag Day, Christmas, Majram, Dita e Veres, and, Dita e Mesuesit. The cuisine in Albania is quite diverse but also, Mediterrean food is largely popular and loved. Food in Albanian is important to their culture and their history and traditions. Olive oil is commonly in cooking along with vegetables like zucchini, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, cabbages, and spinach. There are many cereals, herbs and meats that Albanians love to eat as well. Tea and wine are also enjoyed with every meal in Albania.
The current COVID pandemic in Albania has marked the country as a high risk country as far as travel is concerned. Since the pandemic started, Albania has confirmed more than 9,500 cases of COVID within the country. Schools around the country were allowed to reopen in June but other events and large gatherings have been cancelled indefinitely in Albania. As of July, mask wearing was made mandatory with a non-compliance fee put in place. Albania is a country with lots of diversity and full of history to tell its stories. This country is full of beautiful sights, amazing food, a diverse people group, and many other things for people to enjoy. Speaking Albanian, and other languages, the people of Albania are extremely welcoming to everyone they come across with their roots full of history and hospitality. This country is slowly growing as shown through the last censuses but has a large tourist population moving throughout the country through the year.