country code: AL
EU membership: no
NATO membership: yes
GPS: 41 00 N, 20 00 E
Albanian Lek: ALL
1ALL = 0.010 USD
1ALL = 0.008 EUR
Travel advices and warnings Albania
||Tourism in Albania is characterized by the archaeological heritage inherited from Greek, Roman and Ottoman times, unspoiled beaches, challenging mountain ranges, Cold War artifacts, unique traditions, unequivocal hospitality, delicious traditional cuisine, and the wild and peculiar atmosphere of the countryside. Although still underdeveloped, tourism has seen an impressive increase in recent years. Lonely Planet recently ranked Albania as the no. 1 destination to be visited in 2011. The majority of tourists is made up of Albanians coming from Albania itself, Kosovo, and Macedonia, and expats from Greece, and Italy.
||The education system in Albania is secular. The literacy rate for the total population, age 9 or older, is about 94%. Elementary education is compulsory (grades 1–9), but most students continue at least until a secondary education (grades 10–12). Students must successfully pass graduation exams at the end of the 9th grade and at the end of the 12th grade in order to continue their education. There are about 5000, mostly public, schools throughout the country and the academic year is divided into two semesters. The school year begins in September and finishes in late May or early June.
||The Albania culture has Greek, Roman, Italian, Byzantine, Turkish and Slavic influences.
Art - Painting was strongly influenced by Byzantine art between the V and the XV century, although by the end of the early Renaissance, between the XV and XVII centuries, the Italian influence was very strong. Paintings of religious images were created in the middle of the XVIII century and continued to be common until the XX century. Artists of the XX century, like Vangjush Mijo and Androniqi Zenge, introduced impressionism to the west. Odhise Paskal, another artist of the XX century made sculptures of Albanian heroes. The folkloric art of nowadays includes clothes decorated with ornaments of silver, wood pieces made by hand for domestic use and carpets of wool.
||The cuisine of Albania is uniquely influenced by Turkish, Greek, and Italian cuisines. Every region in Albania has its own unique dishes. Albanian cuisine is characterized by the use of various mediterranean herbs such as Oregano, Black Pepper, Mint, Basilico, Rosemary and more in cooking meat and fish. Olive oil and butter is also a main ingredient in different dishes.
In Albania, meat (lamb, pork, cow, rabbit and chicken) is used heavily in various dishes in most of the country. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal areas such as Durrës, Vlorë, Shkoder, Lezhe and Sarandë.
Vegetables are used in almost every dish. Usually, Albanian farmers grow every vegetable present in the Mediterranean region and sell them at the local Farmers Market. Vegetables are brought fresh at the Farmers Market early in the morning and this market is opened everyday.
The main meal of the Albanians is lunch, which usually consists of gjellë, the main dish of slowly cooked meat, and a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives. The salad is dressed with olive oil, vinegar, and salt.