A city in southern Albania with an ancient history, that lies on the hills of Mali i Gj'r' (The Wide Mountain), on the eastern side of the valley of Drinos. Gjirokastra's (pronounced: Gee-roh'-kah'-strah') population is 30,000.

A view of the town
Traces of old settlements date back to the first century B.C. Because of its favorable position, protected by the high hills and crossed by major routes that lead to the inner parts of the country in the north and the Ionian Sea in the west, it was turned into a castle (The Castle of Gjirokastra), which became the nucleus for its growth. Its appearance as a city began in the 13th century, and it is mentioned in Byzantine writings as Argyropolihne (the city of Argyro). Around this year is when buildings began to emerge on the hills surrounding the castle walls. It became part of the Despotate of Epirus, and in the 14th century it was the center of the Albanian feudal family Zenebish'. The Ottoman Turks took the city in 1417. Due to its awkward position under Ottoman rule, the city had only 163 buildings in 1432. It began to prosper in the 16th century, when it became the center of the Sanjak of Delvina.
Gjirokastra gained its role as an important center during the 17th century, and it prospered during the years 1800-1830, when new houses were built, with high architectural and artistic value. The Pazari i Vjet'r (Old Bazaar) and Hazmurat quarters, located on two crests parallel to each other, are the places where the characteristic Gjirokastra houses were built the most. The present bazaar, at the center of the town, was first built in the 17th century. It was set ablaze in the 19th century and was rebuilt with carved stone to match the houses surrounding it. The Palorto and Manalat quarters have monumental collections of houses with their characteristic dimensions and walls of uniform blocks. Houses of the Dunavat quarters are decorously conjugated with their sites, and in the Cfaka quarters the shapes of the buildings are in harmony with the greenery. The Gjirokastra house is one of the most distinguished style of the Albanian house, which is represented in three variations. The exterior appearance combines the sternness it projects with the gracefulness of its windows, its lobby (�ardak), the small columns that hold the wide shelters, sometimes with paintings on them. In many cases the interiors have sculptured wood. The high architectural value of the houses are a reflection of the nature of Albanian towns from the Middle Ages through the 20th century.

Museum of History in Gjirokastra (photo by Dorothy Howells)

During the 19th century, Gjirokastra played an important role in the Albanian liberation movement of that period, it was the site of the Assembly of Gjirokastra, which was held in July, 1880.
The city developed after World War II, and today is an economic, cultural, and educational center of southern Albania. Its main fields of production are food, clothing, tobacco, and metals. Gjirokastra has the "A. Z. ,ajupi" Cultural Center with a professional theater, gallery of arts, and 23 museums, of which the most distinguished are The National Museum of Arms and the Gjirokastra Museum of the Rilindja (the Albanian National Liberation Movement of the 19th century). Gjirokastra publishes several newspapers, including ones in Greek, since it is home to part of the Greek minority of Albania.
Every five years since the year 1968, Gjirokastra is the site of the National Folk Festival, which brings together folk musicians and dancers from the entire country, and lately from Kosova and the Albanian populated regions of FYR of Macedonia.


Apollonia is an important archeological site in the Fier District in southwestern Albania.

The remains of ancient Apollonia


The 2000 year old town of Berat is located in southcentral Albania. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Albania. As you can see from the pictures, it is no wonder that Berat is also known as "the town of a thousand windows."

Views of Berat

One of the churches inside the Berat Castle, where the famous Onufri Museum is located.

Albania National Anthem

Albania National Anthem

Himni i Flamurit (in English: Hymn to the Flag) is the national anthem of Albania. The words were written by the Albanian poet Asdreni (Aleksander Stavre Drenova). The hymn was first published as a poem in Liri e Shqipërisë (in English: Freedom of Albania), an Albanian newspaper in Sofia, Bulgaria on April 21, 1912. It was later printed in a volume of poems by Drenova titled Ëndra e lotë (in English: Dreams and tears), which was published in Bucharest.
The music of the anthem was composed by the Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu, originally for the song "Pe-al nostru steag e scris Unire" (or "E scris pe tricolor unire").

Lyrics and translation

There are two versions of the anthem: a long and a short one. Below is the text for the long version. The second stanza is considered as refrain and is repeated at the end. The short version makes use of the first two stanzas only and repeats the last two verses of the 2nd stanza. Usually, in sportive events among national teams, the short version is the one officially used. (The original poem has three more stanzas that are not part of the anthem - which are added at the end.)
Albanian lyrics Translation
First stanza
Rreth flamurit të përbashkuar
Me një dëshir' e një qëllim,
Të gjith' atij duke iu betuar
Të lidhim besën për shpëtim.
Around our flag we stand united,
With one wish and one goal,
A sacred oath we bestow upon it
Proclaiming loyalty for our salvation.
Second stanza
Prej lufte veç ai largohet
Që është lindur tradhëtar,
Kush është burrë nuk frikësohet,
Po vdes, po vdes si një dëshmor!
From the struggle only he turns his back,
He who is born a traitor,
He who is a true man is not frightened,
But dies a martyr to the cause.
Third stanza
Në dorë armët do t'i mbajmë,
Të mbrojmë atdheun në çdo kënd,
Të drejtat tona ne s'i ndajmë;
Këtu armiqtë s'kanë vënd!
With weapons in our hands a-brandished,
We will defend our fatherland,
Our sacred rights we’ll not relinquish,
The foe has no place in our land.
Fourth stanza (not sung)
Se Zoti vetë e tha me gojë
Që kombe shuhen përmbi dhé,
Po Shqipëria do të rrojë;
Për të, për të luftojmë ne!
For God himself proclaimed:
The nations of the earth shall wane,
And yet will live, will thrive Albania.
For her our fight won’t be in vain.
Sixth stanza (not sung)
O Flamur, flamur, shenj' e shenjtë
tek ti betohemi këtu
për Shqipërinë, atdheun e shtrenjtë,
për nder' edhe lavdimn e tu.
O Flag, flag, you sacred symbol
upon you we now swear
for Albania, our dear fatherland
for honour and your commends
Fifth stanza (not sung)
Trim burrë quhet dhe nderohet
atdheut kush iu bë therror.
Përjetë ai do të kujtohet
mbi dhe, nën dhe si një shenjtor!
Brave man is named and honoured
the one who sacrificed himself for the fatherland
Forever he will be remembered
on earth and under as a saint!

National Flag of Albania

National Flag of Albania

Country: Republic of Albania

Albania Flag Description:
The Albanian flag consists of a black, two headed eagle in the center of the red base.
Albania Flag Meaning:
The eagle is taken from an Albanian folk tale. The eagle faithfully watches over and guides the king or the "son of the eagle."
Albania Flag History:
The current version of the Albania flag was adopted on April 7th 1992. The coat of arms was adopted May 22nd, 1993. Some modern versions of the Albania flag have a helmet or star above the eagle. A version of the Albanian flag with a red star and a yellow border dates back to the Communist takeover in 1946 and has recently been removed. The eagle dates back to George Castriota, an Albanian Christian who became a Turkish general in the 15th century under the name of Iskander Bey, or Skanderberg. Castriota used the double-headed eagle on his seals and this has led it to being on the modern flag. Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. All versions of the Albanian flag since then have featured an eagle, even during the Italian occupation of World War II, and its communist regime after the war. Albania became a republic again in 1992.
Interesting Albania Flag Facts:
The nickname of the Albania flag is 'flamur e Skenderbeut' (Skanderbeg's flag).

Ancient History of the Albanians

The first reaction perhaps of most people upon learning of the unique features of the Albanians is "Where did these people come from?" or "Who ordered the Albanians?" The answer is that the Albanians were in the nature of an aboriginal people of the Balkans who were pushed back into a mountainous corner of the peninsula by the migratory invasions of the Slavs. The Albanian language is a branch of the Indo-European language family so Albanian is not so ancient as Basque. But the Albanians were in the Balkans from at least 1000 B.C. Like Greek, Albanian is a branch of Indo-European spoken by a relatively small number compared to the other branches such a Germanic, Celtic and Slavic.
In ancient times the Albanians were known as the Illyrians and were spread more extensively over the Balkans. Isolated groups are still found as far afield as Italy including Sicily, the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Greece and European Turkey, but primarily the Albanian speakers are concentrated in what is now Albania, Kosovo and western Macedonia. The language of the ancient Dacians in what is now Romania appears to be related to Albania. Some small core of Dacian has survived in modern Romanian.


Ancient Illyria
The first Balkan War

Ancient Illyria: to AD 1909

The western part of the Balkan peninsula is known to the ancient Greeks as Illyria. The Illyrians, a group of Indo-European tribes, have been in the area since at least 1000 BC. Their region becomes prosperous during the Roman empire and is devastated by the subsequent passage of Visigoths and Huns on their way into Europe. But these waves of people, however destructive, merely pass through.

The next to arrive in the Balkans, in the 6th century AD, are the Slavs - and they come to stay. Gradually they predominate in the entire region of Illyria except for mountainous Albania. The Albanians become the only identifable group descending directly from the Illyrians.

In its strategic but exposed position, Albania is a pawn in the shifting patterns of power through the centuries. It is in the Byzantine empire, it is prey to Norman adventurers from southern Italy, it is in the Latin empire of Constantinople, its ports are occupied by Venice and finally it is absorbed within the Ottoman empire.

Early rule by the Turks is repeatedly frustrated by the achievements of Albania's national hero, Skanderbeg. Son of an Albanian princely family, he is taken as a hostage to Istanbul and is brought up to be a Muslim warrior. But when sent into service in the Balkans, he changes sides, proclaims himself a Christian and leads a movement to liberate his people.

From 1443 to 1467 Skanderbeg frustrates a succession of Turkish armies sent to subdue him, on occasion even armies led in person by the sultans Murad and Mehmed II. But after his death, in 1468, Albania sinks into an uninterrupted four centuries of subjection to Turkish rule.

Sealed off from the constant struggles between Christian nations and the Turks elswhere in the Balkans, Albania becomes fully absorbed into the Ottoman empire. Education is only in Turkish; the only chance of advancement is in the Turkish administration or army. Eventually more than two thirds of the Albanian population are Muslim, with the rest being divided between Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox.

As a result a nationalist movement develops later in Albania than elsewhere in the region. But in the late 19th century there are attempts to print some works of literature in Albanian - an activity forbidden by the Turks and made more difficult by the lack of an agreed alphabet.

The defining moment of Albanian nationalism is a congress held at Bitolj in 1909, which adopts a standard way of writing and spelling the Albanian language in Roman letters. The same congress appoints a committee of national union, aiming at this stage only for autonomy within the Ottoman empire. But events move faster than the committee could possibly envisage. Three years later, turmoil in the region leads almost instantly to Albanian independence.

The first Balkan War: AD 1912-1913

The Balkan upheavals of 1912 begin in Albania. A national uprising against the Turks is so successful that an Albanian army presses far enough east to occupy the Macedonian city of Skopje. This success stirs the Balkan states to action, for an independent Albania is not part of their plans. In October 1912 Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria go to war against Turkey.

The allies rapidly make inroads into Macedonia and Albania. In the east the Bulgarians push the Turks back to their defensive lines at Catalca, only sixty miles from Istanbul. In the west the Greeks move into southern Albania and the Serbians reach the Adriatic, capturing the port of Durrës on November 28.

On the same day at Vlorë, another port fifty miles to the south, the Albanians declare their independence and set up their first national government. But the issue is now taken into international hands.

Austria-Hungary, in particular, is determined not to have a strengthened Serbia on her southern border. A conference of ambassadors of the relevant powers (Italy, Austria-Hungary, Russia, the Ottoman empire) convenes in London in December to discuss the issue. It is agreed that the independence of Albania should be recognized, but there is much dispute as to the exact boundaries. Russian pressure on behalf of the Serbs results eventually in one glaring anomaly. The province of Kosovo, containing some 800,000 Albanian inhabitants, is severed from Albania and allotted to Serbia.

Ancient Illyrians

Library of Congress Article on the Ancient Illyrians

Mystery enshrouds the exact origins of today's Albanians. Most historians of the Balkans believe the Albanian people are in large part descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who, like other Balkan peoples, were subdivided into tribes and clans. The name Albania is derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Arber, or Arbereshë, and later Albanoi, that lived near Durrës. The Illyrians were Indo-European tribesmen who appeared in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula about 1000 B.C., a period coinciding with the end of the Bronze Age and beginning of the Iron Age. They inhabited much of the area for at least the next millennium. Archaeologists associate the Illyrians with the Hallstatt culture, an Iron Age people noted for production of iron and bronze swords with winged-shaped handles and for domestication of horses. The Illyrians occupied lands extending from the Danube, Sava, and Morava rivers to the Adriatic Sea and the Sar Mountains. At various times, groups of Illyrians migrated over land and sea into Italy. 
The Illyrians carried on commerce and warfare with their neighbors. The ancient Macedonians probably had some Illyrian roots, but their ruling class adopted Greek cultural characteristics. The Illyrians also mingled with the Thracians, another ancient people with adjoining lands on the east. In the south and along the Adriatic Sea coast, the Illyrians were heavily influenced by the Greeks, who founded trading colonies there. The present-day city of Durrës evolved from a Greek colony known as Epidamnos, which was founded at the end of the seventh century B.C. Another famous Greek colony, Apollonia, arose between Durrës and the port city of Vlorë.
The Illyrians produced and traded cattle, horses, agricultural goods, and wares fashioned from locally mined copper and iron. Feuds and warfare were constant facts of life for the Illyrian tribes, and Illyrian pirates plagued shipping on the Adriatic Sea. Councils of elders chose the chieftains who headed each of the numerous Illyrian tribes. From time to time, local chieftains extended their rule over other tribes and formed short-lived kingdoms. During the fifth century B.C., a well-developed Illyrian population center existed as far north as the upper Sava River valley in what is now Slovenia. Illyrian friezes discovered near the present-day Slovenian city of Ljubljana depict ritual sacrifices, feasts, battles, sporting events, and other activities.
The Illyrian kingdom of Bardhyllus became a formidable local power in the fourth century B.C. In 358 B.C., however, Macedonia's Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, defeated the Illyrians and assumed control of their territory as far as Lake Ohrid (see fig. 5). Alexander himself routed the forces of the Illyrian chieftain Clitus in 335 B.C., and Illyrian tribal leaders and soldiers accompanied Alexander on his conquest of Persia. After Alexander's death in 323 B.C., independent Illyrian kingdoms again arose. In 312 B.C., King Glaucius expelled the Greeks from Durrës. By the end of the third century, an Illyrian kingdom based near what is now the Albanian city of Shkodër controlled parts of northern Albania, Montenegro, and Hercegovina. Under Queen Teuta, Illyrians attacked Roman merchant vessels plying the Adriatic Sea and gave Rome an excuse to invade the Balkans.
In the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 B.C., Rome overran the Illyrian settlements in the Neretva River valley. The Romans made new gains in 168 B.C., and Roman forces captured Illyria's King Gentius at Shkodër, which they called Scodra, and brought him to Rome in 165 B.C. A century later, Julius Caesar and his rival Pompey fought their decisive battle near Durrës (Dyrrachium). Rome finally subjugated recalcitrant Illyrian tribes in the western Balkans dwing the region of Emperor Tiberius in A.D. 9. The Romans divided the lands that make up present-day Albania among the provinces of Macedonia, Dalmatia, and Epirus.
For about four centuries, Roman rule brought the Illyrian-populated lands economic and cultural advancement and ended most of the enervating clashes among local tribes. The Illyrian mountain clansmen retained local authority but pledged allegiance to the emperor and acknowledged the authority of his envoys. During a yearly holiday honoring the Caesars, the Illyrian mountaineers swore loyalty to the emperor and reaffirmed their political rights. A form of this tradition, known as the kuvend, has survived to the present day in northern Albania.
The Romans established numerous military camps and colonies and completely latinized the coastal cities. They also oversaw the construction of aqueducts and roads, including the Via Egnatia, a famous military highway and trade route that led from Durrës through the Shkumbin River valley to Macedonia and Byzantium (later Constantinople)

Copper, asphalt, and silver were extracted from the mountains. The main exports were wine, cheese, oil, and fish from Lake Scutari and Lake Ohrid. Imports included tools, metalware, luxury goods, and other manufactured articles. Apollonia became a cultural center, and Julius Caesar himself sent his nephew, later the Emperor Augustus, to study there.
Illyrians distinguished themselves as warriors in the Roman legions and made up a significant portion of the Praetorian Guard. Several of the Roman emperors were of Illyrian origin, including Diocletian (284-305), who saved the empire from disintegration by introducing institutional reforms, and Constantine the Great (324-37)--who accepted Christianity and transferred the empire's capital from Rome to Byzantium, which he called Constantinople. Emperor Justinian (527-65)--who codified Roman law, built the most famous Byzantine church, the Hagia Sofia, and reextended the empire's control over lost territories- -was probably also an Illyrian.
Christianity came to the Illyrian-populated lands in the first century A.D. Saint Paul wrote that he preached in the Roman province of Illyricum, and legend holds that he visited Durrës. When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in A.D. 395, the lands that now make up Albania were administered by the Eastern Empire but were ecclesiastically dependent on Rome. In A.D. 732, however, a Byzantine emperor, Leo the Isaurian, subordinated the area to the patriarchate of Constantinople. For centuries thereafter, the Albanian lands became an arena for the ecclesiastical struggle between Rome and Constantinople. Most Albanians living in the mountainous north became Roman Catholic, while in the southern and central regions, the majority became Orthodox.
Source [for the Library of Congress]: Based on information from R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Encyclopedia of Military History, New York, 1970, 95; Herman Kinder and Werner Hilgemann, The Anchor Atlas of World History, 1, New York, 1974, 90, 94; and Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15, New York, 1975, 1092.
Data as of April 1992
SOURCE: The Library of Congress - ALBANIA - A Country Study 

Originally a Greek city, Byzantium, it was made the capital of the Byzantine Empire by Constantine the Great and was soon renamed Constantinople in his honor. The city was captured by the Turks in 1453 and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks called the city Istanbul, but most of the non-Muslim world knew it as Constantinople until about 1930.

The Land & The People

Albania has a reputation as a land of great natural beauty and romantic remoteness. These two characteristics have made it all the more attractive, mysterious, forbidding, challenging, or exasperating to outsiders, be they travelers, scholars, diplomats, or merchants. For example, in a work he published in 1913, the Croatian scholar Milan von Sufflay called Albania regio mirabilissima, "a most singular country" or "a most marvelous country" (1). Others have referred to it as the "Switzerland of the Balkans" or as the "rock garden of southeastern Europe." On the other hand, the country's uncommon isolation from the world, arising generally from its rugged, mountainous terrain, has led foreigners to speak of it as "the Tibet of Europe" or as a country more mysterious than central Africa. It is an attitude that has had currency for centuries. We find it, for instance, in the writings of Edward Gibbon, the great eighteenth-century British historian. Speaking of Albania, Gibbon said that it is "a country within sight of Italy, which is less known than the interior of America." (2)

The remoteness and isolation of the country became practically legendary and all too frequently gave rise to reports and descriptions of the land and of the people - even in books and encyclopedias - that were closer to legends than to reality. Perhaps because of its romantic remoteness and other reasons, Albania has exerted a continuous fascination on artists, including poets, playwrights, composers, and more recently film makers and producers of television programs. Shakespeare set his comedy Twelfth Night in Illyria - the name by which Albania was known in former times. Lord Byron, who visited southern Albania in 1810, wrote some stirring lines about her landscape in his poem Childe Harold.

Morn dawns: and with it stern Albania's hills...
Robed half in mist, bedewed with snowy rills.

In Mozart's comic opera Cosi fan tutte the principal male characters, Ferrando and Guglielmo, appear for the most part as two "Albanian noblemen" in clever scheme to test the love of their fiances. [The women fail the test when they succumb the charms of the Albanians but succeed nevertheless in winning back the love of their men.]

From: Prifti, Peter R. Socialist Albania since 1944 - Domestic and Foreign Developments. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1978.


After Hoxha's death in 1985, his handpicked successor, Ramiz Alia, sought to preserve the communist system while introducing gradual reforms in order to revive the economy, which had been declining steadily since the cessation of aid from former communist allies. To this end he legalized some investment in Albania by foreign firms and expanded diplomatic relations with the West. But, with the fall of communism in eastern Europe in 1989, various segments of Albanian society became politically active and began to agitate against the government. The most alienated groups were the intellectuals and the working class--traditionally the vanguards of a communist movement or organization--as well as Albania's youth, which had been frustrated by years of confinement and restrictions. In response to these pressures, Alia granted Albanian citizens the right to travel abroad, curtailed the powers of the Sigurimi, restored religious freedom, and adopted some free-market measures for the economy. In December 1990 Alia endorsed the creation of independent political parties, thus signaling an end to the communists' official monopoly of power. With each concession to the opposition, the state's absolute control over Albanian society weakened. Continuing economic, social, and political instability led to the fall of several governments, and in March 1992 a decisive electoral victory was won by the anticommunist opposition led by the Democratic Party. Alia resigned as president and was succeeded by Sali Berisha, the first democratic leader of Albania since Bishop Noli. Albania's progress toward democratic reform enabled it to gain membership in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, formally bringing to an end its notorious isolation. Efforts to establish a free-market economy caused severe dislocations, but they also opened the road for Albania to obtain vast amounts of aid from developed countries. Albania was thus well on its way toward integrating its politics and institutions with the West, which Albanians have historically viewed as their cultural and geographic home.


Durrës is the second largest city of Albania. It is the most ancient and one of the most economically important cities of Albania. It is located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km (21 mi) west of the capital Tirana. It is situated at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari (300 km/186 mi away) and Brindisi (200 km/124 mi away). It has a population of around 202,000 (as of 2009[update] estimate). The city of Durrës is home to Albania's newest public university, the Aleksander Moisiu University. In addition, it is the meeting point of national roads SH2 and SH4.

Middle Ages

The First Bulgarian Empire under Simeon the Great captured the city, together with most of what is today Albania, in the early 10th century, but the Byzantines reconquered it around the middle of the century, when Bulgaria was under Peter I. The very end of the century saw another period of Bulgarian control, when under Samuel the empire conquered the city and held it until 1018. Dyrrachium (then known as Драч, Drach in Bulgarian) remained as one of the last Bulgarian fortresses as the Byzantine Empire subjugated Bulgaria.

Dyrrachium was lost in February 1082 by the emperor Alexios I Komnenos, who was defeated at the hands of the Normans (Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemund (see Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081)). Byzantine control was restored the following century following the defeat of Bohemund in 1107 but the city was lost again in 1185, this time to the Norman King William II of Sicily. In 1202, during the Fourth Crusade, the city was transferred to the rule of the Republic of Venice. It passed into the hands of Manfred of Sicily and then Charles I of Sicily (Charles of Anjou) in 1268.

Five years later, in ca. 1273, it was wrecked by a devastating earthquake (according to George Pachymeres; R. Elsie, Early Albania (2003), p. 12), but soon recovered and became an independent duchy under the rule of Charles' grandson John of Anjou. It later came under the rule of Philip I of Taranto. In 1333 it was annexed to the Frankish Principality of Achaea before falling to the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dušan in 1336. When Dušan died in 1355, the city passed into the hands of the Albanian family of Thopias.

The Republic of Venice regained control in 1392 and retained the city, known as Durazzo in those years, as part of the Albania Veneta. It fended off a siege by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1466 but fell to Ottoman forces in 1501.

Durrës became a Christian city quite early on; its bishopric was created around AD 58 and was raised to the status of an archbishopric in 449. It is also the seat of a Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop. Under Turkish rule, many of its inhabitants converted to Islam and many mosques were erected. This city was renamed as Dıraç, the city did not prosper under the Ottomans and its importance declined greatly. By the mid-19th century, its population was said to have been only about 1,000 people living in some 200 households. Its decrepitude was noted by foreign observers in the early 20th century: "The walls are dilapidated; plane-trees grow on the gigantic ruins of its old Byzantine citadel; and its harbour, once equally commodious and safe, is gradually becoming silted up." It was a sanjak centre in İşkodra Vilayet before 1912.

20th century

Durrës was an active city in the Albanian national liberation movement in the periods 1878-1881 and 1910-1912. Ismail Qemali raised the Albanian flag on November 26, 1912 but the city was captured by the Serbs three days later during the First Balkan War. The city became Albania's first national capital on March 7, 1913 under the brief rule of Prince William of Wied.

During the First World War, the city was occupied by Italy in 1915 and by Austria-Hungary in 1916-1918. It was captured by the Allies in October 1918. Restored to Albanian sovereignty, Durrës became the country's temporary capital between 1918 and March 1920. It experienced an economic boom due to Italian investments and developed into a major seaport under the rule of King Zog, with a modern harbour being constructed in 1927.

An earthquake in 1926 damaged some of the city and the rebuilding that followed gave the city its more modern appearance. During the 1930s, the Bank of Athens had a branch in the city.

The Second World War saw Durrës (called Durazzo again in Italian) and the rest of Albania being annexed to the Kingdom of Italy between 1939–1943, then occupied by Nazi Germany until 1944. Durrës's strategic value as a seaport made it a high-profile military target for both sides. It was the site of the initial Italian landings on 7 April 1939 as well as the launch point for the ill-fated Italian invasion of Greece. The city was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during the war and the port installations were blown up by the retreating Germans in 1944.

The Communist regime of Enver Hoxha rapidly rebuilt the city following the war, establishing a variety of heavy industries in the area and expanding the port. It became the terminus of Albania's first railway, begun in 1947. In the late 1980s the city was briefly renamed Durrës-Enver Hoxha.

Following the collapse of communist rule in 1990, Durrës became the focus of mass emigrations from Albania with ships being hijacked in the harbour and sailed at gunpoint to Italy. In one month alone, August 1991, over 20,000 people migrated to Italy in this fashion. Italy intervened militarily, putting the port area under its control, and the city became the centre of the European Community's "Operation Pelican", a food-aid programme.

In 1997, Albania slid into anarchy following the collapse of a massive pyramid scheme which devastated the national economy. An Italian-led peacekeeping force was controversially deployed to Durrës and other Albanian cities to restore order, although there were widespread suggestions that the real purpose of "Operation Alba" was to prevent economic refugees continuing to use Albania's ports as a route to migrate to Italy.

During the 1999 Kosovo War the city hosted some 110,000 Deportees from Kosovo and became a base of operations for much of the refugee response by aid agencies in Albania.


Durrës is still an important link to Western Europe due to its port and its proximity to the Italian port cities, notably Bari, to which daily ferries run. As well as the dockyard, it also possess an important shipyard and manufacturing industries, notably producing leather, plastic and tobacco products. The neighbouring district also produces wine and a variety of foodstuffs.

Some important buildings in Durrës include the main library, the cultural center with the Aleksander Moisiu theater, the Estrada Theater, the puppet theater, and the philharmonic orchestra. There are also several museums such as the Archaeological Museum, Ahmet Zogu's Villa of Durrës and the Museum of History.


The city's beaches are also a popular destination for many foreign and local tourists, with an estimated 600,000 tourists visiting annually. Many Albanians from Tirana and elsewhere spend their summer vacations on the beaches of Durrës.
The largest amphitheatre in the Balkans is located in the city close to the harbour. This first-century construction is currently under consideration for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The largest cities in Albania, ranked by population

The largest cities in Albania, ranked by population
The table below includes cities (and in some cases urban areas and municipalities) in Albania with populations exceeding 10 000 people.

Tirana 374801
Durrës 122034
Elbasan 100903
Vlorë 89546
Shkodër 88245
Fier-Çifçi 60995
Korçë 58259
Berat 46866
Lushnjë 41469
Kavajë 29354
Laç 24825
Gjirokastër 23437
Patos Fshat 22679
Krujë 21286
Lezhë 18695
Kuçovë 18166
Kukës 17832
Burrel 15405
Sarandë 15147
Peshkopi 14848
Cërrik 14269
Shijak 14138
Çorovodë 14046
Librazhd-Qendër 12691
Tepelenë 11955
Gramsh 11556
Bulqizë 11212
Kamëz 11026
Përmet 10686
Poliçan 10663
Fushë-Krujë 10458
Ballsh 10361
Rrëshen 10064
Mamurras 8282
Bajram Curri 7967
Ersekë 7890
Peqin 7513
Bilisht 7114
Selenicë 6912
Roskovec 6657
Pukë 6495
Rrogozhinë 5620
Vorë 4973
Memaliaj 4951
Ura Vajgurore 4893
Himarë 4596
Koplik 4078
Përrenjas-Fshat 4015
Delvinë 3916
Maliq 3735
Libohovë 3651
Shëngjin 2698
Leskovik 2655
Orikum 2604
Këlcyrë 2486
Fushë-Arrëz 2438
Rubik 2332
Milot 2157
Kurbnesh 1429
Konispol 1349
Krrabë 1177
Fierzë 742
Klos 683
Kurte 5
Kutreq 5
Marice 5
Kamerë 5
Mal Pjeç 5
Kokli 5
Shugyrk 5
Metaj 5
Livadhet 5
Shejleret 5
Dallashi 5
Gurra e Vogël 5
Çeliku 5
Çollak 5
Ballaj 5
Kubës 5
Melçizë 5
Kurtaj 5
Stojka 5
Ballaj 5
Okshtuni i Vogël 5
Lagjja e Tërmetit 5
Llangë 5
Funar 5
Vërri 5
Dranovicë 5
Mëxixë 5
Duricaj 5
Koxheraj 5
Lenë 5
Lenë 5
Budanë 5
Vërri 5
Cenë 5
Ballgjin 5
Berberaj 5
Bizë 5
Bricaj 5
Peshk 5
Kotaj 5
Ruçaj 5
Shëngjun 5
Blishtë 5
Balajt e Poshtëm 5
Panjet 5
Ruç 5
Rinas 5
Gjorkaj 5
Biç 5
Tejlumaj 5
Varros 5
Vakumona i Sipërme 5
Xhyrë 5
Marice 5
Panec 5
Selita e Vogël 4
Babru 4
Shkozë 4
Ulëz 4
Kryezi 4
Novoselë 4

First steps of Democratic Society in Albania

First steps of Democratic Society in Albania

1990 May, Visit to Albania by the former United Nations Secretary General, Perez de Cueller.American Congressman, Tom Lantosh arrives in Albania for a three days visit. Meeting with Ramiz Alia.

July, Demonstrations in Tirana culminates in a number of people rushing into various foreign embassies and requesting asylum. Ferries carrying Albanian emigrants, who arrive at Brindisi, Italy.

The restoration of diplomatic links with the former Soviet Union is announced.

December, Mother Teresa pays her second visit to Albania.

Disturbances at the University Campus in Tirana over living conditions, later on the students asked for political changes. The police intervene to disperse demonstrators.

The formation of Democratic Party legalized on December 18th. The multi party system is officially allowed and leads to the formation of twelve parties.

1991 February 20th, Thousands of demonstrators protesting in the capital, Tirana. They topple down the statue of Enver Hoxha.

Religion is legalized, the religion institutions are opened and the ex-persecuted priests and Moslem clergymen are allowed to exercise their profession freely.

March, Some 20.000 Albanian grabbed ships in the country’s ports and left for Italian shores.

The biblical exodus entered the history of the people, which had never proved it since the 15th century. Albanian Government declares ports of special importance and guards them with army troops.

March 31st, Elections are organized all over Albania. The Party of Labor (reformed as Socialist Party) wins the elections. Ramiz Alia is sworn in as the President of Albania.

June, The formation of coalition Government.

December, collapse of coalition Government forced by the Democratic Party, because the Socialists are seen to be stalling on the reform program.

1992 March, The Democratic Party wins a landslide victory in the general election with over 65% of the popular vote.

April, The resignation of Ramiz Alia (President of Albania).Dr. Sali Berisha is sworn in as the new President. The new Government vows to implement a wide-ranging reform program.

1993 April, Papa Gjon Pali and Mother Tereza visit Albania.

1993 Albania’s openness, its full guarantees and legislation have facilitated the activities of foreign investors already present in Albania, most of them from Italy (53%) and Greece (20%), but also from Germany, the U.S., U.K., Austria, France, Kuwait, and so on. Well companies such as Hamilton, OXY, Agip, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Rogner, OMV, are operating in Albania.

1994 April-August, Relations between Albania and Greece are very much severed, both countries retreated some diplomats and thousands of Albanian emigrants were deported from Greek police and army. A group of attackers from Greece entered the Albanian territory and killed a soldier and injured some others in a military unit near the border crossing point of Kakavia (Albania). Meanwhile 5 Albanian citizens of Greek origin were charged with spying and sentenced by a court in Tirana.

November, The Constitution failed to be approved by the Referendum


July 13th, The ceremony of the membership of Albania in the Council of Europe is organized in Strasbourg and the Albanian flag is raised.

1995 September 11th, President of Albania, Mr.Sali Berisha visits U.S.A. He meets the President of U.S.A., Mr. Bill Clinton.

1996 May 26th, General Parliamentary Elections. Opposition parties (Socialist Party, Social Democrat Party, and Alliance Party) withdraw from the elections five o’clock p.m., pretending for irregularities.

Democratic Party claimed a landslide victory.

May 26th, Socialists asked for completely fresh election. While the President Berisha decreed a partial rerun in 17 constituencies for June 16. The DP candidates won in 17 constituencies.

1996 September, “Miss Europe” is organized in Albania for the first time in the Albanian history. The most beautiful girls from 37 countries of Europe took part in this competition.

Miss England is warded with the first prize, becoming the winner of the first prize of Miss Europe for 1996. January, Mass protests by people who had lost their life savings in failed pyramid investment schemes.

January 30th, Ten opposition parties from across the political spectrum form the Forum for Democracy, vowing to hold protests across the country. They ask Berisha (President of Albania) to dismiss his government and set up a technocrat government to resolve the crisis.

March 9th, Berisha signs agreement with leaders of all political parties calling for a broad-based coalition government (National Reconciliation Government) and elections by June.

March 11th, President of the Republic Sali Berisha decreed the appointment of the Prime Minister.

Mr. Bashkim Fino is the Prime Minister of the broad-based coalition government. Mr. Fino was proposed by the Socialist Party, with the consensus of all other parties in the round table.

March 12th – 14th, Tirana is swept by insecurity. The President of the Republic and Prime Minister asked for multi-national military forces to be present in Albania.Minister of Defense, Mr. Safet Zhulali escapes to Italy

March 13th, All the prisoners (1209) escaped, helped by armed persons. Albania is the only country in the world without prisoners at this moment. (Among those prisoners are 23 persons who are punished with life-sentenced for hard crimes).

Berisha acquits Fatos Nano of the prison as well as 50 other prisoners. (Those 50 were convicted with one to two years in prison).

Albania’s jailed opposition Socialist leader, Fatos Nano, who served a short term as Prime Minister in 1991, was arrested in 1993 and jailed a year later on charges of corruption relating to an Italian aid scandal. International Human Rights Groups have called on the Albanian government to free Nano, who they said was wrongly convicted.

March 14th, American Embassy and other Western Embassies evacuate their citizens from Albania to their countries.

March 20th, The situation is a bit better. The situation of state institutions in Tirana is under control of the broad-based coalition government.

April 14th, Multinational Military Forces arrive in Albania, to start the “Alba” operation. France, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Romania, Denmark and Austria. will take part in this mission.

One of the representatives of this mission said: “Their mission in Albania is to secure distribution of aid correctly, in the context of the “Alba” operation, and that they have not any military mission”.

June 29th, Parliamentary elections as well as the Referendum for the Republic or Monarchy.

July, Election Commission proclaims the final polls results. The Central Election Committee (CEC) after a three-day stand off managed to announce the final results of the parliamentary elections of June 29.

The Socialists won 100 seats in the 155-seat assembly and the Democratic Party 27 seats. Six other parties will take in some other seats at the Parliament. The Royal Party, which lost the referendum, will have two seats.

July 24th, The Albanian Parliament elected the new President of Albania, after the irrevocable resignation of Berisha. The new President will be Rexhep Meidani, 52 of age, so far Secretary General of the Socialist Party. He won by 110 votes for, three against, two abstentions and seven ballot-papers were found invalid. The deputies of the biggest opposition party, the Democratic Party, did not participate in this session.

July 25th, The Albanian President, Mr. Meidani decreed the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Mr. Fatos Nano.

Sept.6th, The Albanian Noble woman, Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhi known as “Mother Tereza” died. In 50 years of dictatorship, she was not given the possibility to set foot in Albania. After 1990, she visited Albania twice.

The Albanian Government decided:

- To declare the dates 11, 12, 13 September 1997 as days of state mourning.

- Albanian half banner is to be hoisted in all the institutions from 6 to 13 Sept.

The President of Albania, Mr. Meidani said: “Mother Tereza was a great citizen of the world. Her loss will afflict all the Albanians. Mother Teresa’s name and deed were a symbol of the Albanian people, where the high values of tolerance, human solidarity found shelter. These values will serve as reference to us”.

The President of U.S.A., Mr. Clinton said: “The house that she opened in Calcutta about the people that are dying for almost a century is called Nirmal Hriday that means “pure heart” ad if once had existed a pure heart, that’s Mother Teresa’s”.

Sept. 10th, Prime minister, Mr. Nano takes part in an important mission to West of Europe, Hong-Kong, Washington, before the Donor’s Conference for Albania in Rome and Brussels.

EU and IMF Interior Councils of Ministers guarantee the recovery of Albania.

Nov.5th, Crete: The Balkan leaders, discussed about the problems on the security in the Balkan and other aspects, related to it.

Nano – Milosevic meeting has attracted the attention as the first high-level one after 50 years.

1998 Jan. 23rd, Council of Europe delegation called all Albanian political parties for preparing the Albanian Constitution as soon as possible.

March 6th, Kosova issue unites all Albanian political parties.

Sixty thousand (60.000) Tirana citizens protest for Kosova in the Scanderbeg square, under the slogan “One nation- one stand”.

July 1st, The General Secretary of NATO Havier Solana arrived for a two-day official visit in Albania. During his visit he met the highest Albania authorities, the President, Premier, Defense Minister etc., discussing with them about the present situation in Albania and Kosova and the influx of the Albanians of Kosova towards Albania.

Sept.12th, Azem Hajdari, the leader of the Democratic Party of Albania, the leader of democratic students’ movement of 1990, is shot dead at 21:10 (p.m.) in front of DP headquarters. One of Hajdari’s two bodyguards was also killed.

Azem Hajdari suffered four murder attempts within a year, including a five bullets murder attempt by a socialist MP in the Parliament hall on Sept.18, 1998.

Sept.14th, Thousands of people of Tirana buried one of the main leaders of DP and Albanian opposition leader Azem Hajdari. After the ceremony, the crowd carried the bodies of Mr.Azem Hajdari and his bodyguard- each in wooden coffin- down the city’s main street and to the Prime minister’s building. As mourners placed the coffins at the entrance, gunfire erupted, apparently from guards inside the building. The funeral turned violent with crowds seizing the Prime minister’s building and state television. About fifty people were wounded and some offices were looted.

Sept.19th, A European delegation arrived in Tirana to seek ways to end the violence in Albania.

OSBE declared: “The purpose of the visit is to deliver a message to the government and the opposition with a view to restoring stability, political cooperation and good governance. It is also imperative to bring to justice those guilty of the murder of Mr.Hajdari and his bodyguard”.
Sept.28th, Prime minister Fatos Nano presented in the evening to the President of Albania, Mr.Meidani, and his resignation from the post of the Premier.

Sept.29th Mr.Pandeli Majko, former Secretary-General of SP is appointed Prime Minister of Albania.

Oct. 3rd, Serbs open fire towards Albanian border station in Pogaj of Has district. The fire damaged slightly some homes of the village and livestock. During May-September 1998, forty-one incidents by the Serb military forces have been registered. During the same period 10 Albanian citizens have been killed, 3 wounded and the Albanian space had been violated 8 times.

1999 Feb.27th, Serb troops deploy in force throughout Kosova: sporadic fighting is reported in the north. Serb troops bombard the northern frontiers (Tropoja district) of Albania. Some Serb units enter in Albanian territory and open fire towards Albanian military forces. Albanian government takes measures to protect its territory.

March 26th, Ethnic Albanians fleeing or expelled from Kosova begin to pour into Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Albanian government takes measures for the accommodation of Albanians coming from Kosova.

April, About 600 000 of ethnic Albanians coming from Kosova are living in the refugee camps and Albanian families. All over Albania, families are taking in Kosovars, sharing what little they have. Kosovars tell sad stories of terrible massacres in Kosova by the Serbs.

June 10th, Serb forces start withdrawal from Kosova. NATO halts war. U.N. Security Council endorses peace terms.

June 14th, Thousands ethnic Albanians from Kosova begin to stream home to Kosova despite a warning by NATO troops that the return should start on July 10.

The Brussels (European Commission) study makes a complete autopsy of the societies of the five countries of Southeast Europe: Albania, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia, and Yugoslavia. Brussels has projected a new mode of integration for this region into Europe, proclaiming the “system for post war Southeast Europe”, by stating that Brussels will spend 5 billion euro annually for 10 years to achieve the integration of the five countries into the European Union.

States at times dictatorial, at times anarchical, with fragile societies and economies will have the support of European Union to order and security.

“Illegal activities generate the most money”. “Corruption, drug and clandestine traffics are the biggest economic activities”. The objectives of European Union aim at turning the region into attractive zone for foreign capital. A free zone, with no custom duties to be paid, and above all, under the European Union control, would attract many businesses to invest, to avoid the temptation of corruption which could spread to other agencies as well.

Oct.26th, Albanian President Rexhep Meidani accepted Prime Minister Pandeli Majko's resignation. Majko became Europe’s youngest Premier when he took office on Oct.2, 1988, at the age 30.

Oct.28th, President Meidani decreed the new Prime Minister Ilir Meta.

Dec.11th, Death penalty is abolished in Albania.

The Constitutional Court decided to abolish the death penalty in Albania. The decision was taken based on the principles presented by the Council of Europe, as well as based in the Albanian constitution, which sanctions the capital punishment which previously existed in constitutional courts. The capital punishment could be carried out only for crimes committed when the country is in a state of war, or its very close to war. The capital punishment will be 25 years of imprisonment or the sentence for life. Republican Party opposes death penalty.

2000 March 24th, Albanian Parliament adopts draft resolution on Stability Pact.

April 1st, Donors Conference opens in Brussels. Albania benefits for the first phase some 112 million Euro for 7 projects mainly in construction of road infrastructure.

August 1st, Albanian President Rexhep Meidani called on neighbor Greece to scrap a law dating back to World War Two, which declares a state of War between the two countries. The law, passed in 1940 when Greece was invaded by Italian troops through Albania, was repealed by the Greek government in 1987 but has never been nullified by Greece’s parliament.Albanian officials say the law prevents Albanian from claiming property they owned in Greece prior to World War Two. Some 400.000 Albanians work in Greece as immigrants.

Sept.11th, Albania becomes member of World Trade Organization (WTO). Oct.1st, Local government elections are held in Albania.

2001 June 24t, Parliamentary elections. According to the law, it includes 100 deputies (MP) elected on the basis of the majority system and 40 deputies (MP) on the proportional system.

August 21st The Central Election Commission announces the final results of the Parliamentary elections of June 24th.

The Socialist won 73 MP; the opposition which includes “Democratic Party + Union for the victory” won 25 MP. On the other side, the opposition coalition profits by the proportional system 21 MP, Democrat Party (Partia Demokrate) 6MP, SDP (Social Democratic Party) 4MP, ADP (Alliance Democratic Party) 3 MP, AP (Agrarian Party) 3 MP, and Alliance of Human Rights Party 3 MP, as well as 2 Independent MP. “Democratic Party + Union for the victory” (46 MP) said that they will boycott the Parliament because of the manipulations of the results.

September 12th Ilir Meta is re-elected Prime Minister of Albania.

2002 January 29th Prime Minister Ilir Meta resigns.

February 7th President of Republic decreed the new Prime Minister Pandeli Majko.

February 22nd The Albanian Parliament gives the vote of confidence to new Government headed by Pandeli Majko.

Albanian Anthem

Albanian Anthem
United all around the flag,
with one wish and a sole cause,
to It we pledge our allegiance
and give our word of honor for salvation.

Only he who is a born traitor
deserts from the fight.
Whoever is a true man doesn’t back down,
but falls, but falls and becomes a martyr to the cause.

We will hold the arms in our hands
to guard the Fatherland everywhere.
We won’t give up our rights,
’cause the enemies here have no place.

For God himself has spoken,
from the earth nations keep on vanishing,
but Albania will live on,
’cause for It, for It we keep on fighting.


Albania is unique in that it is the only European country occupied by the Nazis that ended World War II with a larger Jewish population than before the War. The Albanian response to the Holocaust is especially notable because it was Europe's only largely Muslim country. Even so only a Jewish family of six was deported and killed during the Nazi occupation of Albania.
Not only did the Albanians protect their own Jews, but they provided refuge for Jews from neighboring countries. The Albanians refused to comply and hand over lists of Jews. Instead they provided the Jewish families with forged documents and helped them disperse in the Albanian population.

In February 1944, when the Nazis descended upon the mountain hiding place, not a single Jew fell into their hands. During the Holocaust, Albania was the only country in Europe that protected and sheltered its entire Jewish population, both native and foreign.There was no history of ideological anti-Semitism in Albania so it was unique in this regard. The small number of Jews in Albania also played a key role in the possibility to protect them all. During the Italian occupation, they were able to disperse and blend in with the general population. However, the role of the Albanian population as a whole in saving Jews is undeniable.

Albanian Language

Albanian Language
Albanian (Shqip)

Albanian is an Indo-European language which forms its own branch in the Indo-European family and has no close relatives. There are two main dialects of Albanian: Tosk, which is spoken by about 3 million people in southern Albania, Turkey, Greece and Italy; and Gheg, which is spoken by about 2.8 million people in Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, northern Albania and Bulgaria. The dialects are more or less mutually intelligible and Tosk is the official language of Albania, and one of the official languages of Kosovo and Macedonia.

Albanian has been written with various alphabet since the 15th century. Originally the Tosk dialect was written with the Greek alphabet, while the Gheg dialect was written with the Latin alphabet. They have both also been written with the Turkish version of the Arabic alphabet. The Latin alphabet for Albanian was standardised in 1909, and a unified literary version of Albanian, based on the Tosk dialect, was established in 1972.

Albanian is a descendent language of the Illyrian Language.

Albanian (gjuha shqipe IPA /ˈɟuˌha ˈʃciˌpɛ/) is a language spoken by nearly 6 million people, primarily in Albania and Kosova, but also in other parts of the Balkans with an Albanian population (parts of the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), along the eastern coast of Italy and in Sicily, as well as by a significant diaspora in Greece, Scandinavia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Australia, Turkey, and the United States.

Lekë Dukagjini

Lekë Dukagjini
Lekë Dukagjini (1410-1481) was an Albanian prince who fought against the Ottoman Empire. A contemporary of Skanderbeg, Dukagjini is known for a code of law instituted in northern Albania.

Dukagjini is thought to have been born in Lipljan in Kosovo in 1410. The County of Dukagjini had its center in Lezhë, and included Zadrima, the areas north and northeast of Shkodër, and expanded far north up to the territories of what today constitutes Kosovo, having as a second center the town of Lipljan.

By the time he took over the ruling of the county from his father Prince Pal Dukagjini in 1446, Dukagjini had gained an overall knowledge, inspired by the European Renaissance humanism of towns such as Venice, Ragusa and Shkodër, and had studied in Prizren. He led the League of Lezhë in 1444.

Dukagjini fought under the command of Skanderbeg against the Ottomans. During times of peace they also fought against one another at times, as Albanian loyalties came and went during that period of their history. Dukagjini continued to fight against the Ottoman Empire, carrying on as the leader of the Albanian resistance after the death of Skanderbeg, until his own death in 1481. At times his forces united with the Venetians with the blessing of the papacy.


Overshadowed by the legend of Skanderbeg, Dukagjini is little-known, and is most well-known for the set of laws ruling the highlands of northern Albania, known as the Kanuni. While identifying Skanderbeg as the dragon prince who dared to fight against any foe; chronicles portrayed Dukagjini as the angel prince who, with dignity and wisdom, ensured the continuity of the Albanian identity.

The set of laws were active in practice for a long time, but it was not gathered and codified until the late 19th century by Shtjefën Gjeçov. The most infamous laws of Kanuni are those regulating blood feuds. Blood feuds have started once again in northern Albania (but have since spread to other parts of Albania, and even to expatriates abroad) after the fall of communism in the early 1990s, having been outlawed for many years during the regime of Enver Hoxha.

His military success against the Ottomans was never extremely successful, as his military abilities fell short of those of Skanderbeg. He also lacked the ability to unite the country and the Albanian people in the way that Skanderbeg had. Loyalties wavered, and splintered, betrayals were common, and Albania fell into complete submission to the Ottomans by the end of the 15th century.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa (Albanian: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying in Kolkata (Calcutta), India.
As the Missionaries of Charity grew under Mother Teresa's leadership, they expanded their ministry to other countries. By the 1970s she had become internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. Following her death she was beatified by Pope John Paul II and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
Early life
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born on 26 August 1910, in Skopje, which is now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. She was the youngest of the children of a family from Shkodër, Albania, born to Nikola and Drane Bojaxhiu. Nikola was involved in politics and devoted to the Albanian Cause. After a political meeting he fell ill and died when Agnes was about eight years old. After her father's death, her mother raised her as a Roman Catholic. According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, in her early years Agnes was fascinated by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service, and by age 12 was convinced that she should commit herself to a religious life. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of Loreto as a missionary. She never again saw her mother or sister.
Agnes initially went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland to learn English, the language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school children in India. She arrived in India in 1929, and began her novitiate in Darjeeling, near the Himalayan mountains. She took her first religious vows as a nun on 24 May 1931. At that time she chose the name Teresa after Thérèse de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. She took her solemn vows on 14 May 1937, while serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta.
Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her in Calcutta. A famine in 1943 brought misery and death to the city; and the outbreak of Hindu/Muslim violence in August 1946 plunged the city into despair and horror.