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Travel and tourist information with links to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors to Albania.
Albania is known as Eagle's Country, Shqiperi in Albanian. Tirana is the capital, with Durres Albania's major port on the Adriatic Sea.
Located close to the town of Korca (South-east Albania), on the Korca-Kolonja national road, the Tumulus of Kamenica is one of the most representative monuments of the prehistory of Albania and of the wider region.
Rome conquered the Illyrian Kingdom in 168 BC, and went on to rule for more than five centuries. Some of the emperors were even of Illyrian descent, as the region became a major transit route through Byzantium.
As the Roman Empire declined, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, and Slavs all tried to fill the vacuum. Then came the Normans and the Serbs.
After the collapse of Stephan Dushan's Serbian Empire, and the death of Scanderbeg, the feudal lords were soon overrun by the Turks.
Albanian language and culture were suppressed for almost 400 years during Ottoman rule, although the Turks were never able to totally control the people.
Ismail Qemal led a series of revolts against Turkey, and on November 28, 1912, Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939 and occupied by Germany in 1943. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944.
Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy.
One of the smallest countries in Europe, Albania is also very mountainous and little known to outsiders.
Albania underwent a cultural revolution in the mid-1960s, when Western influences were scorned, Soviet and Chinese systems were followed, and hardly anyone could enter the country.
Predominately an Indo- European people, descendants of the ancient Illyrians, the Albanians are divided into two main groups: the Ghegs to the north of the Shkumbi River, and the Tosks to the south.
Map of Albania
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Map of Tirana
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Tirana Bank now has access to the Visa system. I withdrew some Lek from a Skodra branch of Tirana Bank with no problems. It was a little un-nerving to have a guard with a machine gun on duty 24 hours a day but much better than bringing in hard cash.
By Ian Lawrence.
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