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10 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Albania

Discover the untold side of Albania! Uncover intriguing facts, from its unique alphabet and ubiquitous bunkers to its ancient olive heritage and vibrant culture. Dive in now!

People often associate the image of Albania being a friendly place full of warm welcomes, and they’re right!

But guess what? There’s a bunch of other cool stuff about Albania that you probably didn’t know.

We’re here to spill the tea on some interesting facts you might not have heard before. Starting with…

1. Unique Alphabet – The Albanian Language

Albanian Alphabet

Albania has its own distinct alphabet, known as the Albanian alphabet, which is one of the only two surviving Indo-European alphabets with no counterpart in Latin or Greek. Created in the 19th century, it consists of 36 letters and is a point of pride for Albanians, representing the country’s linguistic and cultural independence.

And if you’re curious to know how the Albanian alphabet sounds, check out this video.

Source: LearnAlbanian101 on YouTube

2. Bunkers Are Everywhere

One of the most intriguing features of Albania is the presence of bunkers scattered throughout the country. Enver Hoxha, the former communist leader, ordered the construction of over 173,000 bunkers during his rule, aiming to protect the country from potential invaders. Today, these bunkers remain as quirky reminders of Albania’s unique history.

Bunker museum in Albania

Two of these bunkers have been transformed into museums, namely Bunk’Art 1 and Bunk’Art 2, inviting curious visitors to explore their historical significance and gain insights into Albania’s unique past. 

3. Albania is Called the Land of Eagles

Albanian flag

Known as “Land of the Eagles,” the country takes pride in its national symbol, the golden eagle. The eagle is not only featured on the national flag but also represents freedom and strength in Albanian folklore.

PS: Have you heard of the Golden Eagle drink? You can find it everywhere in Albanian supermarkets. It’s super popular!

4. Albania Is Celebrated for Its Religious Harmony

Albania is known for its religious tolerance, a unique trait in the region. The country has a long history of coexistence between different religious communities, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews. This religious harmony is enshrined in the constitution, making Albania a model of peaceful coexistence.

5. The Albanian Alps, or the Accursed Alps

Theth National Park, Albania

The Accursed Mountains, also known as the Albanian Alps, are a range of peaks that stretch across northern Albania. The name “Accursed” might sound a bit scary, but it’s actually a translation from the local name, “Bjeshkët e Nemuna”.

The mountains are “cursed” not because of any spooky legends (even though some people believe that), but because their rugged, difficult terrain can be a real challenge to cross. For centuries, these towering peaks and deep valleys have been both a natural fortress for local people and a hurdle for invaders.

So don’t worry, there’s no curse on these mountains. The real magic is in their wild, untouched beauty!

But in case you want to read the legends of the Accursed Mountains, check them out here.

6. Olive Oil Heritage With Over 2,000 Years Old Trees

Olive oil in Albania

Albania has a rich tradition of olive cultivation dating back thousands of years. The country’s olive oil is renowned for its quality and distinctive taste. In fact, Albania is home to some of the oldest olive trees in the world, with some being over 2,000 years old. These ancient olive groves not only contribute to Albania’s rich agricultural legacy but also serve as a connection between the people and the land.

7. Coffee Culture, an Experience of its Own

In Albania, coffee is more than a daily ritual; it’s an experience that encourages connection and conversation. Traditional Turkish-style coffee, prepared and served in small cups, is a known feature of Albanian houses, where people sometimes gather for socializing.

Turkish coffee

The coffee culture in this country symbolizes hospitality and friendship, often exchanged during family gatherings, celebrations, and business meetings. 

Also, another fun fact: Albania is one of the countries with the largest number of coffee shops; they’re literally everywhere!

8. From a City of Terror to a Colourful Metropolis

Aerial view of Tirana, the capital of Albania

Tirana, the capital city of Albania, has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. Once a drab and isolated city, Tirana is now a vibrant and colourful metropolis. The city’s mayor, an artist before entering politics, initiated a project to paint many buildings in bright and bold colours, giving Tirana a unique and lively atmosphere.

9. UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Albania

Did you know that Albania proudly holds six UNESCO World Heritage Sites? These distinguished designations span cultural, natural, and historical wonders, showcasing the country’s diverse and remarkable contributions to our shared global heritage.

Read more about Albania’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

10. Guests are Honoured and Treated with Respect

Albanians are renowned for their warm hospitality and friendliness. Guests are treated with great respect, and it is common for Albanians to go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome. The tradition of offering guests coffee or a meal is deeply ingrained in Albanian culture, reflecting the country’s reputation for hospitality.

Explore More About Albania

Albania is a country full of surprises and untold stories. It’s wonderful how there is always something new to learn about this beautiful Balkan nation. From its unique language to its rich history, stunning nature, and coffee culture, these 10 facts have hopefully given you a fresh perspective on Albania.

If you want to continue your journey of exploration and keep discovering the unexpected about Albania, feel free to join our Facebook page.

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