Albania

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Introduction - Albania:
CountryAlbania
BackgroundBetween 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997. In the 2005 general elections, the Democratic Party and its allies won a decisive victory on pledges of reducing crime and corruption, promoting economic growth, and decreasing the size of government. The election, and particularly the orderly transition of power, was considered an important step forward. Although Albanias economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania has played a largely helpful role in managing inter-ethnic tensions in southeastern Europe, and is continuing to work toward joining NATO and the EU. Albania, with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been a strong supporter of the global war on terrorism.
Location - Albania:
LocationSoutheastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Serbia to the north
Geographic coordinates41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Areatotal: 28,748 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
Area comparativeslightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundariestotal: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, Macedonia 151 km, Montenegro 172 km, Serbia 115 km
Coastline362 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatemild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrainmostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremeslowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,764 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land usearable land: 20.1%
permanent crops: 4.21%
other: 75.69% (2005)
Irrigated land3,530 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsdestructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment current issuesdeforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography notestrategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
People - Albania:
Population3,600,523 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 24.1% (male 454,622/female 413,698)
15-64 years: 66.6% (male 1,228,497/female 1,170,489)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 154,352/female 178,865) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 29.2 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 29.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate0.529% (2007 est.)
Birth rate15.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate5.33 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate-4.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.099 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.863 male(s)/female
total population: 1.042 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 20.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.46 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 77.6 years
male: 74.95 years
female: 80.53 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate2.03 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rateNA
Hiv aids people living with hiv aidsNA
Hiv aids deathsNA
Nationalitynoun: Albanian(s)
adjective: Albanian
Ethnic groupsAlbanian 95%, Greek 3%, other 2% (Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian) (1989 est.)
note: in 1989, other estimates of the Greek population ranged from 1% (official Albanian statistics) to 12% (from a Greek organization)
ReligionsMuslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 20%, Roman Catholic 10%
note: percentages are estimates; there are no available current statistics on religious affiliation; all mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice
LanguagesAlbanian (official - derived from Tosk dialect), Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects
Literacydefinition: age 9 and over can read and write
total population: 98.7%
male: 99.2%
female: 98.3% (2001 census)
Government - Albania:
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Albania
conventional short form: Albania
local long form: Republika e Shqiperise
local short form: Shqiperia
former: Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania
Government typeemerging democracy
Capitalname: Tirana (Tirane)
geographic coordinates: 41 19 N, 19 49 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions12 counties (qarqe, singular - qark); Berat, Diber, Durres, Elbasan, Fier, Gjirokaster, Korce, Kukes, Lezhe, Shkoder, Tirane, Vlore
Independence28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
National holidayIndependence Day, 28 November (1912)
Constitutionadopted by popular referendum on 22 November 1998; promulgated 28 November 1998
Legal systemhas a civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; has accepted jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for its citizens
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President of the Republic Bamir TOPI (since 24 July 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Sali BERISHA (since 10 September 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, nominated by the president, and approved by parliament
elections: president elected by the Peoples Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); four election rounds held between 8 and 20 July 2007 (next election to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Bamir TOPI elected president; Peoples Assembly vote, fourth round (three-fifths majority (84 votes) required): Bamir TOPI 85 votes, Neritan CEKA 5 votes
Legislative branchunicameral Assembly or Kuvendi (140 seats; 100 members are elected by direct popular vote and 40 by proportional vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 3 July 2005 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PD 56, PS 42, PR 11, PSD 7, LSI 5, other 19
Judicial branchConstitutional Court, Supreme Court (chairman is elected by the Peoples Assembly for a four-year term), and multiple appeals and district courts
Political parties and leadersAgrarian Environmentalist Party or PAA [Lufter XHUVELI]; Christian Democratic Party or PDK [Nard NDOKA]; Communist Party of Albania or PKSH [Hysni MILLOSHI]; Democratic Alliance Party or AD [Neritan CEKA]; Democratic Party or PD [Sali BERISHA]; Legality Movement Party or PLL [Ekrem SPAHIU]; Liberal Union Party or BLD [Arjan STAROVA]; National Front Party (Balli Kombetar) or PBK [Adriatik ALIMADHI]; New Democratic Party or PDR [Genc POLLO]; Party of National Unity or PUK [Idajet BEQIRI]; Renewed Democratic Party or PDRN [Dashamir SHEHI]; Republican Party or PR [Fatmir MEDIU]; Social Democracy Party of Albania or PDSSh [Paskal MILO]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Skender GJINUSHI]; Socialist Movement for Integration or LSI [Ilir META]; Socialist Party or PS [Edi RAMA]; Union for Human Rights Party or PBDNj [Vangjel DULE]
Political pressure groups and leadersCitizens Advocacy Office [Kreshnik SPAHIU]; Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania or KSSH [Kastriot MUCO]; Front for Albanian National Unification or FBKSH [Gafur ADILI]; Mjaft Movement [Erion VELIAJ]; Omonia [Jani JANI]; Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania or BSPSH [Gezim KALAJA]
International organization participationBSEC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SECI, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Aleksander SALLABANDA
chancery: 2100 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 223-4942
FAX: [1] (202) 628-7342
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Marcie B. RIES
embassy: Rruga e Elbasanit, Labinoti #103, Tirana
mailing address: US Department of State, 9510 Tirana Place, Dulles, VA 20189-9510
telephone: [355] (4) 247285
FAX: [355] (4) 232222
Flag descriptionred with a black two-headed eagle in the center
Economy - Albania:
Economy overviewLagging behind its Balkan neighbors, Albania is making the difficult transition to a more modern open-market economy. The government has taken measures to curb violent crime and reduce the large gray economy. The economy is bolstered by annual remittances from abroad of $600-$800 million, mostly from Albanians residing in Greece and Italy; this helps offset the towering trade deficit. Agriculture, which accounts for about one-quarter of GDP, is held back because of lack of modern equipment, unclear property rights, and the prevalence of small, inefficient plots of land. Energy shortages and antiquated and inadequate infrastructure contribute to Albanias poor business environment, which make it difficult to attract and sustain foreign investment. The planned construction of a new thermal power plant near Vlore and improved transmission and distribution facilities eventually will help relieve the energy shortages. Also, the government is moving slowly to improve the poor national road and rail network, a long-standing barrier to sustained economic growth. On the positive side, growth was strong in 2003-06 and inflation is low and stable.
Gdp purchasing power parity $20.46 billion
note: Albania has a large gray economy that may be as large as 50% of official GDP (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $9.306 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate5% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $5,700 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 23.3%
industry: 18.8%
services: 57.9% (2006 est.)
Labor force1.09 million (not including 352,000 emigrant workers) (September 2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 58%
industry: 15%
services: 27% (September 2006 est.)
Unemployment rate13.8% official rate, but may exceed 30% due to preponderance of near-subsistence farming (September 2006 est.)
Population below poverty line25% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income gini index26.7 (2005)
Inflation rate consumer prices 2.5% (2006)
Investment gross fixed 24.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.608 billion
expenditures: $3.1 billion; including capital expenditures of $710 million (2007 est.)
Agriculture productswheat, corn, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, sugar beets, grapes; meat, dairy products
Industriesfood processing, textiles and clothing; lumber, oil, cement, chemicals, mining, basic metals, hydropower
Industrial production growth rate3.4% (2005 est.)
Electricity production5.451 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity consumption3.53 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity exports729 million kWh (2005)
Electricity imports385 million kWh (2005)
Oil production3,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil consumption25,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil exports1,240 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil imports21,600 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil proved reserves165 million bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas production30 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption30 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance-$679.9 million (2006 est.)
Exports$763.2 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiestextiles and footwear; asphalt, metals and metallic ores, crude oil; vegetables, fruits, tobacco
Exports partnersItaly 67.8%, Serbia and Montenegro 5.8%, Greece 5.4% (2006)
Imports$2.901 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesmachinery and equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, chemicals
Imports partnersItaly 32%, Greece 17.7%, Turkey 8%, Germany 5.6% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.621 billion (2006 est.)
Debt external$1.55 billion (2004)
Economic aid recipientODA: $366 million
note: top donors were Italy, EU, Germany (2003 est.)
Currency code lek (ALL)
note: the plural of lek is leke
Exchange ratesleke per US dollar - 98.384 (2006), 102.649 (2005), 102.78 (2004), 121.863 (2003), 140.155 (2002)
Communications - Albania:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use353,600 (2005)
Telephones mobile cellular1.53 million (2005)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: despite new investment in fixed lines, the density of main lines remains the lowest in Europe with roughly 7 lines per 100 people; however, cellular telephone use is widespread and generally effective
domestic: offsetting the shortage of fixed line capacity, mobile phone service has been available since 1996; by 2003 two companies were providing mobile services at a greater density than some of Albanias Balkan neighbors
international: country code - 355; inadequate fixed main lines; adequate cellular connections; international traffic carried by fiber optic cable and, when necessary, by microwave radio relay from the Tirana exchange to Italy and Greece (2003)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 13, FM 46, shortwave 1 (2005)
Television broadcast stations65 (3 national, 62 local); 2 cable networks (2005)
Internet country code.al
Internet hosts430 (2006)
Internet users471,200 (2006)
Transportation - Albania:
Airports11 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2006)
Heliports1 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 339 km; oil 207 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 447 km
standard gauge: 447 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 18,000 km
paved: 7,020 km
unpaved: 10,980 km (2002)
Waterways43 km (2007)
Merchant marinetotal: 24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 52,987 GRT/79,863 DWT
by type: cargo 23, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (Georgia 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsDurres, Sarande, Shengjin, Vlore
Military - Albania:
Military branchesLand Forces Command (Army), Naval Forces Command, Air Defense Command, General Staff Headquarters (includes Logistics Command, Training and Doctrine Command) (2007)
Military service age and obligation19 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 19-49: 809,524
females age 19-49: 784,199 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 19-49: 668,526
females age 19-49: 648,334 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 37,407
females age 19-49: 34,587 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp1.49% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalthe Albanian Government calls for the protection of the rights of ethnic Albanians in neighboring countries, and the peaceful resolution of interethnic disputes; some ethnic Albanian groups in neighboring countries advocate for a greater Albania, but the idea has little appeal among Albanian nationals; the mass emigration of unemployed Albanians remains a problem for developed countries, chiefly Greece and Italy
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>


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