Albania has natural beauty in such abundance that you might wonder why it’s taken 20 years for the country to take off as a tourist destination since the end of a particularly brutal strain of communism in 1991. Besides its amazing landscapes, Albania is also well known for its brave people from Mother Teresa, Inva Mula to Lorik Cana, the Albanian culture is very rich and it will totally convince you to get to know their wonderful people, to remain in their country and learn their language.
Interesting Facts About Albania
Here are some things about its history and culture you need to know before visiting Albania.
1. Mother Teresa
Albania’s “hero” Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu or known better by her nom de guerre “Mother Teresa” is widely lauded internationally. The national airport of Albania is named after Mother Teresa. The full name of the airport is Tirana International Nene Tereza.
2. Origin of the name Albania
Officially the country’s name is “Republika e Shqiperise”, which means Republic of Albania. The country is situated in south-eastern Europe, a region also called the Balkan Peninsula. Perhaps surprisingly, it is located less than 72km (45 miles) from the country of Italy – they are joined by the Strait of Otranto. Albania, as well as being the English name, was also the Medieval Latin and Medieval Greek name for the country. Arbanitia was also used in Medieval Greek. Tirane (English: Tirana) is the capital city of Albania.
3. Origin of Albanian Language
Albanian language belongs to Indo-European language-family. Albanian (or “Shqip,” to a native speaker) occupies a branch of its own in the Indo-European family, although its position in the family tree is still uncertain. The name “Albanian” was taken from “Albenoi,” the name of an Illyrian tribe, as explained by Hellenic astronomer Claudius Ptolemy. The endonym “Shqiptarë” comes from the root “shqip,” an adverb meaning “clearly” or “intelligibly” (Lloshi, 2010).
4. Albanian Language and Translation Services
Tosk, the southern Albanian dialect is the official language of Albania. The northern Albanian dialect is Gheg. There are seven other spoken languages which include Greek, Vlach, Romani, Macedonian, Aromanian and Serbo-Croatian. Vlach is a variant of Latin. Macedonian is the language of eastern Albania whereas Aromanian is mostly spoken in Southern Albania. Besides, people are proficient in Italian and English as well. Should you require Albanian Translation Services, PoliLingua is able to help you with your language requirements in a professional and timely manner.
5. Siesta Time
Many countries around the world often close up shop around mid-afternoon when the day is at the hottest and life outside comes to a halt. Albania is no different. A lot of shops around town will close from around 1pm to 4pm, so that people can take a break, go home, eat lunch, take a nap, and escape the heat. Walking around during these hours of the day sometimes feels like walking around in a ghost town.
6. Sign Language Misunderstandings
Supposing you were walking down the street and got lost and stopped a stranger for directions, in Albania this could be the root of a total misunderstanding especially if the stranger or the local likes using signs rather than talking. Most of us are used to the up-down head shake as a way of agreeing to something or even showing that you’re listening or concurring to something. In Albania, this is the opposite. Expect a person to give you the side to side head shake if they agree with you or as a sign of showing that they’re are following or understanding what you’re saying and the up-down head shake is used to show the person is not in agreement.
7. President Woodrow Wilson
The republic of Albania wouldn’t exist without the intervention of Woodrow Wilson at the end of WW1. Back then the victorious Great Powers – Britain, France and Italy – wanted to divide Albania up among its neighbors, as a sort of reward for fighting and defeating the German/Austrian coalition. The United States’ President Woodrow Wilson, stood up to the victorious nations of Europe and insisted that Albania, made up of one of the oldest peoples of Europe, was a true nation and that its borders had to be preserved.