20+ Interesting Facts About Albania

  1. Albania is one of the very few Muslim-majority countries in Europe. Around 60% of people in Albania are Muslims (majority Sunni Muslims).
  2. Islam was introduced in Albania after its conquest by Ottoman Empire in the late 14th and early 15th Centuries. Before that, the majority Albanian population was adherent to Christianity.
  3. Albania has the highest consumption rate of cocaine in the world. About 2.5% of the Albanian population uses cocaine. (Source)
  4. George Castrioti Skanderbeg, an Albanian nobleman and military leader, rebelled against the Ottomans in 1443 after serving them for 20 years. Skanderbeg remained undefeated for the next 25 years when the Ottomans were at the peak of their rule.
  5. Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian Ottoman ruler of Egypt, is considered the founder of modern Egypt. His dynasty remained in power in Egypt from 1805 till the 1952 coup d’├ętat.  
  6. Albania is also known as the world’s first atheist country. The communist regime of Albania banned practicing any religion in 1967.
  7. Albania was the only European country whose Jewish population increased during the holocaust. The country remained a place of rescue for Jews during that period. Albania still has a small Jewish community.
  8. Lake Ohrid, at the border between Albania and North Macedonia, is the oldest lake in Europe. Recent research at Lake Ohrid has provided information about the climate history of the region. (Source)
    Ohrid lake in Albania
    Ohrid lake in Albania is Europe's oldest lake

  9. Albanian Alps, located in the far north of the country, receives more than 3,100 mm of rain annually. It makes this area to be one of the wettest places in Europe.
  10. Large-scale cultivation and export of Cannabis have made Albania the drug trafficking headquarters in Europe. Albania is the largest provider of cannabis to the EU, while Albanian gangs are among the world’s top traffickers of cannabis, heroin, and cocaine. (Source)
  11. Albania and its neighboring Balkan countries, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, have different head gestures for no (disapproval) and yes (approval) compared to other parts of the world. Here, people will move their heads up and down for “no” and from side to side for “yes.” (Source
  12. Albania is the largest producer of crude oil in the Western Balkans. Patos-Marinez-Kolonje oil area in Albania is the largest oil field in continental Europe. According to estimates, oil reserves in this European country are 400 million tons. (Source)
  13. King Zog of Albania (1895 to 1961) was the last monarch of Albania and the only Muslim king in modern Europe. He survived 55 assassination attempts during his reign (1922 to 1939).
  14. The most famous personality of Albania is Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, commonly known as Mother Teresa. This Roman Catholic nun is the only Albanian to receive Nobel Prize for her services to humanity.
  15. Albania became a sovereign state in its current form for the first time in 1912 after its independence from Ottoman Empire.
  16. The name of Albania is after its majority Albanian population (over 80% of the total population). But only around 25% of people of Albanian ethnicity live in Albania. The remaining 75% are residing in various other countries.
  17. Apart from Albania, people of Albanian ethnicity also form a majority in the partially recognized country Kosovo, which shares a land border with Albania. Around 90% population of Kosovo is of Albanian ethnicity.
  18. The evening walk is known as xhiro in Albania. It is like an Albanian tradition as people of every age participate in xhiro. In many towns, authorities close roads for cars to make way for pedestrians.
  19. Albania has the 5th highest per capita supply of fruits and vegetables in Europe. The country supplies around 900 grams of these foods to every citizen daily.
  20. Albania produces almost its entire electricity through hydropower. The Drin River in northern Albania fulfills 90% of its domestic electricity requirement. (Source)
  21. There are around 3,200 plant species in Albania. Nearly 300 of these local plants are used as herbal medicines. There are more than 110 species of fish in Albanian lakes, rivers, and seas.
  22. Performers of Albanian folk music traditionally wear Albanian iso-polyphony. This dress is on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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