Question: Where is Albania exactly? Answer: Southeastern Europe, in the western part of the Balkan peninsula. It dawned on me recently that on this blog, we've spent a lot of time discussing Albanian culture and customs and not much time talking about the geography of Albania.
Albania borders four countries. Montenegro and Kosovo in the north and northeast. The east is shared with North Macedonia and the southeast with Greece.
The most notable physical feature of Albania is its mountains. In fact, the average altitude of the country is more than 700m above sea level.
There are many different mountain ranges in Albania. For example, in the north are the Albanian Alps, in the east the Korab mountains, and in the south the Ceraunian mountains.
The highest mountain is in the Korabs and stands at 2764 meters, making it the 18th biggest in Europe. As mentioned in our blog: sorry in Albanian The mountains of Albania have entered popular culture in a big way. When J.K Rowling was looking for a desolate place where Voldemort would flee after his defeat, the thing that came to mind was the wilderness of the Albanian mountain ranges.
Albania has eight substantial rivers: The Drin, Vjosa, Fan, Ishem, Erzen, Mat, Seman, and Shkumbin.
The country also has two of the biggest lakes in Europe, the lake of Shkoder and the lake of Ohrid in the southeast.
The Adriatic sea surrounds Albania in the west and the Ionian Sea in the southwest. The latter has become known as the Albanian Riviera and plays host to 150km of unspoiled beaches.
Albania is chock full of forests and woodlands. They provide a home for an extensive collection of rare and endangered species including, the golden eagle, golden jackal, grey wolf, Balkan lynx, brown bear, and Egyptian vulture.
Albania has 15 national parks. The most famous are Butrint, Divjakë-Karavasta, Karaburun-Sazan, Llogara, Prespa, Shebenik-Jabllanicë, Theth and Valbonë.
Unfortunately, illegal logging is a scourge on Albania's biodiversity. It ranks 64th on the preservation-quality global index.
The good thing for those of you thinking of taking a trip to Albania is that it has four seasons. The temperature, however, is variable because of the varied landscapes of the country. The hottest areas are at the Mediterranean coast and the coldest in the northern mountains.
In the lowlands, the average winter temperature is about 7 °C, and in the summer, about 32 °C and with low humidity.
As with other rapidly developing economies, air pollution is increasing, particularly in the capital Tirana. Another problem is water pollution, again in Tirana, where the city's two rivers, The Lane and Ishem, are notoriously dirty.
In recent years more and more groups have taken up the cause of protecting Albania. There are 100's of environmental NGOs, although some of them are hamstrung by lack of funding.
Since the fall of the communist party, Albania's main international backer has been the U.S. Amongst the population, the support for the U.S is around 95%. In recent years it has also become a supporter of the European Union.
Its biggest regional support in the Balkans is Turkey, something that historically caused tension with Greece. In 1991 Greek authorities accused Albania of mistreating its citizens in Southern Albania, and things became even worse in 1994 when Greek citizens were imprisoned for political activities in Albania. However, things did improve in 1996 when they signed a peace and friendship treaty.
Thankfully in modern times, the relationship between Greece and Albania has much-improved thanks to a more pro-Albanian Greek prime minister. There are 250 members of the greek military currently assisting Albanian forces.
Albania joined Nato in 2009 largely thanks to Greek and Turkish backing and under the pretext that the alliance acts as a stabilizing force in the region that has been tense since world war ii. Turkey plays a significant role in training Albanian troops and providing military equipment, including radar and telecommunication equipment.
For a more in-depth look check out the Embassy of Albania's foreign relations page
Now we know Albania is a country located in Southern Europe(in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres), so perhaps it is time to think about learning the language. No amount of knowledge of regional maps is a substitute for in-depth knowledge of the language.
Ling has done the hard work that many other language apps weren't willing to do, and that's compile courses on lesser-known languages such as Albanian. As a result, we have listening, reading, and even speaking practice with our patented chatbot.
We understand that learning a language is about a lot more than just a language app; but it is the single most important part of the process. You can see your progress in relation to other people, and more importantly, how you performed compared to other days.
When you have that competition against others and yourself, you will find that you start seeking out more examples of the language and doing everything you can to improve.
We also have this Albanian blog, a handy accompaniment to lessons, which provides more of a socio-cultural guide on all things Albanian. We have everything from religion in Albania to a list of Albanian names and nicknames.
Come over to our website for a closer look and please leave any questions you may have in the comments below.
Until the next time.