Capital | Tiana
Population | 3,639,453
Area | 28,748 SQ KM
Official Language | Albanian
Holidays | Independence Day, 28 November
Currency | Albanian Lek
Time Zone | UTC+1
Best Time to Visit | May to September
Connecting with the Culture| Admiring the beauty and mystique of Albania’s mountain. Getting lost in the ancient city of Durres, founded in 627 BC by the Greeks and being overwhelmed by the strikingly picturesque museum town of Gjirokastra, perched on the side of a mountain above the Drino River.
Read | Broken April by Albania’s best-known contemporary writer, Isamil Kadare, which deals with the blood vendettas of the northern highlands before the 1939 Italian invasion.
Listen | to Albania, Vocal and Instrumental Polyphony, recording of traditional Albanian music
Watch | Lamerica, a stark look at Albania post-communist culture
Eat | ferges (a rich beef stew)
Drink | raki, a clear brandy distilled from grapes; taken as an aperitif
In a Word | tungiatjeta (hello)
Characteristics | Polyphony; shish kebabs; baggy pants and colorful scarves.
Surprises | As much as 20% of the labor force works abroad, mainly in Greece and Italy