Albania, officially the Republic of Albania, is a country located in southeastern Europe, in the southwestern portion of the Balkan Peninsula. Albania’s land mass is 28,748 square kilometers, or 11,100 square miles, and has a population of approximately 3 million people.
The capital of Albania is Tirana, the country’s most populous city and main economic and commercial centre. It is also the country’s most visited city. Albania’s main international airport, Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, or as it’s more commonly called Rinas International Airport, is the point of entry for most visitors to the country.
Albania is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. Much of the country is mountainous, with the Albanian Alps in the north, the Korab Mountains in the east, the Ceraunian Mountains in the south and the Skanderbeg Mountains in the center. The country’s coast touches the Adriatic Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the southwest, forming the Albanian Riviera.
Albania is a democratic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy. The service sector dominates the country’s economy, followed by the industrial and agriculture sector. Following the collapse of communism in 1990, Albania went through a process of transition from a centralized economy to a market-based economy. Albania has a high Human Development Index and is ranked 13th in the Happy Planet Index, 38th in the Global Gender Index, 52nd in the Social Progress Index and 37th for Life Expectancy. Albania provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens.
Tourism in Albania has been a key element of the country’s economy. As such, tourism is constantly developing, but already 3.8 million tourists visit Albania. This makes Albania the 25th most visited country in Europe. Tourists are attracted by Albania’s rich archaeological and cultural heritage that dates back to the classical period when Illyrians and Greeks inhabited the region. Over the preceding centuries it was occupied by Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. All of the occupying rulers contributed to the country’s architecture and culture. As a result, Albania offers visitors unspoiled beaches, mountainous landscapes, delicious traditional cuisine, archaeological sight of interest, unique traditions, low prices and hospitality.
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