“Europe, when it was fresh and accessible”, “new love of the Mediterranean” and “new Croatia” – all this is about her, a small picturesque Albania, comfortably located on the Ionian and Adriatic seas, the tourist flow to which is gaining momentum every year. Unfortunately, there is very little reliable information about Albania in Runet. In addition, the country is developing so quickly that even the reviews of the few Russian tourists who visited Albania even a couple of years ago are no longer relevant. Those who have never been to the country, at best, have a vague knowledge of the “Muslim country”, bunkers and the Hollywood “Albanian mafia”. These stereotypes, frankly speaking, are not far from the myths about “forever snow-covered wild Russia and bears with balalaikas on Red Square” …
So, 30 real and rather unexpected facts about the latest riddle of Europe:
1. Albania has more than 300 sunny days a year, 430 km of coastline, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and more than fifteen historical and archaeological monuments of different eras and cultures, some of which have 2500 years of history. The average temperature of sea water in summer is + 25 ° С.
2. Albania is one of the SIX countries in the world that are completely free from GMOs. The country has banned the use of harmful chemicals in food production at the legislative level.
3. Albania is a SOVIET state. With a statistical 57% Muslim, 10% Catholic and 7% Orthodox population, the number of practicing believers of one denomination or another is minimal. Hence the complete absence of any extremist movements in the country or clashes on religious grounds.
4. Albania is one of the 10 MOST LIFE-SAFE countries in the world with a population of up to 5 million people. Here you can safely leave things on the beach, walk alone in the late evening and not worry about the safety of your wallet while sightseeing.
5. LONELY PLANET, DAILYMAIL, NYT, SKYSCANNER and other world famous publications annually include Albania in the list of the most interesting and recommended countries for recreation.
6. Albania opens VISA-FREE ENTRANCE for citizens of Russia and Belarus every year from June to November. Multi-Schengen owners, as well as residents of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and a number of other countries can enter Albania without visas ALL YEAR ROUND.
7. Public holidays in Albania are both Catholic Christmas and Muslim Eid al-Adha, and Orthodox Easter.
8. 20 THOUSAND ITALIANS, according to statistics, live in Albania for permanent residence, stating that they are attracted by the country’s investment opportunities, a completely southern European standard of living, a friendly population with a better environment and more democratic prices.
9. According to the QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX for older people, Albania already has better indicators than Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and others.
10. THE FIRST European country visited by Pope Francis after he was ordained in 2014. became Albania as an example of “harmonious coexistence of religions” (c)
11. The Albanian city of Durres is home to the BIGGEST AMPHITHEATER in the Balkans.
12. THE DEEPEST AND OLDER LAKE in Europe – Lake Ohrid – lies on the border of Albania and Macedonia.
13. Since 2009. citizens of Albania enjoy the right of VISA-FREE ENTRY to the EU countries.
14. Albania became a CANDIDATE COUNTRY FOR ACCESSING THE EU in 2014. As a candidate, Albania is recognized as a “country of safe origin” (as opposed to, for example, Turkey)
15. THREE EURO – the average price of a large plate of fresh mussels in Albanian resorts. A full meal in a restaurant will cost EIGHT Euro per person. ONE EURO – the cost of natural strawberries or cherries per season.
16.From 2004 to 2014, the number of foreign tourists in Albania increased 10 times. The cost of real estate on the coast has increased by 200%, but to this day remains the most inexpensive in the Mediterranean.
17. SEVEN kilometers – the length of the newest and longest embankment in the Balkans – “Lungomare” in Vlora, which is being built by a well-known Belgian company in Albania along the two seas – the Adriatic and the Ionian.
18. About 13 passenger ferries run daily between Albania and Italy during the summer.
19. Most of the Italian brands with the MADE IN ITALY label are produced in Albania. For example, the world famous hand-made Venetian carnival masks are made at a mask factory in the Albanian city of Shkoder.
20. “The idea of a“ GREAT ALBANIA ”is popularized in the world only by ill-wishers and opponents of friendly interstate relations in the Balkans,” said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama during the 2015 diplomatic visit of the Serbian delegation to Tirana.
21. The current PRIME MINISTER of Albania is a Catholic, an artist by training, and also … a lover of nudist beaches. The wife of the Prime Minister is Muslim, the eldest son is Orthodox, and the youngest son is Catholic.
22. Tirana International Airport is named after MOTHER TERESA – Albanian by origin.
23. KOSOVO and Albania are two different states, with differences both in mentality and in history and language. Albania was never part of Yugoslavia and did not participate in any Balkan conflict during the collapse of the SFRY.
24. Moreover, Albania has not had ANY military conflict WITH ANY country in Europe since the end of World War II.
25.172 BLN. Euro is the cost of a new ultra-modern highway project between Montenegro and Albania.
26. In the period from 1948 to 1958. Albania was the ONLY country in the Balkans that maintained friendly relations with the USSR. The Albanian city of Vlora was home to the largest Soviet military base in the Mediterranean, especially distinguished by an unprecedented training attack on an American cruiser with the President of the United States on board.
27. The main embankment of the sea resort of Durres is called VOLGA, and in Shkoder, on the border with Montenegro, there is a Russian quarter.
28. Albania is one of the few European countries that has POSITIVE credit ratings from both international rating agencies Moody’s and S&P.
29. 40 MINUTES by ferry takes a trip from the Greek island of Corfu to the town of Saranda on the Ionian coast of Albania, which is especially popular among Scandinavian tourists.
30. THE LARGEST shopping and entertainment center in the Balkans – TEG – is located in the capital of Albania – Tirana.