Interesting facts about Albania

What do you understand when a person nods his head? And what will you infer if a person shakes his head? In general, a nod of the head means “yes” and a shake of the head means “no”.

Think again if you are visiting Albania.

In this country, a nod of the head means “no” and a shake of the head means “yes”.

Albania, officially called as “Republic of Albania” is a country situated in the Mediterranean region in South Eastern Europe. It is only country in the European region having Muslims as majority of the population. The country, situated at the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, is surrounded by the Republic of Macedonia in the east, Kosova in the north-east, Montenegro in the north and Greece in the south east region. On the western side lies the coast of the Adriatic Sea and on the south-west part lies the coast of Ionian Sea. The Strait of Otranto links the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. When traveled through the Strait of Otranto, Italy is less than 75 kilometers from Albania.

The country, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean, has formally applied for membership into the European Union during the first half of 2009. With Tirana as the capital, the country has opened up doors for foreign investment as part of free-market reforms with primary focus on transportation and energy production.

One of the ancient lands in Europe is Albania with historic records dating back to as old as 5th Century BC or beyond. According to historic records, the now rediscovered city of Butrint was then used by Julius Ceaser in 1st Century BC as provisions depot for his troops engaged in a campaign. The city of Butrint has been declared as a World Heritage Site and the Butrint National Park, situated in the city, attracts as much as 70,000 visitors per year.

Located at a strategic location, Albania was frequently attacked by the Greeks, the British and the French among others. The famous Ottomon empire has controlled the region for more than 500 years before the country emerged independent in 1912.

The emblem in the national flag of Albania is that of two eagles and the name in the local language means “the land of eagles”.

Yet another interesting fact about this beautiful country situated in the Mediterranean is that offering tips is almost common there. Normally we are used to give tips when we dine at hotels or in big restaurants. But, in Albania, offering around 10% of the value of the services as tips, or tipping the service provider, is almost common in most places – be it guide, a porter, a chauffeur or a server at the restaurant, tipping needs to be done. If you are not interested in paying a tip to the service provider, you can offer him duty-free alcohol.