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Albania - Facts and History
The Republic of Albania is a Balkan area in southeastern Europe. It borders Monten(e)gro in the northwest, Kosovo (a predominantely Albanian UN-contolled province inside Serbia) within the north, the Republic of Macedonia in the east, and Greece within the south. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea within the west (is divided from Italy through the Strait of Otranto) and a coast on the Ionian Sea inside the southwesterly. Despite having a troubled history, since the 1990s the land has been classified as an emerging democracy. Under Enver Hoxha's isolationist policies just any foreigners could enter the area, but since then tourism has increased. Major credit cards are accepted inside many places, though bills are often paid within cash or by traveller's cheque. Visitors from several countries no longer need a visa to enter Albania EU and EFTA member states and many other evolved countries are exempt from visa requirements.

Some of the finest places to travel to Albania are:
• The city of Saranda (known for its white sandy and clear water beaches)
• The city of Durres (known for its archicture and beaches)
• The city of Tirana (known for its archicture, clubs, outdoor restaurants and its modern western lifestyle)
• The city of Kruje (acknowledge for its archicture and the the castle of Skenderbeg)
• The city of Korca (known for its mountains and ancient villages)

Albanian language and culture were conquered for almost 400 years in the period of Ottoman rule, though the Turks were never able to totally control the Albanian people. It is a fact that Albanian ways of life parcelled as they are in territories, regions and even villages unfold a surprisingly large form of customs, dialects and wear.

History or tradition has it that two brothers named Tosk and Gheg, who lived inside times long gone, established their families and spread to what are now acknowledged as two areas, Tosk-south and Gheg-north. This is symbolically demonstrate within the Albanian national flag by the two headed-eagle. Travelling South to North via the national road you may soon note that people's attire may gradually vary.

A good example of this are the villagers who have kept the old traditions and costume, unlike urban dwellers who strive to globalization. Thus, the traditional dress is still common inside rural areas especially detectable during holidays or as carried by old people. Men wear embroidered white shirts and knee pants, the Ghegs north with a white felt skullcap and the Tosks south with flat-topped white fezzes. Speaking about customs or creeds, we can't aid but mention the Kanun code of behaviour. This or even other counterpart laws, coming through ages from the post Scanderberg area, used to be a strong tradition within south and north alike. Kanun law came to be placed as an alternative answer of the masses who deprived of a proper Albanian rule, and reluctant to accept a foreign one, created their own. As a phenomenon it is not unknown inside other parts of Europe, but when in these countries you can now only read approximately such things as blood feuds in history books, within Albania it is a painful bizarre reality of everyday life. This law is alive and heavy only inside the North, in which honour is "not a breath of air". There we can still see locked behind the bars of the straight kullas typical mountainous region buildings in the north whole houses who stay there as concern that their beloved may be killed.

It is a common view that Albanians develop a hard tradition of hospitality. If you are hospitable and respect your guest than you develop a "white" heart, which stands as the Albanian variation for the English "golden heart" or even being generous in spite of life conditions. By way of illustration we can mention the famous expression of the "bread, salt and good heart". It means that there is always an open door and a hearth offered with sincerity. Albanians can be described as loyal, hard and friendly although it takes some time to really know them. They maintain strong family ties and have a special feeling for home like people anywhere in the Balkans usually do.
About the Author
Paul Everton is a senior web designer, and also travel reporter and webmaster for Travel World Tips.
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