Albania is a small, mountainous country in the Balkan peninsula, with a long Adriatic and Ionian coastline.
Along with neighbouring and mainly Albanian-inhabited Kosovo, it has a Muslim majority – a legacy of its centuries of Ottoman rule. Approaching twenty per cent of the population are Christians, divided mainly between the Orthodox and smaller Catholic denominations.
After World War II, Albania became a Stalinist state under Enver Hoxha, and remained staunchly isolationist until its transition to democracy after 1990.
The 1992 elections ended 47 years of communist rule, but the latter half of the decade saw a quick turnover of presidents and prime ministers.
Many Albanians left the country in search of work; the money they send home remains an important source of revenue.
- The Republic of Albania
- Capital: Tirana
- Population 3.2 million
- Major language Albanian
- Major religions Islam, Christianity
- Life expectancy 74 years (men), 80 years (women)
- Currency lek