Ready to learn some interesting facts about Albania?
Whether you’re impressing your new Albanian boyfriend, preparing for an odd trivia competition, or are headed to Albania on a trip, these Albanian facts are sure to be just what you’re looking for.
Here’s our roundup of the most interesting Albania facts:
1. In Albania, no means yes, and yes means no. Well, kind of. If you are used to answering a yes-no question with just a grunt and a shake of your head, be careful in Albania. Here, shaking your head left and right means “yes,” while nodding your head up and down means “no.”
2. Albanian people and their language can be divided into two groups, culturally and linguistically: Ghegs and Tosks. Both Ghegs and Tosks identify strongly with Albania as a whole, but there are differences between these two Albanian groups. The natural boundary between the two groups is the Shkumbin River. North of the Shkumbin River are the Ghegs, and south of the river are the Tosks. Ghegs speak Gheg Albanian, which is one variety of the Albanian language spoken in the north of the country, as well as in parts of Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Tosk Albanian is considered to be the “standard” Albanian language, spoken and written in the south of the country, its capital, and parts of Greece and Italy.
3. There are more Albanians living outside Albania than within the country. Albania’s population stands at just under 3 million people. However, there are many millions of Albanians living abroad (the Albanian diaspora), particularly in nearby countries, such as North Macedonia, Greece, Italy, and Turkey, as well as farther afield, like in the United States, Argentina, and New Zealand.
4. Albania has been home to numerous peoples and civilizations. The list reads almost like Game of Thrones fan fiction, really Albania has been inhabited by the Illyrians, the Thracians, the Ottomans, as well as the Ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the Byzantines. Today, along with the ethnic Albanian population, Albania is home to a large number of Greeks, Turks, Montenegrins, North Macedonians, Romani, and Aromanians.
5. The most famous Albanian is likely Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa, the woman against whose saintliness all others deeds are compared, was born as Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in what was then the Ottoman Empire. To this day, she is the only Albanian to ever win a Nobel, awarded in 1979 for her work helping the less fortunate in Kolkata, India.
6. Albania’s national hero goes by a single name: Skanderbeg. Gjergj Kastrioti, known as Skanderbeg, is the unofficial national hero to most Albanians today. In his younger years, his noble birth made him a prized hostage delivered to the Ottoman Empire in 1423. Over the next 20 years, he lived with and served the Ottomans, earning trust until he rose to a prominent position. Then, in 1443, during the Battle of Niš, he deserted Sultan Murad II’s forces and started himself ruling over a portion of what is today northern Albania. For the first time in its history, Albanians were unified under just one ruler.
Well, that’s all our Albania facts for now, and we hope you’ve found this post interesting and informative! Do you have any questions, feedback, or other facts about Albania we should include on our list? Let us know below in the comments, and thanks for reading!