Here are some questions I am asked frequently. Feel free to ask one not listed here.

Q: Where is Albania?

A: Albania is located here,  in between Montenegro and Greece along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It is a little smaller than the state of Maryland, with an area of  28748 sq km. Seventy percent of the country is mountainous with the majority resting along the eastern portion of the country.

The coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The mountainous regions to the east tend to be considerable cooler and wetter than the coast.

Q: What language do the speak?

A: The native language in Albania is none other than Albanian. Most Albanians know at least one other language, most often Italian or Greek but many Albanians know or are familiar with many of the Balkan languages.

Albanian, or Shqip, is unique because of its complex grammar. Verbs can have six moods (Indicative,Subjunctive, Conditional, Imperative, Admirative and Optative),  each with their own set of tenses. Nouns are feminine or masculine but also have a definite or indefinite form that changes depending on if the noun is Accusative, Nominative, Genitive, Dative, or Ablative. And if that isn’t enough, adjectives also change depending on if the noun they follow is masculine or feminine, singular or plural. As if that isn’t enough pronouns also change depending on their role in the sentence and are sometimes replaced with clitics… Sound confusing?

As if that isn’t enough, there are two dialects, Gheg and Tosk. Tosk is the literal language and spoken in the South, while Gheg is used in the North. The differences between the two include pronunciation changes, different words, and modified grammar.

If that doesn’t scare you away from learning Shqip, rest assured that if you do master this complex language, word on the street is that every other language is a piece of cake!

Q: What religion is Albania?

A: Most Albanians are Mulsim with 70% of the population following the teachings of Mohammad. The remaining 30% are 2/3 Catholic and 1/3 Eastern Orthadox. The Christian population is concentrated in the Northern portion of the country. While most Albanians will claim a religion, most don’t follow one. This is probably because during the Ottoman rule everyone was forced to become Muslim and then during communism religion was banned entirely towards the end of the regime. There is a saying that translates to “The religion of Albanians is Albanianism.” This speaks to their strong national identity and tolerance of religions.


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