Albania is a country in southeastern Europe, lying on the Balkan Peninsula. It is a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastline. The Albanian Alps runs across the interior of the country. Albania has many castles and archeological sites.
However, there are quite a number of other facts apart from these generally known ones. For example, how do they view an individual owning an AK-47? When you visit a home where they have a baby, what MUST you do? Which sets of people must you not compliment? And which sets of people do their police usually not stop on the roads?
Get the answers to these and lots more in the following 11 interesting facts about Albania.
Currency: Albanian Lek
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Population: 3,039,594 (2016 Estimate)
President: Bujar Nishani
Prime Minister: Edi Rama
Interesting Facts About Albania
1. Very Hospitable
The Albanians are well known for their hospitality. They far surpass all other Balkan countries in this. Respect is something else that has a place of top priority in the country. Elders and men in families are people to whom respect must be shown.
2. General Greetings
In greeting, a firm handshake is usually the norm when it is men to men. However, there is an interesting part. One it is most advised never to engage in arguments on certain topics with Albanians, no matter how familiar you have become with them. An example is homosexuality.
3. Respect is Key
What is most important is to follow their lead and you will not have anything to worry much about. Just remember that they value respect a lot. Accord them that and stay away from broaching subjects of religion, politics, and homosexuality, and you are most likely to be in their good book.
4. AK-47 Everywhere
If you are hosted by an Albanian and you stay overnight at his place, you are likely to sight an AK-47 Kalashnikov leaning carelessly against a wall. Do not be alarmed. It is normal to see such in nearly every home in Albania. Wow! Armed robbers would find that interesting!
5. The Cheek Kissing
When greeting persons of your age groups, even those you are meeting for the first time, it is the custom in Albania to "kiss" cheeks. This cheek-kissing is in fact just touching your cheek to the other person's cheek; no real kissing takes place.
6. No Cross-Gender Cheek Kissing
However, one thing that you must be careful to avoid is kissing or touching cheeks with persons of the opposite sex. This would be viewed with heavy eyes. But if such persons are close family members of close friends, then you might be excused.
7. Compliment Babies
If you visit a home and they have a baby in tat home, you have a responsibility cut out for you that you must carry out. That responsibility is this: you must always ask to see the baby. Here is the interesting part: on seeing the baby, never forget to say, "What a sweet baby!"
8. No Cross-Gender Compliments
If you are in a group, remember never to compliment persons of the opposite sex unless they are under the ages of 10 to 12 years. Complimenting adult persons of the opposite sex is a taboo because it is seen as open flirtations.
9. Use the Plural for "YOU"
Unlike the English language, Albanian language has plural for "you". And you already know that respect means a lot to them. Therefore, when meeting people for the first time, you are advised to address them with the plural form of "you" as a mark of respect. Usually, they quickly ask you to use the singular form for them.
10. Police Won't Stop You
Police men in Albania are usually very polite and never stop foreign tourists. However, if you use a rented car, they are likely to stop you. And even then, what is interesting about it is that the moment they realize that you are a foreign tourist, they immediately tell you to go.
11. Have a Good Dance
Albanians love to dance. If you were to attend a wedding or any other such ceremony, you will definitely be invited to dance. Please, do not turn them down. You might not know how to do the traditional dance. But it is advised that you learn.