Albania

ALBANIA

 Capital: Tirana, Currency: Albanian lek

Geography

Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles). It lies between latitudes 42° and 39° N (Vermosh-Konispol) and between longitudes 21° and 19° E (Sazan-Vernik). Albania’s coastline length is 476 km (296 mi) and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea.

The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the former district of Dibër, reaching up to 2,764 metres (9,068 ft). The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers.

Inland conditions vary depending on elevation, but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions with snow may linger into spring. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 420,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are used.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country’s northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2(140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to Albania and the rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country’s southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including “living fossils” and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO. There is also Lake Butrint which is a small tectonic lake. It is located in the National Park of Butrint.

Climate

 

With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, Albania has a high number of climatic regions relative to its landmass. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean climate; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.

The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5 °C (9 °F) during the summer and somewhat less during the winter.

Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe. Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.

Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.

When the continental air mass is weak, Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is a dominant continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the season’s lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits, groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter temperatures.

Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.

Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual averages are probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550 millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas. The western Albanian Alps (valley of Boga) are among the wettest areas in Europe, receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain annually. The seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area.

The higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local variations, but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area.

In 2009, an expedition from University of Colorado discovered four small glaciers in the “Cursed” mountains in North Albania. The glaciers are at the relatively low level of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), almost unique for such a southerly latitude.

Flora and Fauna

Although a small country, Albania is distinguished for its rich biological diversity. The variation of geomorphology, climate and terrain create favorable conditions for a number of endemic and sub-endemic species with 27 endemic and 160 subendemic vascular plants present in the country. The total number of plants is over 3250 species, approximately 30% of the entire flora species found in Europe.

Over a third of the territory of Albania – about 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles);– is forested and the country is very rich in flora. About 3,000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom, the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. Coastal regions and lowlands have typical Mediterraneanmacchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found on higher elevations. Vast forests of black pine, beech and fir are found on higher mountains and alpine grasslands grow at elevations above 1800 meters.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by theEuropean Environment Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Alpine mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens andpolecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

There are around 760 vertebrate species found so far in Albania. Among these there are over 350 bird species, 330 freshwater and marine fish and 80 mammal species. There are some 91 globally threatened species found within the country, among which the Dalmatian pelican, pygmy cormorant, and the European sea sturgeon. Rocky coastal regions in the south provide good habitats for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal.

Some of the most significant bird species found in the country include the golden eagle – known as the national symbol of Albania – vulturespecies, capercaillie and numerous waterfowl. The Albanian forests still maintain significant communities of large mammals such as the brown bear, gray wolf, chamois and wild boar. The north and eastern mountains of the country are home to the last remaining Balkan lynx – a critically endangered population of the Eurasian lynx.

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census results, the total population of Albania is 2,821,977 with a low Fertility rate of 1.49 children born per woman. The fall of the Communist regime in 1990 Albania was accompanied with massive migration. External migration was prohibited outright in Communist Albania while internal migration was quite limited, hence this was a new phenomenon. Between 1991 and 2004, roughly 900,000 people have migrated out of Albania, about 600,000 of them settling in Greece. Migration greatly affected Albania’s internal population distribution. Population decreased mainly in the North and South of the country while it increased in Tirana and Durrës center districts. According to the Albanian Institute of Statistics, the population of Albania is 2,893,005 as of 1 January 2015.

Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate. “Although official statistics have suggested that Albania is one of the most homogenous countries in the region (with an over 97 per cent Albanian majority) minority groups (such as Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Roma and Vlachs/Aromanians) have often questioned the official data, claiming a larger share in the country’s population.

Representation of the distribution of ethnic groups within the Republic of Albania, as according to the 2011 census. Districts colored gray are those where a majority of people did not declare an ethnicity (the question was optional). The last census that contained ethnographic data (before the 2011 one) was conducted in 1989.

Albania recognizes three national minorities, Greeks, Macedonians and Montenegrins, and two cultural minorities,Aromanians and Romani people. Other Albanian minorities are Bulgarians, Gorani, Serbs, Balkan Egyptians,Bosniaks and Jews. Regarding the Greeks, “it is difficult to know how many Greeks there are in Albania. The Greek government, it is typically claimed, says that there are around 300,000 ethnic Greeks in Albania, but most western estimates are around 200,000 mark (although EEN puts the number at a probable 100,000). The Albanian government puts the number at only 24,243.” The CIA World Factbook estimates the Greek minority at 0.9% of the total population and the US State Department uses 1.17% for Greeks and 0.23% for other minorities. However, the latter questions the validity of the data about the Greek minority, due to the fact that measurements have been affected by boycott.

According to the 2011 census the population of Albania declared the following ethnic affiliation: Albanians 2,312,356 (82.6% of the total), Greeks 24,243 (0.9%), Macedonians 5,512 (0.2%), Montenegrins 366 (0.01%), Aromanians 8,266 (0.30%), Romani 8,301 (0.3%), Balkan Egyptians 3,368 (0.1%), other ethnicities 2,644 (0.1%), no declared ethnicity 390,938 (14.0%), and not relevant 44,144 (1.6%).

Macedonian and some Greek minority groups have sharply criticized Article 20 of the Census law, according to which a $1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone who will declare an ethnicity other than what is stated on his or her birth certificate. This is claimed to be an attempt to intimidate minorities into declaring Albanian ethnicity, according to them the Albanian government has stated that it will jail anyone who does not participate in the census or refuse to declare his or her ethnicity. Genc Pollo, the minister in charge has declared that: “Albanian citizens will be able to freely express their ethnic and religious affiliation and mother tongue. However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions”. The amendments criticized do not include jailing or forced declaration of ethnicity or religion; only a fine is envisioned which can be overthrown by court.

Greek representatives form part of the Albanian parliament and the government has invited Albanian Greeks to register, as the only way to improve their status. On the other hand, nationalists, various intellectuals organizations and political parties in Albania have expressed their concern that the census might artificially increase the number of Greek minority, which might be then exploited by Greece to threaten Albania’s territorial integrity.

Language

Main articles: Albanian language and Languages of Albania
 

Albanian is the official language of Albania. Its standard spoken and written form is revised and merged from the two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk, though it is notably based more on the Tosk dialect. Shkumbin river is the rough dividing line between the two dialects. Also a dialect of Greek that preserves features now lost in standard modern Greek is spoken in areas inhabited by the Greek minority. Other languages spoken by ethnic minorities in Albania include Vlach, Serbian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Gorani, and Roma. Macedonian is official in the Pustec Municipality in East Albania.

Albanians are considered a polyglot nation and people. Due to immigration and past colonialism, Albanians generally speak more than 2 languages. English, Italian and Greek are by far the most widely spoken foreign languages, which are increasing due to migration return, and new Greek and Italian communities in the country. La Francophonie states 320,000 French speakers can be found in Albania. Other spoken languages include Serbian, Romanian, German, Turkish and Aromanian. Albanians in neighbouring Kosovo and Macedonia are often fluent in Albanian and Serbian, Turkish, Slavic Macedonian, and other former Yugoslav languages.

According to the 2011 population census, 2,765,610 or 98.767% of the population declared Albanian as their mother tongue (“mother tongue is defined as the first or main language spoken at home during childhood”).

Religion

Main articles: Religion in Albania, Freedom of religion in Albania, Islam in Albania, Christianity in Albania, and Judaism in Albania

According to the 2011 census, 58.79% of Albania adheres to Islam, making it the largest religion in the country; Christianity is practiced by 17.06% of the population, and 24.29% of the total population is either non-religious, belongs to other religious groups, or are ‘undeclared’. Both the Albanian Orthodox church and the Bektashi Sufi order refused to recognize the 2011 census results regarding faith, with the Orthodox claiming that 24% of the total population are Albanian Orthodox Christians rather than just 6.75%. Before World War II, 70% of the population were Muslims, 20% Eastern Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholics. According to a 2010 survey, religion today plays an important role in the lives of only 39% of Albanians, and Albania is ranked among the least religious countries in the world. A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that 65% of Albanian Muslims are non-denominational Muslims.

The Albanians first appeared in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the late 11th century. At this point, they were already fully Christianized. Islam came for the first time in the 9th century to the region which is known as Albania today. It later emerged as the majority religion during the centuries of Ottoman rule, though a significant Christian minority remained. After independence (1912) from the Ottoman Empire, the Albanian republican, monarchic and later Communist regimes followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official functions and cultural life. Albania never had an official state religion either as a republic or as a kingdom. In the 20th century, the clergy of all faiths was weakened under the monarchy, and ultimately eradicated during the 1950s and 1960s, under the state policy of obliterating all organized religion from Albanian territories.

The Communist regime that took control of Albania after World War II persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions and entirely banned religion to the point where Albania was officially declared to be the world’s first atheist state. Religious freedom has returned to Albania since the regime’s change in 1992. Albania joined the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 1992, following the fall of the communist government, but will not be attending the 2014 conference due a dispute regarding the fact that its parliament never ratified the country’s membership. Albanian Muslim populations (mainly secular and of the Sunni branch) are found throughout the country whereas Albanian Orthodox Christians as well as Bektashisare concentrated in the south and Roman Catholics are found in the north of the country.

The first recorded Albanian Protestant was Said Toptani, who traveled around Europe, and in 1853 returned to Tirana and preached Protestantism. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities in 1864. Mainline evangelical Protestants date back to the work of Congregational and later Methodist missionaries and the work of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the 19th century.

Albanian census 2011
         
Islam
  
56%
Undeclared
  
14%
Catholic Christianity
  
10%
Eastern Orthodox
  
7%
Others
  
5.5%
Atheism
  
2.5%
Bektashi Islam
  
2%
Other Christian
  
0.2%

The Evangelical Alliance, which is known as VUSh, was founded in 1892. Today VUSh has about 160 member congregations from different Protestant denominations. VUSh organizes marches in Tirana including one against blood feuds in 2010. Bibles are provided by the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania. The first full Albanian Bible to be printed was the Filipaj translation printed in 1990.

Seventh-day Adventist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses also have a number of adherents in Albania.

Albania was the only country in Europe where Jewish population experienced growth during the Holocaust. After the mass emigration to Israel since the fall of Communist regime, only 200 Albanian Jews are left in the country today.

According to 2008 statistics from the religious communities in Albania, there are 1119 churches and 638 mosques in the country. The Roman Catholic mission declared 694 Catholic churches. The Christian Orthodox community, 425 Orthodox churches. The Muslim community, 568

Read on to this section to find-out about details of the nearest embassy of country or consulate of the country you want to visit. Apart from the office details, this section also includes the contact information and timings (for the visits).

New Delhi

Name:Embassy of the Republic of Albania

Address:B-2, West End Colony

City:New Delhi – 110 021

Country:India

Telephone:011- 4610 8285, 4059 1294

Fax:011- 4610 8285

Timings:Mon to Fri

Office Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Visa Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Email:embassy.delhi@mfa.gov.al, embassy.delhi@gmail.com

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

Collection Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Mumbai

Name:Honorary Consulate General of Albania in Mumbai

Address:155 Maker Chamber 6, Nariman Point

City:Mumbai – 400 021

Country:India

Telephone:022- 2202 9011

Fax:022- 2204 6596

Email:hc@albaniamumbai.in

Notes:Visa is not handled.

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

Kolkata

Name:Honorary Consulate General of Albania in Kolkata

Address:4, Chowringhee Lane, Diamond Chamber, 8E, 8th Floor

City:Kolkata- 700 016

Country:India

Telephone:033- 4069 2151

Fax:033- 2289 5401

Timings:Mon to Fri

Office Timings:1000 to 1700 hrs.

Notes:Visa is not handled.

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

  1. Original Passports with 6 months validity from date of travel, validity of passports for six months fro date of travel.Have at least two blank pages.
  2. Visa Application Form.
  3. 2 Photos 35 X 45mm, white background, matt finish 70% face size.
  4. Covering letter from applicant mentioning, personal, passport, travel and who will bear the expenses details.
  5. Confirm Air Tickets.
  6. Confirmed hotel reservation or accommodation certificate duly certified by the local authorities in Algeria or an invitation from an Algerian travel agency with itinerary.
  7. Original Bank statements for last 6 months with sufficient and healthy funds for the trip.

VISA FEES: Tourist visa for 30 days = INR 2800/-PP
Multiple Entry Visa for 90 days = INR 5800/-PP

SUBMISSION OF VISA APPLICATIONS – MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY ONLY.
COLLECTION OF VISA APPLICATIONS – WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.

*Note:

Visa Fee Subject to Change.

Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care. However, regulations and requirements are subject to change.

Embassy/Consulate reserves the right to ask for additional documents or personal appearance for an interview in special cases. Submission of the above-mentioned documents does not guarantee that a visa is granted. Submission of incomplete documentation or refusal to appear for a special visa interview may result in the rejection of your application

Geography

Albania has a total area of 28,748 square kilometres (11,100 square miles). It lies between latitudes 42° and 39° N (Vermosh-Konispol) and between longitudes 21° and 19° E (Sazan-Vernik). Albania’s coastline length is 476 km (296 mi) and extends along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The lowlands of the west face the Adriatic Sea.

The 70% of the country that is mountainous is rugged and often inaccessible from the outside. The highest mountain is Korab situated in the former district of Dibër, reaching up to 2,764 metres (9,068 ft). The climate on the coast is typically Mediterranean with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny, and rather dry summers.

Inland conditions vary depending on elevation, but the higher areas above 1,500 m/5,000 ft are rather cold and frequently snowy in winter; here cold conditions with snow may linger into spring. Besides the capital city of Tirana, which has 420,000 inhabitants, the principal cities are Durrës, Korçë, Elbasan, Shkodër, Gjirokastër, Vlorë and Kukës. In Albanian grammar, a word can have indefinite and definite forms, and this also applies to city names: both Tiranë and Tirana, Shkodër and Shkodra are used.

The three largest and deepest tectonic lakes of the Balkan Peninsula are partly located in Albania. Lake Shkodër in the country’s northwest has a surface which can vary between 370 km2(140 sq mi) and 530 km2, out of which one third belongs to Albania and the rest to Montenegro. The Albanian shoreline of the lake is 57 km (35 mi). Ohrid Lake is situated in the country’s southeast and is shared between Albania and Republic of Macedonia. It has a maximal depth of 289 meters and a variety of unique flora and fauna can be found there, including “living fossils” and many endemic species. Because of its natural and historical value, Ohrid Lake is under the protection of UNESCO. There is also Lake Butrint which is a small tectonic lake. It is located in the National Park of Butrint.

Climate

 

With its coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons, Albania has a high number of climatic regions relative to its landmass. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean climate; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.

The lowlands have mild winters, averaging about 7 °C (45 °F). Summer temperatures average 24 °C (75 °F). In the southern lowlands, temperatures average about 5 °C (9 °F) higher throughout the year. The difference is greater than 5 °C (9 °F) during the summer and somewhat less during the winter.

Inland temperatures are affected more by differences in elevation than by latitude or any other factor. Low winter temperatures in the mountains are caused by the continental air mass that dominates the weather in Eastern Europe. Northerly and northeasterly winds blow much of the time. Average summer temperatures are lower than in the coastal areas and much lower at higher elevations, but daily fluctuations are greater. Daytime maximum temperatures in the interior basins and river valleys are very high, but the nights are almost always cool.

Average precipitation is heavy, a result of the convergence of the prevailing airflow from the Mediterranean Sea and the continental air mass. Because they usually meet at the point where the terrain rises, the heaviest rain falls in the central uplands. Vertical currents initiated when the Mediterranean air is uplifted also cause frequent thunderstorms. Many of these storms are accompanied by high local winds and torrential downpours.

When the continental air mass is weak, Mediterranean winds drop their moisture farther inland. When there is a dominant continental air mass, cold air spills onto the lowland areas, which occurs most frequently in the winter. Because the season’s lower temperatures damage olive trees and citrus fruits, groves and orchards are restricted to sheltered places with southern and western exposures, even in areas with high average winter temperatures.

Lowland rainfall averages from 1,000 millimeters (39.4 in) to more than 1,500 millimeters (59.1 in) annually, with the higher levels in the north. Nearly 95% of the rain falls in the winter.

Rainfall in the upland mountain ranges is heavier. Adequate records are not available, and estimates vary widely, but annual averages are probably about 1,800 millimeters (70.9 in) and are as high as 2,550 millimeters (100.4 in) in some northern areas. The western Albanian Alps (valley of Boga) are among the wettest areas in Europe, receiving some 3,100 mm (122.0 in) of rain annually. The seasonal variation is not quite as great in the coastal area.

The higher inland mountains receive less precipitation than the intermediate uplands. Terrain differences cause wide local variations, but the seasonal distribution is the most consistent of any area.

In 2009, an expedition from University of Colorado discovered four small glaciers in the “Cursed” mountains in North Albania. The glaciers are at the relatively low level of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), almost unique for such a southerly latitude.

Flora and Fauna

Although a small country, Albania is distinguished for its rich biological diversity. The variation of geomorphology, climate and terrain create favorable conditions for a number of endemic and sub-endemic species with 27 endemic and 160 subendemic vascular plants present in the country. The total number of plants is over 3250 species, approximately 30% of the entire flora species found in Europe.

Over a third of the territory of Albania – about 10,000 square kilometres (3,861 square miles);– is forested and the country is very rich in flora. About 3,000 different species of plants grow in Albania, many of which are used for medicinal purposes. Phytogeographically, Albania belongs to the Boreal Kingdom, the Mediterranean Region and the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region. Coastal regions and lowlands have typical Mediterraneanmacchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found on higher elevations. Vast forests of black pine, beech and fir are found on higher mountains and alpine grasslands grow at elevations above 1800 meters.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by theEuropean Environment Agency, the territory of Albania can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Illyrian deciduous forests, Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Alpine mixed forests. The forests are home to a wide range of mammals, including wolves, bears, wild boars and chamois. Lynx, wildcats, pine martens andpolecats are rare, but survive in some parts of the country.

There are around 760 vertebrate species found so far in Albania. Among these there are over 350 bird species, 330 freshwater and marine fish and 80 mammal species. There are some 91 globally threatened species found within the country, among which the Dalmatian pelican, pygmy cormorant, and the European sea sturgeon. Rocky coastal regions in the south provide good habitats for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal.

Some of the most significant bird species found in the country include the golden eagle – known as the national symbol of Albania – vulturespecies, capercaillie and numerous waterfowl. The Albanian forests still maintain significant communities of large mammals such as the brown bear, gray wolf, chamois and wild boar. The north and eastern mountains of the country are home to the last remaining Balkan lynx – a critically endangered population of the Eurasian lynx.

Demographics

According to the 2011 Census results, the total population of Albania is 2,821,977 with a low Fertility rate of 1.49 children born per woman. The fall of the Communist regime in 1990 Albania was accompanied with massive migration. External migration was prohibited outright in Communist Albania while internal migration was quite limited, hence this was a new phenomenon. Between 1991 and 2004, roughly 900,000 people have migrated out of Albania, about 600,000 of them settling in Greece. Migration greatly affected Albania’s internal population distribution. Population decreased mainly in the North and South of the country while it increased in Tirana and Durrës center districts. According to the Albanian Institute of Statistics, the population of Albania is 2,893,005 as of 1 January 2015.

Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate. “Although official statistics have suggested that Albania is one of the most homogenous countries in the region (with an over 97 per cent Albanian majority) minority groups (such as Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Roma and Vlachs/Aromanians) have often questioned the official data, claiming a larger share in the country’s population.

Representation of the distribution of ethnic groups within the Republic of Albania, as according to the 2011 census. Districts colored gray are those where a majority of people did not declare an ethnicity (the question was optional). The last census that contained ethnographic data (before the 2011 one) was conducted in 1989.

Albania recognizes three national minorities, Greeks, Macedonians and Montenegrins, and two cultural minorities,Aromanians and Romani people. Other Albanian minorities are Bulgarians, Gorani, Serbs, Balkan Egyptians,Bosniaks and Jews. Regarding the Greeks, “it is difficult to know how many Greeks there are in Albania. The Greek government, it is typically claimed, says that there are around 300,000 ethnic Greeks in Albania, but most western estimates are around 200,000 mark (although EEN puts the number at a probable 100,000). The Albanian government puts the number at only 24,243.” The CIA World Factbook estimates the Greek minority at 0.9% of the total population and the US State Department uses 1.17% for Greeks and 0.23% for other minorities. However, the latter questions the validity of the data about the Greek minority, due to the fact that measurements have been affected by boycott.

According to the 2011 census the population of Albania declared the following ethnic affiliation: Albanians 2,312,356 (82.6% of the total), Greeks 24,243 (0.9%), Macedonians 5,512 (0.2%), Montenegrins 366 (0.01%), Aromanians 8,266 (0.30%), Romani 8,301 (0.3%), Balkan Egyptians 3,368 (0.1%), other ethnicities 2,644 (0.1%), no declared ethnicity 390,938 (14.0%), and not relevant 44,144 (1.6%).

Macedonian and some Greek minority groups have sharply criticized Article 20 of the Census law, according to which a $1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone who will declare an ethnicity other than what is stated on his or her birth certificate. This is claimed to be an attempt to intimidate minorities into declaring Albanian ethnicity, according to them the Albanian government has stated that it will jail anyone who does not participate in the census or refuse to declare his or her ethnicity. Genc Pollo, the minister in charge has declared that: “Albanian citizens will be able to freely express their ethnic and religious affiliation and mother tongue. However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions”. The amendments criticized do not include jailing or forced declaration of ethnicity or religion; only a fine is envisioned which can be overthrown by court.

Greek representatives form part of the Albanian parliament and the government has invited Albanian Greeks to register, as the only way to improve their status. On the other hand, nationalists, various intellectuals organizations and political parties in Albania have expressed their concern that the census might artificially increase the number of Greek minority, which might be then exploited by Greece to threaten Albania’s territorial integrity.

Language

Main articles: Albanian language and Languages of Albania
 

Albanian is the official language of Albania. Its standard spoken and written form is revised and merged from the two main dialects, Gheg and Tosk, though it is notably based more on the Tosk dialect. Shkumbin river is the rough dividing line between the two dialects. Also a dialect of Greek that preserves features now lost in standard modern Greek is spoken in areas inhabited by the Greek minority. Other languages spoken by ethnic minorities in Albania include Vlach, Serbian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Gorani, and Roma. Macedonian is official in the Pustec Municipality in East Albania.

Albanians are considered a polyglot nation and people. Due to immigration and past colonialism, Albanians generally speak more than 2 languages. English, Italian and Greek are by far the most widely spoken foreign languages, which are increasing due to migration return, and new Greek and Italian communities in the country. La Francophonie states 320,000 French speakers can be found in Albania. Other spoken languages include Serbian, Romanian, German, Turkish and Aromanian. Albanians in neighbouring Kosovo and Macedonia are often fluent in Albanian and Serbian, Turkish, Slavic Macedonian, and other former Yugoslav languages.

According to the 2011 population census, 2,765,610 or 98.767% of the population declared Albanian as their mother tongue (“mother tongue is defined as the first or main language spoken at home during childhood”).

Religion

Main articles: Religion in Albania, Freedom of religion in Albania, Islam in Albania, Christianity in Albania, and Judaism in Albania

According to the 2011 census, 58.79% of Albania adheres to Islam, making it the largest religion in the country; Christianity is practiced by 17.06% of the population, and 24.29% of the total population is either non-religious, belongs to other religious groups, or are ‘undeclared’. Both the Albanian Orthodox church and the Bektashi Sufi order refused to recognize the 2011 census results regarding faith, with the Orthodox claiming that 24% of the total population are Albanian Orthodox Christians rather than just 6.75%. Before World War II, 70% of the population were Muslims, 20% Eastern Orthodox, and 10% Roman Catholics. According to a 2010 survey, religion today plays an important role in the lives of only 39% of Albanians, and Albania is ranked among the least religious countries in the world. A 2012 Pew Research Center study found that 65% of Albanian Muslims are non-denominational Muslims.

The Albanians first appeared in the historical record in Byzantine sources of the late 11th century. At this point, they were already fully Christianized. Islam came for the first time in the 9th century to the region which is known as Albania today. It later emerged as the majority religion during the centuries of Ottoman rule, though a significant Christian minority remained. After independence (1912) from the Ottoman Empire, the Albanian republican, monarchic and later Communist regimes followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official functions and cultural life. Albania never had an official state religion either as a republic or as a kingdom. In the 20th century, the clergy of all faiths was weakened under the monarchy, and ultimately eradicated during the 1950s and 1960s, under the state policy of obliterating all organized religion from Albanian territories.

The Communist regime that took control of Albania after World War II persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions and entirely banned religion to the point where Albania was officially declared to be the world’s first atheist state. Religious freedom has returned to Albania since the regime’s change in 1992. Albania joined the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in 1992, following the fall of the communist government, but will not be attending the 2014 conference due a dispute regarding the fact that its parliament never ratified the country’s membership. Albanian Muslim populations (mainly secular and of the Sunni branch) are found throughout the country whereas Albanian Orthodox Christians as well as Bektashisare concentrated in the south and Roman Catholics are found in the north of the country.

The first recorded Albanian Protestant was Said Toptani, who traveled around Europe, and in 1853 returned to Tirana and preached Protestantism. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities in 1864. Mainline evangelical Protestants date back to the work of Congregational and later Methodist missionaries and the work of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the 19th century.

Albanian census 2011
         
Islam
  
56%
Undeclared
  
14%
Catholic Christianity
  
10%
Eastern Orthodox
  
7%
Others
  
5.5%
Atheism
  
2.5%
Bektashi Islam
  
2%
Other Christian
  
0.2%

The Evangelical Alliance, which is known as VUSh, was founded in 1892. Today VUSh has about 160 member congregations from different Protestant denominations. VUSh organizes marches in Tirana including one against blood feuds in 2010. Bibles are provided by the Interconfessional Bible Society of Albania. The first full Albanian Bible to be printed was the Filipaj translation printed in 1990.

Seventh-day Adventist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses also have a number of adherents in Albania.

Albania was the only country in Europe where Jewish population experienced growth during the Holocaust. After the mass emigration to Israel since the fall of Communist regime, only 200 Albanian Jews are left in the country today.

According to 2008 statistics from the religious communities in Albania, there are 1119 churches and 638 mosques in the country. The Roman Catholic mission declared 694 Catholic churches. The Christian Orthodox community, 425 Orthodox churches. The Muslim community, 568

Read on to this section to find-out about details of the nearest embassy of country or consulate of the country you want to visit. Apart from the office details, this section also includes the contact information and timings (for the visits).

New Delhi

Name:Embassy of the Republic of Albania

Address:B-2, West End Colony

City:New Delhi – 110 021

Country:India

Telephone:011- 4610 8285, 4059 1294

Fax:011- 4610 8285

Timings:Mon to Fri

Office Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Visa Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Email:embassy.delhi@mfa.gov.al, embassy.delhi@gmail.com

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

Collection Timings:0930 to 1630 hrs (Mon to Thu) & 0900 to 1400 hrs (Fri)

Mumbai

Name:Honorary Consulate General of Albania in Mumbai

Address:155 Maker Chamber 6, Nariman Point

City:Mumbai – 400 021

Country:India

Telephone:022- 2202 9011

Fax:022- 2204 6596

Email:hc@albaniamumbai.in

Notes:Visa is not handled.

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

Kolkata

Name:Honorary Consulate General of Albania in Kolkata

Address:4, Chowringhee Lane, Diamond Chamber, 8E, 8th Floor

City:Kolkata- 700 016

Country:India

Telephone:033- 4069 2151

Fax:033- 2289 5401

Timings:Mon to Fri

Office Timings:1000 to 1700 hrs.

Notes:Visa is not handled.

Territory Jurisdiction:No Territory Jurisdiction. All Passports are processed in New Delhi only.

  1. Original Passports with 6 months validity from date of travel, validity of passports for six months fro date of travel.Have at least two blank pages.
  2. Visa Application Form.
  3. 2 Photos 35 X 45mm, white background, matt finish 70% face size.
  4. Covering letter from applicant mentioning, personal, passport, travel and who will bear the expenses details.
  5. Confirm Air Tickets.
  6. Confirmed hotel reservation or accommodation certificate duly certified by the local authorities in Algeria or an invitation from an Algerian travel agency with itinerary.
  7. Original Bank statements for last 6 months with sufficient and healthy funds for the trip.

VISA FEES: Tourist visa for 30 days = INR 2800/-PP
Multiple Entry Visa for 90 days = INR 5800/-PP

SUBMISSION OF VISA APPLICATIONS – MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY ONLY.
COLLECTION OF VISA APPLICATIONS – WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.

*Note:

Visa Fee Subject to Change.

Although the information on this website has been prepared with utmost care. However, regulations and requirements are subject to change.

Embassy/Consulate reserves the right to ask for additional documents or personal appearance for an interview in special cases. Submission of the above-mentioned documents does not guarantee that a visa is granted. Submission of incomplete documentation or refusal to appear for a special visa interview may result in the rejection of your application