Albania is a country in southeastern Europe along the Adriatic coast and the number 1 in the Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries for 2011. The country that mostly enjoys the pleasant Mediterranean climate is marked by dramatic landscape, spectacular ruins from Roman to medieval times, unspoiled beaches, excellent cuisine, unique culture and sincere hospitality. Albania is strikingly different than any other European country in every aspect and Albania tourist guide has become one of the most sought after items among both adventure and leisure travelers.
Albania‘s charm and its emergence as one of the hottest travel destinations can be attributed to its unique history and culture. The Albanians trace their roots to the ancient Illyrians who lived in the western Balkans before the arrival of both the Romans and Slavic peoples, while their language is believed to derive from Illyrian and is a European language isolate. Like most of the Balkans, Albania fell under the Ottoman rule in the second half of the 15th century who introduced Islam to the country. The Muslims represent the majority of the Albanian population but about one half of Albanians do not practice religion. The country also does not have a history of religious extremism, while interreligious marriages have been a common practice for many centuries.
The communist regime dominated by Enver Hoxha who led Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985 has left a deep mark on the country as it was virtually isolated from the rest of the world including other communist regimes in Europe. And the communist past is not seen only in Stalinist-type buildings but in thousands of defense bunkers that have been built between the 1950′s and 1970′s on virtually every hillside. These bunkers that have been abandoned after the fall of communism in 1990′s catch the eye of every first time visitor to Albania but the country offers so much more.
Albania is not isolated from the rest of the world for quite some time but it has retained its unique character that makes it distinctly Albanian as the Lonely Planet observes. If you would like to travel to really unique place, you will not regret if choosing Albania because it truly offers an unforgettable experience.
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