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Look What Came From 

            Albania

Introduction - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3

Geography and Demographics - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - 6

Language - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8

National Symbolism - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10

Traditional Clothing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11

Literature - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12

Holidays - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  15

Sports - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 17

Music - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18

Cuisine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20

A Recipe from Albania - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 21

Conclusion

Table of Contents


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Although the true origin is not entirely known. Historians believe Albana's culture traces back to the ancient Illyrians. In fact, the origin of the name Albania comes directly from one of the Illyrian tribe known as Arber or Arbneshe, which were locate near current day Durres.

Most historians believe that Albanians are descendants of Illyrians, which established themselves in the western part of the Balkans. Even the name of Albania comes from the name of an Illyrian tribe, Arber. Albania  or Shqiperia means land of the  eagles. The first Albanian entity was established during the middle ages. Unfortunately, Albania was seen as valuable as it allowed access to Mediterranean Sea leading to constant attacks.  

Introduction

                          The Roman empire took over Illyrian territories around 229                                     B.C. and ruled for more than six centuries. After the fall of the Roman empire, Albania was attacked by several foreign powers such as Normans, Serbs etc until the fall under the rule of Ottoman Empire un 1388. Albanians consistently fought against the invader during many rebellions and were successful at driving them out for periods of times. In 1443, an Albanian military genius, Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeg - who is now one of the Albanian heroes -  rallied the Albanians together and freed the lands from the Turks for 25 years. Although occupied, the drive for independence was always strong and throughout the centuries, they fought at maintaining their culture, language and traditions.  In 1908 the Albanians were successful at gaining autonomy from the Turks and declared their independence at 1912. After WWII a cunning and ruthless communist leader, Enver Hoxha, became in charge. By the time Enver Hoxha died in 1985, Albania had become the poorest European country during the cold war. Finally, in 1990 riots exploded throughout the country toppled the statues of Enver Hoxha  and democracy was declared following democratic elections in 1991. Since then Albanians have been divided in their struggle to make sense of their dysfunctional democracy. 

Introduction - History 

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There is an estimated number of 6 million people living in Europe. Albania in itself has a population of 3,255,891. The rest lives in Kosovo (2,000,000), Montenegro (500,000) and Italy (100,000). Clusters of Albanians live throughout the worlds such as Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece etc. 

During communism era all religious communities were banned from practicing. After the collapse of the communist regime religious freedom returned and  the main religions are Muslims with approximately 60%, Roman Catholics 10%, Orthodox 7%, and the rest are unspecified. For the last two centuries, national (ethnic) identify was more important than religious identity.  

Albania has a total of 28,750 square kilometers of land, which is barely larger than Maryland.  70% of Albania is mountainous and the rest consists of coastal plains. The lowlands face the Adriatic and Ionian seas creating an beautiful coastline. Depending on elevation, the climate changes between high and low land. Highland is characterized by a Mediterranean continental climate and low land has Mediterranean weather.                              

Geography and Demographics

Valbone Valley

Rana e Hedhun Beach

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The Albanian language is an Indo-European language, which comes from the Illyric language. It has two major dialects - Geg (northern dialect) and Tosk (southern dialect). Although, the first Albanian document was written in 1462, the first standardization was 1920. 

The structure of the Albanian language is similar to other Indo-European languages. It contains 36 letters and sounds. Nouns have gender (e.g., masculine/feminine and at times neutral), number (e.g., plural/singular), and case (e.g., indefinite/definite). Depending on the gender of the noun, the adjective changes and has to agree with the noun on gender, number and case.

The verbs have their own complicated system. For instance, they have three persons, two number, ten tenses, two voices, and six moods.  

Language

All 36 letters of the Albanian alphabet.

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The most important symbol of Albania is the eagle. The eagle is a national symbol and is part of the flag. No one knows when it first started being used, but the first documented use of the eagle was in 1190. Albanians sometimes refers to themselves as "Son's of the Eagle". The two headed eagle symbolizes freedom, and heroism. 

Another national symbol of Albania is Gjergj Kastrioti Skenderbeg. When he was three years old, his royal family was killed by the Turks who were extending the Ottoman empire. Gjergj was taken hostage, raised and trained in the Ottoman court where he exceled, rose through the ranks and became a military commander for the Ottoman army. When he was 25 years old, he deserted the Ottomans and returned in his father's castle in Kruje. There he successfully rallied the Albanians against the Ottoman empire and succeeded for 25 years to protect the borders.

National Symbolism

Traditional Albanian clothing is very colorful and has many embroidered symbols. Symbols took inspiration from history such as the eagle. Traditional clothing were handmade on foot operated looms or hand woven with cotton wool and silk. There are over 200 traditional costumes that Albanians use. One example of traditional clothing for men is the fez (north) and pilious, (south) which is a cylinder hat. Others include brez, kapica etc. 

Foot-operated looms.

Traditional Clothing

Traditional Albanian shoes  for women are called kapica. Kapicas are slip-on shoes with a pointed toe at the end.

Albanian dancers wearing fez. 

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  1. The first Albanian text written by Theodor of Shkodra is a manuscript, which dates back in 12th century. 
  2. The renaissance era had many authors but one the most prominent one was  Martin Barleti who published "A History of Skenderbeg" in 1510. This book was translated into almost all the European language. Another well-known author is Gjon Buzuku who published "Meshari" in 1555. 
  3. The 17 and 18th centuries different works of philosophy, theology and philology were published by T. Kavaljoti, Dh. Haxhiu, G. Voskopojari as well as anonymous authors. 
  4. The 19th is known as the National Renaissance due to the efforts of keeping alive their a language of culture despite Ottoman's empire attempts to change it. The greatest representatives of Albanian Romanticism of 19th century are  Jeronin De Rada (1814–1903), Naim Frasheri (1846–1900) as well as the poets Ndre Mjeda and Andon Zako Cajupi, (1866-1930) who represents the end of the National Renaissance. 
  5. The Independence Period is represented by Gjergj Fishta (1871-1940) who wrote "Lahuta e Malesis"
  6. The socialism and contemporary period is represented by the most influential author, Ismail Kadare (1936 - present).

Literature 

Kadare is a great Albanian writer whose work is published in over 40 countries and translated into over 30 languages. For his work he was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in literature. He has received a lot of recognition and awards including Cino Del Duca World Prize etc and is a lifetime member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of France.

The London newspaper The Independent said of Kadare, "He has been compared to Gogol, Kafka and Orwell."

Ismail Kadare (1936-present)

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Rozafa Castle is a ruins of a castle built in 1478. It has inspired many stories in Albanian literature. The story of Rozafa Castle symbolizes sacrifice, social bonding, life and death, strength, weakness and wickedness of human nature. The legend tells the story of how the castle supposedly was built:  

There were three brothers trying to  build a castle, but what they build during the at it collapsed during the night. They met a clever old man who advised them to sacrifice someone so that the walls would stand. The three brothers found it difficult to decide whom to sacrifice. Finally, they decided to sacrifice one of their wives who would bring lunch to them the next day. So they agreed that whichever of their wives was the one to bring them lunch the next day was the one who would be buried in the wall of the castle. They also promised not to tell their wives of this. The two older brothers, however, explained the situation to their wives that night, while the honest youngest brother said nothing. It was a gamble of life or death. Rozafa, who was the wife who was going to be walled, was worried about her infant son, so she accepted being walled on the condition that:
"I plead when you wall me, leave my right eye, right hand and right foot exposed
For the sake of my newborn son so that when he starts crying
Let me see him with one eye, caress him with one hand, feed him with one breast and let me rock his cradle with one foot
May the castle breast be walled

May the castle rise strong
May my son be happy."

Rozafa Castle

Albanian holidays highlight important events of its history. One of the most important holidays is Independence Day. 

The day is celebrated by many concerts, raising the flag in Tirana, and visiting the cemetery of the national martyrs.

Albania was declared independent from the Ottoman Empire on November 28, 1912 in Vlore. 

Holidays

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Gjirokastër Festival

Gjirokastër happens once every five years on  for one week. It was first celebrated in 1968 at Gjirokastër Castle in Southern Albania. The festival holds traditional music and dances.

Holidays

The Summer Festival celebrates Zana, the goddess of hunting, forests and nature. This tradition celebrates the arrival of spring. The goddess Zana would come out of the shrine after her winter hibernation on March 14th.  

Summer Festival

Albania has a variety of sports that are enjoyed throughout its history. 

Albania has track runners who won many medals. One track runner is Luiza Gega (1988-present), who has won many medals in the world stage. For example she won second place in European Championships in 2016. She is as fast as a cheetah.

Weightlifting in Albania is a successful sport. Romela Begaj is a well known woman weightlifter who won gold in her league in 2017. 

Weightlifting

Track

Sports

Soccer or futboll in Albanian, is the most beloved sport in the country. Albania's National Futboll Team has been representing Albania since its conception in 1946, in which year they have won the Balkan Soccer cup. Although, Albania is a small country, its team has qualified for European Qualifiers. 

Soccer

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The best voices of contemporary Albanian music are those of Vace Zela and Nexhmije Pagarusha. The first one had a successful career in Tirana and the second one in Prishtina. Its only fair to admit that their success was never recognised internationally, but that does not take away anything from their greatness.

Inva Mula is an Albanian opera lyric soprano. She began her soprano career at a very early age. Her father and mother were also opera singers. She is also widely known in popular culture for providing the voice of the Diva Plavalaguna in the film The Fifth Element.

Albania's music is a vital part of its culture and history.

Northern and Southern Traditional music have a few distinct differences. Northern Albanian music is more of the 'epic adventure', while Southern Albania has a more calming music.

Traditional Folk Music

Contemporary Music

Classical Music

Music

Lahute

Traditional Albanian Instruments

Fyelli or Flute

Çiftelia 

Double Flute

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Albania has a delicious cuisine that is influenced by the neighboring countries. It is mostly Mediterranean food. Albanians raise many animals like chickens, duck, geese and turkeys. They also enjoy flounder a variety of fish such as perch, acme, sole, bronzino and gray mullet. A few of the most traditional recipes are shown below.

Petulla, byrek and pastice with feta cheese are personally my favorite Albanian foods. Petulla is fried dough offered with fresh honey. Byrek is a type of spanakopita. 

One of Albania's most famous Central dishes is fërgesë of Tirana. It is a fried appetizer that can be with meat or vegetarian.

Cuisine

First off, you will need all of the fallowing ingredients...

6 (six) eggs

2 cups of milk

Any type of pasta 

Feta cheese

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

A Recipe from Albania

Albania has many traditional recipes and this is one of my favorites.

#1 First you will need preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then boil your pasta until it's al dente, cooked but still firm.

Steps

#2 While the pasta is boiling, mix the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and oil in a baking pan. Next, sprinkle your desired amount of feta cheese on top.

And these utensils.

1 oven

1 pot

1 baking pan

1 wisk

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#3 Once the pasta is al dante, drain the water and mix it into the egg cheese mixture until it is completely covered.

You're done! Now you can either eat it right away or let it cool.

#4 Put the baking pan in the oven and let it bake for 45 minutes.

English                                Albanian                               How to say

Hello!                                 Pershendetje!


How are you?                     Si jeni?


How old are you?               Sa vjec jeni?


Where are you going?        Ku je tu shku?


What are you doing?          Ca je tu ba?


How to Say ...

Albania is a beautiful country which has wonderful food and culture