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In May and June , the International Gendarmerie was joined by Isa Boletini and his men, mostly from Kosovo , [74] and northern Mirdita Catholics, were defeated by the rebels who captured most of Central Albania by the end of August The short-lived principality — was succeeded by the first Albanian Republic — In the four-member Regency was abolished and Ahmed Zogu was elected president of the newly declared republic.

Tirana was endorsed officially as the country's permanent capital. Zogu was forced to adopt a policy of cooperation with Italy. A pact had been signed between Italy and Albania on 20 January whereby Italy gained a monopoly on shipping and trade concessions. The Albanian republic was eventually replaced by another monarchy in In order to extend his direct control throughout the entire country, Zogu placed great emphasis on the construction of roads.

Every male Albanian over the age of 16 years was legally bound to give ten days of free labor each year to the state. For example, in an attempt at social modernization, the custom of adding one's region to one's name was dropped. Zogu also made donations of land to international organisations for the building of schools and hospitals. The armed forces were trained and supervised by Italian instructors. As a counterweight, Zogu kept British officers in the Gendarmerie despite strong Italian pressure to remove them.

The kingdom was supported by the fascist regime in Italy and the two countries maintained close relations until Italy's sudden invasion of the country in After the Axis' invasion of Yugoslavia in April , territories of Yugoslavia with substantial Albanian population were annexed to Albania: The party at first had little mass appeal, and even its youth organization netted few recruits. After the capitulation of Italy in , Nazi Germany occupied Albania too.

The nationalist Balli Kombetar , which had fought against Italy, formed a "neutral" government in Tirana, and side by side with the Germans fought against the communist-led National Liberation Movement of Albania. The communist partisans had regrouped and gained control of much of southern Albania in January However, they were subject to German attacks driving them out of certain areas. By the last year in World War II Albania fell into a civil war-like state between the communists and nationalists.

The communist partisans however defeated the last Balli Kombëtar forces in southern Albania by mid-summer Before the end of November, the main German troops had withdrawn from Tirana , and the communists took control by attacking it. The partisans entirely liberated Albania from German occupation on 29 November By the end of the Second World War , the main military and political force of the nation, the Communist party sent forces to northern Albania against the nationalists to eliminate its rivals.

This event was the starting point of many other issues which took place during Enver Hoxha 's dictatorship. Class struggle was strictly applied, human freedom and human rights were denied. Many Kelmendi people fled, some were executed trying to cross the border. After the liberation of Albania from the Nazi occupation , the country became a Communist state. In , Albania's first railway line was completed, with the second one being completed eight months later.

New land reform laws were passed granting ownership of the land to the workers and peasants who tilled it. Agriculture became cooperative , and production increased significantly, leading to Albania's becoming agriculturally self-sufficient. By , illiteracy was eliminated among Albania's adult population. During this period, Albania became industrialized and saw rapid economic growth, as well as unprecedented progress in the areas of education and health care. The nation incurred large debts, first with Yugoslavia until , then the Soviet Union until , and China from the middle of the s.

Religious freedoms were severely curtailed during the communist regime, with all forms of worship being outlawed. In August , the Agrarian Reform Law meant that large swaths of property owned by religious groups mostly Islamic waqfs were nationalized, along with the estates of monasteries and dioceses. Many believers, along with the ulema and many priests , were arrested and executed.

In , a new Decree on Religious Communities required that all their activities be sanctioned by the state alone. After hundreds of mosques and dozens of Islamic libraries, containing priceless manuscripts, were destroyed, Enver Hoxha proclaimed Albania the "World's first atheist state " in A law banned all "fascist, religious, warmongerish, antisocialist activity and propaganda".

Preaching religion carried a three- to ten-year prison sentence. Nonetheless, many Albanians continued to practice their beliefs secretly. The Hoxha dictatorship's anti-religious policy attained its most fundamental legal and political expression a decade later: After the revolution of , reforms were made by the communist government in Subsequently, the People's Republic was dissolved and the 4th Albanian Republic was founded on 29 April The communists retained a stronghold in the Parliament , after popular support in the first multi-party elections in In March , amid liberalization policies resulting in economic collapse and social unrest, a new coalition led by the new Democratic Party took power after victory in the parliamentary elections of In the following years, much of the accumulated wealth of the country was invested in Ponzi pyramid banking schemes, which were widely supported by the government.

The schemes swept up somewhere between one sixth and one third of the Albanian population. The protests turned violent in February as government forces responded with fire. In March, the Police and Republican Guard deserted, leaving their armories open. These were promptly emptied by militias and criminal gangs. The resulting crisis caused a wave of evacuations of foreign nationals and of refugees.

The Socialist Party had won the previously mentioned parliamentary elections in June , and a degree of political stabilization followed.

In , the country was affected by the Kosovo War , which caused a great number of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo to seek refuge in Albania, although most ultimately returned to Kosovo. On 23 June , the eighth parliamentary elections took place, won by Edi Rama of the Socialist Party. During his tenure as 33rd Prime Minister , Albania has implemented numerous reforms focused on the modernizing the economy and democratizing of state institutions like the judiciary and law enforcement.

Additionally, unemployment has been steadily reduced to the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the Balkans. Albania was among the first southeastern European countries to join the Partnership for peace programme. Albania applied to join the European Union , becoming an official candidate for accession to the European Union in June Although Albania received candidate status for the European Union membership in based on its application , the European Union has twice rejected full membership.

Albania occupies the southwestern portion of the Balkan Peninsula. The country is located in Southeastern and Southern Europe , with Montenegro bordering to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south. The Mediterranean Sea make up the entire west border of Albania. Its territory covers 28, square kilometres 11, square miles. By territory, Albania is the 14th largest country in the mediterranean and the th largest country in the world.

The lowest natural point is the Adriatic Sea, at 0 metres 0. Despite its small size, Albania is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a wide variety of natural features including valleys, plains, canyons and caves. Topographically, the mountains run the length of the country from north to south; the Albanian Alps in the north, Sharr Mountains in the northeast, Skanderbeg Mountains in the center, Korab Mountains in the east, Pindus Mountains in the southeast and the Ceraunian Mountains in the southwest along the Albanian Riviera.

The hydrographic network of Albania includes several of the largest and most ancient bodies of fresh water in Southern Europe. Lake Ohrid in the southeast is shared with Macedonia and is one of the most ancient lakes in the world. Albania comprises a wide range of climatic conditions across its small territory and varied topography, although most of the country experiences mediterranean climate , characterised by mild winters and hot, dry summers.

Between the north and south, the west and east there can be a considerable difference in climate. In general, northern parts of the country are characterized by cold winters and cool summers, while the southern parts by predominantly mild wet winters and very hot, dry summers.

The highest temperature of The climate in the lowlands is typically mediterranean , while in the hinterlands it is continental. The warmest areas of the country are at the Adriatic and Ionian coast in the lowlands, where climate is profoundly affected by the sea.

The coldest parts of the country are at the northern and eastern hinterlands , where snowy forested climate is prevalent in the areas above 1, metres 4, feet above the Adriatic. Average summer temperatures are lower in the hinterlands than in the lowlands, but daily fluctuations are greater. The average precipitation in Albania is about 1, millimetres Snow falls regularly in winter in the interior of the country, particularly on the mountains in the north and east, including the Albanian Alps and Korab Mountains.

Moreover, snow also falls on the coastal areas in the southwest almost every winter such as in the Ceraunian Mountains , where it can lie even beyond March. Even though small in size, Albania is distinguished by exceptionally rich and varied biodiversity. The country falls within four terrestrial ecoregions of the Palearctic ecozone including the Illyrian deciduous forests , Balkan mixed forests , Pindus Mountains mixed forests and Dinaric Alpine mixed forests.

Albania has about 4, square kilometres 1, square miles of pasture land and 10, square kilometres 3, square miles of forest land, which is characteristically rich in flora. The coastal regions and lowlands have typical Mediterranean macchia vegetation, whereas oak forests and vegetation are found at higher elevations. Vast forests of pine , beech and fir are found on higher mountains such as in the Albanian Alps and Korab Mountains.

Alpine grasslands grow at elevations above 1, metres 5, feet. About 58 species of mammal and species of birds occur in the country. Gray wolves , red foxes , brown bears , wild boars and chamoises are few of the primary large mammals. There are some 91 globally threatened species found within the country, most notable amongst them the dalmatian pelican , pygmy cormorant and european sea sturgeon.

Albania had an outstanding performance in the Environmental Performance Index , ranking 23th out of countries in the world. Albania is a unitary state. Spanning a total surface area of 28, square kilometres 11, square miles , the country is divided into 12 counties with their own council and administration.

Until , the 12 counties were subdivided into 36 districts. The defunct municipalities are known as neighborhoods or villages. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.

The largest county in the country by population is Tirana with over , people, followed by Fier with over , people. The smallest county by population is Gjirokastër with over 70, people. The politics in the country operate under a framework laid out in the Constitution of Albania.

First in , Albania was constituted as a monarchy , briefly a republic in , then into a democratic monarchy in Succeeding, it became a socialist republic , until the restoration of capitalism and democracy , after the end of communism. Nowadays, Albania is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic in which the president serves as the head of state and the prime minister as the head of government.

The president is the head of state , commander-in-chief of the military and the representative of the unity of the Albanian people. The president has the power to guarantee observation of the constitution and all laws, exercise the duties of the parliament when it is not in session and appoints the prime minister.

The executive power is exercised by the head of government and the council of ministers , which make up the government. The parliament must give final approval of the composition of the cabinet. The prime minister is responsible for carrying out both foreign and domestic policies, directs and controls the activities of the ministries and other state organs. The parliament is the unicameral representative body of the citizens of Albania and is elected by the people to a four-year term on the basis of direct, universal, periodic and equal suffrage by secret ballot.

There are deputies in the parliament, which are elected through a party-list proportional representation system. The parliament has the power to decide the direction of domestic and foreign policy, approve or amend the constitution, declare war on another state, ratify or annul international treaties, elect the president, the supreme court , the attorney general and their deputies and control the activity of state radio and television, state news agency and other official information media.

The judicial system of Albania is a civil law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts. It is codified and based on the French law. Major institutions of the branch include the supreme court , constitutional court , court of appeal , and the administrative court.

Law enforcement in the country is primarily the responsibility of the Albanian Police. It is the main and largest state law enforcement agency in the country. It carries out nearly all general police duties including criminal investigation, patrol activity, traffic policing and border control. Foreign relations are conducted through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana. The current minister is Ditmir Bushati. Since the collapse of Communism in , Albania has extended its responsibilities and position in European and international affairs, supporting and establishing friendly relations with other nations around the world.

The main objectives of the Albanian foreign policy are the Accession of Albania to the European Union , the International recognition of Kosovo , the recognition of Expulsion of Cham Albanians , [] helping and protecting of the rights the Albanians in Montenegro , Macedonia , Greece , southern Serbia , Italy and the Albanian diaspora. Albania has a network of 40 foreign embassies and 46 diplomatic missions abroad. Albania has been a member of the United Nations since December Albania took on the membership of the United Nations Economic and Social Council from to and for the second time in Since , it has been extensively engaged with NATO, and has maintained its position as a stability factor and a strong ally of the United States and European Union in the troubled and divided region of the Balkans.

The Albanian Armed Forces are the military and paramilitary forces of Albania, under the President as supreme commander. In times of peace, the President's powers as a commander are executed through the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister. Albania has nocompulsory military service. Nowadays, military service is voluntary, with the age of 19 being the legal minimum age for the duty. Albania has committed to increase the participations in multinational operations. Albania reduced the number of active troops from 65, in to 14, in In the s, the country scrapped enormous amounts of obsolete hardware from China, such as tanks and SAM systems.

Increasing the military budget was one of the most important conditions for NATO integration. Military spending has generally been low. As of military spending was an estimated 1. The transition from a socialist planned economy to a capitalist mixed economy has been largely successful. The lek ALL is Albania's currency and is pegged at approximately ,51 lek per euro. Tirana and Durrës are the economic heart of Albania. Further, Tirana is the major centre for trade, banking and finance, transportation, advertising, legal services, accountancy, and insurance.

Major roads and railways run through Tirana and Durrës , connecting the north with the south and the west with the east. The economy is expected to expand in the near term, driven by a recovery in consumption and robust investments. Growth is projected to be 3. Agriculture in the country is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units. It remains a significant sector of the economy of Albania. One of the earliest farming sites in Europe has been found in the southeast of the country.

Albania produces significant amounts of fruits apples , olives , grapes , oranges , lemons , apricots , peaches , cherries , figs , sour cherries , plums , and strawberries , vegetables potatoes , tomatoes , maize , onions , and wheat , sugar beets , tobacco , meat , honey , dairy products , traditional medicine and aromatic plants. Further, the country is a worldwide significant producer of salvia , rosemary and yellow gentian. The World Bank and European Community economists report that, Albania's fishing industry has good potential to generate export earnings because prices in the nearby Greek and Italian markets are many times higher than those in the Albanian market.

The fish available off the coasts of the country are carp , trout , sea bream , mussels and crustaceans. Albania has one of Europe's longest histories of viticulture. The oldest found seeds in the region are 4, to 6, years old. The secondary sector of Albania have undergone many changes and diversification, since the collapse of the communist regime in the country.

It is very diversified, from electronics , manufacturing , [] textiles , to food , cement , mining , [] and energy. The Antea Cement plant in Fushë-Krujë is considered as one of the largest industrial greenfield investments in the country. Albania has the second largest oil deposits in the Balkan peninsula after Romania , and the largest oil reserves [] in Europe.

The Albpetrol company is owned by the Albanian state and monitors the state petroleum agreements in the country. The textile industry has seen an extensive expansion by approaching companies from the European Union EU in Albania.

Albania is a significant minerals producer and is ranked among the world's leading chromium producers and exporters. The service industry represents the fastest growing sector of the Albanian economy. A significant part of Albania's national income derives from tourism. In , it directly accounted for 8. Albania had only , visitors in , while in had an estimated 4.

In , tourism in summer increased by 25 percent in contrast the previous year, accouring to the country's tourism agency. The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea in the west of the country.

However, the Albanian Riviera in the southwest has the most scenic and pristine beaches, and is often called the pearl of the Albanian coast. Its coastline has a considerable length of kilometres miles. Some parts of this seaside are very clean ecologically, which represent in this prospective unexplored areas, which are very rare within the Mediterranean. Following the end of communism in Albania, the transportation has undergone significant changes in the past two decades, vastly modernizing the country's infrastructure.

Improvements to the road infrastructure, urban transport, and air travel have all led to a vast improvement in transportation. Currently there are three main motorways in Albania including the A1 , A2 and the A3. The A1 motorway represents a major west—east transportation corridor in Albania, connecting the country's second largest city Durrës to Pristina , the capital of Kosovo. The project was the largest and most expensive infrastructure road project undertaken in the country.

Two additional highways are currently under construction. The north-south corridor consists of SH1 and SH2 and makes up the Albanian portion of the Adriatic—Ionian motorway , a larger regional highway connecting Croatia in the north with Greece in the south, along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.

The busiest and largest seaport in the country is the Port of Durrës. As of [update] , the port ranks as one of the largest passenger ports on the Adriatic Sea , with annual passenger volume of approximately 1. Other seaports include Vlorë , Sarandë and Shëngjin. The ports serve an extensive system of ferries connecting numerous islands and coastal cities in addition to ferry lines to several cities in Croatia, Greece and Italy. The only international airport in the country is the Tirana International Airport.

It is the only port of entry for air travelers into the country. In , the Government of Albania reached an agreement with the airport to end its monopoly on flights, paving the way for the opening of an airport near Kukës in the north. The railways in the country are administered by the national railway company Hekurudha Shqiptare.

The railway system was extensively promoted by the totalitarian communist regime of dictator Enver Hoxha , during which time the use of private transport was effectively prohibited. Since the end of communism, there has been a considerable increase in car ownership and bus usage. The location of this railway, connecting the most populated urban areas in Albania, makes it an important economic development project.

Albania is mostly dependent on hydroelectricity. Further, there are two stations under construction, namely Banjë and Moglicë located in the Devoll River. Both are expected to be completed between and Albania has considerably large deposits of oil. It has the 10th largest oil reserves in europe and the 58th in the world. Although, Patos-Marinza , also located within the area, is the largest onshore oil field in europe.

Further, Albania and Croatia have discussed the possibility of jointly building a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkodër , close to the border with Montenegro , a plan that has gathered criticism from Montenegro due to seismicity in the area. With the political and economic changings in , human resources in sciences and technology have drastically decreased. During communism , the country was one of the world's most isolated and controlled countries, while installation and maintenance of a modern system of international and national telecommunications was precluded.

Callers previously needed operator assistance even to make domestic long-distance calls. Although, Internet is fast and inexpensive in comparison to the rest of Western Europe.

In , there were 1. Albania has an estimated media outlets, including 66 radio stations and 67 television stations , with 65 national and more than 50 cable television stations. Radio began officially in with the founding of Radio Televizioni Shqiptar , while television broadcasting began in The international service broadcasts radio programmes in Albanian including seven other languages through medium wave and short wave , using the theme from the song "Keputa një gjethe dafine" as its signature tune.

Following the end of communism in , a reorganization plan was announced that would extend the compulsory education program from eight to ten years. The following year, major economic and political crisis in Albania, and the ensuing breakdown of public order, plunged the school system into chaos. Widespread vandalism and extreme shortages of textbooks and supplies had a devastating effect on school operations, prompting Italy and other countries to provide material assistance. In the late , many schools were rebuilt or reconstructed, to improve learning conditions.

Most of the improvements have happened in the larger cities of the country especially in Tirana , Durrës and Shkodër. All educational programmes in Albania are regulated by the Ministry of Education and administered by local municipalities. Education is mostly supported by the state and is composed of three stages, primary education arsimi fillorë , secondary education arsimi i mesëm , and tertiary education arsimi universitarë. The academic year is very similar to the one in the United States , with classes starting in September or October and ending in June or July.

Albanian is the primary language of instruction in all public schools. Students must pass the graduation exams at the end of the 9th grade in order to continue their education. After the primary school, the general education is provided at the secondary schools.

Students get prepared for the Matura examination, allowing them to obtain their matura diploma, which grants admission to higher education. These institutions can be public or private, and may offer one, two or three levels of higher education depending on the institution.

The school life expectancy of Albania is 16 years, ranking 25th in the world. Albania has a universal health care system run by the Ministry of Health. According to the World Health Organization , Albania had the world's 55th best healthcare performance in The system has been in a steep decline since the collapse of communism in the country, but a process of modernization has been taking place since Demographic and Health Surveys completed a survey in April , detailing various health statistics in Albania, including male circumcision , abortion and more.

Albania has successfully eradicated diseases such as malaria. Life expectancy is estimated at Compared to other European countries, Albania has a relatively low rate of obesity, probably thanks to the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. The population of Albania, as defined by Institute of Statistics , was estimated in to be approximately 2,, The overall life expectancy at birth is The population of the country rose steadily from 2,5 million in until , when it peaked at 3.

The explanation for the recent population decrease is the fall of communism in Albania. It was marked by large economic mass emigration from Albania to Greece , Italy and the United States. The external migration was prohibited outright during the communism, while internal migration was quite limited, hence this was a new phenomenon. At least, , people left Albania during this period, about , of them settling in Greece.

It decreased particularly in the north and south, while it increased in the center within the cities of Tirana and Durrës. The three largest counties by population account for half of the total population. Issues of ethnicity are a delicate topic and subject to debate. Contrary to official statistics that show an over 97 per cent Albanian majority in the country, minority groups such as Greeks , Macedonians , Montenegrins , Roma and Aromanians have frequently disputed the official numbers, asserting a higher percentage of the country's population.

According to the disputed census, ethnic affiliation was as follows: Albania recognizes nine national or cultural minorities: The estimates vary between 60, and , ethnic Greeks in Albania. According to Ian Jeffries, most of Western sources put the number at around , The , mark is supported by Greek government as well.

The US State Department uses 1. 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. However, they are not forced to answer these sensitive questions".

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. Albanian is the official language of the Republic 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. The 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.

According to the population census, 2,, or Greek is the second most-spoken language in the country, with 0. Italian and French have had a stable interest, while Greek has lost most of the interest. The trends are linked with cultural and economic factors. The young people have shown a growing interest in German language in recent years. Some of them go to Germany for studying or various experiences.

Albania and Germany have agreements for cooperating in helping young people of the two countries know both cultures better. Young people, attracted by economic importance of Turkish investments and common values between the two nations, gain from cultural and academic collaboration of universities. Albania is a secular state without an official religion , with the freedom of religion being a constitutional right.

Orthodox and Bektashis are mostly found in the south, whereas Catholics mainly live in the north. Religious tolerance is one of the most important values of the tradition of the Albanians. It is widely accepted that Albanians generally value a peaceful coexistence among the believers of different religious communities in the country. During classical times , there are thought to have been about seventy Christian families in Durrës , as early as the time of the Apostles.

At this point, they were mostly Christianized. Islam arrived for the first time in the late 9th century to the region, when Arabs raided parts of the eastern banks of the Adriatic Sea.

During modern times , the Albanian republican, monarchic and later communist regimes followed a systematic policy of separating religion from official functions and cultural life. The country has never had an official 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 s and s, under the state policy of obliterating all organized religion from the territories of Albania.

The communist regime persecuted and suppressed religious observance and institutions and entirely banned religion. The country was then officially declared to be the world's first atheist state. Although, the country's religious freedom has returned, since the end of communism.

Islam survived communist era persecution and reemerged in the modern era as a practiced religion in Albania. Due to that, he was arrested and imprisoned by the Ottoman authorities in First evangelical Protestants appeared in the 19th century and the Evangelical Alliance was founded in Nowadays, it has member congregations from different Protestant denominations.

Albania was the only country in Europe where the Jewish population increased significantly during the Holocaust. Albania shares many symbols associated with its history, culture and belief. These include the colours red and black, animals such as the golden eagle living across the country, costumes such as the fustanella , plis and opinga which are worn to special events and celebrations, plants such as the olive and red poppy growing as well across the country.

The flag of Albania is a red flag with a black double-headed eagle in the centre. The red colour symbolizes the bravery, strength and valour of the Albanian people and the black colour appears as a symbol of freedom and heroism. Moreover, the eagle has been used by Albanians since the Middle Ages including the establishment of the Principality of Arbër and by numerous noble ruling families such as the Kastrioti , Muzaka , Thopia and Dukagjini.

Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu , who fought and began a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire which halted Ottoman advance into Europe for nearly 25 years, placed the double-headed eagle on his flag and seal. The country's national motto, Ti Shqipëri, më jep nder, më jep emrin Shqipëtar , finds its origins in the early 19th century. The first to express this motto was Naim Frashëri in his poem Ti Shqipëri më jep nder.

The duart e kryqëzuara , also referred to as the eagle gesture, is a gesture performed particularly by the Albanian people around the world in order to visually illustrate the double-headed eagle, the symbol of Albania.

Albanian cuisine has evolved over the centuries and has been strongly influenced by the geography and history of Albania. Previously home to the Illyrians and Ancient Greeks and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Byzantines , Ottomans and most recently the Italians , it has borrowed elements and styles from those cultures.

The cooking traditions vary especially between the north and the south, due to differing topography and climate , that provides excellent growth conditions for various herbs , vegetables and fruits. Albanians uses a wide range of ingredients, including a wider availability of vegetables such as beans , tomatoes , peppers , potatoes , onions and garlics , as well as cereals such as wheat , corn and rye.

Herbs and spices include oregano , mint , lavender and basil. Widely used meat varieties are lamb , beef , veal , chicken and other poultry and pork. Seafood specialities are particularly popular along the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea Coasts in the west. Tavë Kosi is a national dish and is prepared with baked lamb as well as eggs and yogurt, while garlic, oregano and other herbs can be added as well. Petulla, a traditionally fried dough made from wheat or buckwheat flour , is as well a popular speciality and is served with powdered sugar or feta cheese and fruit jams.

Another dish, called Fërgese, is a vegetarian dish made of green and red peppers along with skinned tomatoes and onions; it often served as a side dish to meat dishes. Also, popular is Flia , consisting of multiple crepe-like layers brushed with cream and served with sour cream. Krofne, similar to Berliner Pfannkuchen , are filled with jam, marmalade chocolate and often eaten during the cold winter months.

Desserts include Walnut Stuffed Figs that is made of walnuts or candied walnuts and fig syrup. Although fig is an important agricultural product of Albania. Bakllavë is also a widely consumed dessert and traditionally eaten during Christmas , Easter and Ramadan. Tea is enjoyed both at home or outside at cafés, bars or restaurants. Çaj Mali is enormously beloved and is part of a daily routine for most of the Albanians.

It is cultivated around the south of Albania and noted for its medicinal properties. Black tea with a slice of lemon and sugar, milk or honey is also a popular type of tea. Withal, coffee is by far one of the most consumed beverages in Albania, with several types of filter and instant coffee.

Drinking coffee is very much a part of the people's lifestyle. Wine drinking is popular throughout the Albanians. The country has a long and ancient history of wine production, as it belongs to the old world of wine producing countries. The architecture of Albania reflects the legacy of various civilizations tracing back to the classical antiquity. Major cities in Albania have evolved from within the castle to include dwellings, religious and commercial structures, with constant redesigning of town squares and evolution of building techniques.

Nowadays, the cities and towns reflect a whole spectrum of various architectural styles. In the 20th century, many historical as well as sacred buildings bearing the ancient influence were demolished during the communism. Considering the long period of rule of the Byzantine Empire , they introduced castles, citadels, churches and monasteries with spectacular wealth of visible murals and frescos.

Perhaps the best known examples can be found in the southern Albanian cities and surroundigs of Korçë , Berat , Voskopojë and Gjirokastër. Involving the introduction of Ottoman architecture there was a development of mosques and other Islamic buildings, particularly seen in Berat and Gjirokastër. A productive period of Historicism , Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism merged into the 19th century, best exemplified in Korçë.

The 20th century brought new architectural styles such as the modern Italian style , which is present in Tirana such as the Skanderbeg Square and Ministries. It is also present in Shkodër, Vlorë , Sarandë and Durrës. Moreover, other towns received their present-day Albania-unique appearance through various cultural or economic influences. Socialist classicism arrived during the communism in Albania after the Second World War.

At this period many socialist-styled complexes, wide roads and factories were constructed, while town squares were redesigned and numerous of historic and important buildings demolished. These include the ancient remains of Butrint and the medieval Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastër. The Albanian folk music is a prominent section of the national identity and continues to play a major part in Albanian music.

Although, it can be divided into two stylistic groups, as performed by the northern Ghegs and southern Labs and Tosks. The northern and southern traditions are contrasted by the rugged tone of the north and the relaxed form of the south. Many of the songs are about events from history and culture , including the traditional themes about honour, hospitality, treachery and revenge.

He was nominated for the Grammy Award. Every cultural and geographical region of Albania has its own specific variety of costume that vary in style, material, color, shape, detail and form. Some conservative old men and women mainly from the high northern as well as southern regions and wear traditional clothing in their daily lives. The clothing was made mainly of products from the local agriculture and livestock such as leather, wool, linen, hemp fiber and silk.

Nowadays, the traditional textiles are still embroidered in very collaborate ancient patterns. The visual arts tradition of Albania has been shaped by the many cultures, which have flourished on its territory. Once the Byzantines , the Ottomans ruled over Albania for nearly five centuries, which greatly affected the country's artwork and artistic forms. After Albania's joining with the Ottoman Empire in , Ottoman influenced art forms such as mosaic and mural paintings became prevalent and no real artistic change occurred until the independence in Following mosaics and murals from Antiquity and the Middle Ages , the first paintings were icons Byzantine traditions.

Albanian earliest icons date from the late 13th century and generally estimated that their artistic peak reached in the 18th century. Among the most prominent representatives of the Albanian iconographic art were Onufri and David Selenica. The museums of Berat , Korçë and Tirana houses good collections remaining icons. By the end of the Ottoman rule, the painting was limited mostly to folk art and ornate mosques.

Albanian artists continue to move art forward, while their art still remains distinctively Albanian in content. Though among Albanian artist post-modernism was fairly recently introduced, there is a number of artists and works known internationally. The Albanian language comprises its own branch of the Indo-European language family. The language is considered an isolate within the Indo-European. The only other languages that are the sole surviving member of a branch of Indo-European are Armenian and Greek.

Albanian is often held to be related to the Illyrian languages , a language spoken in the Balkans during classical times. Scholars argue that Albanian derives from Illyrian [] while some others [] claim that it derives from Daco - Thracian. Illyrian and Daco-Thracian, however, might have been closely related languages; see Thraco-Illyrian.

The cultural renaissance was first of all expressed through the development of the Albanian language in the area of church texts and publications, mainly of the Catholic region in the northern of Albania, but also of the Orthodox in the south.

The Protestant reforms invigorated hopes for the development of the local language and literary tradition, when cleric Gjon Buzuku brought into the Albanian language the Catholic liturgy , trying to do for the Albanian language, what Martin Luther did for the German language. Meshari The Missal written by Gjon Buzuku was published in and is considered as one of the first literary work of written Albanian during the Middle Ages.

The refined level of the language and the stabilised orthography must be the result of an earlier tradition of written Albanian, a tradition that is not well understood.

However, there is some fragmented evidence, pre-dating Buzuku, which indicates that Albanian was written from at least the 14th century. Other significant examples include: Albanian writings from these centuries must not have been religious texts only, but historical chronicles too. They are mentioned by the humanist Marin Barleti , who in his book Siege of Shkodër Rrethimi i Shkodrës from , confirms that he leafed through such chronicles written in the language of the people in vernacula lingua as well as his famous biography of Skanderbeg Historia de vita et gestis Scanderbegi Epirotarum principis History of Skanderbeg from The History of Skanderbeg is still the foundation of Skanderbeg studies and is considered an Albanian cultural treasure, vital to the formation of Albanian national self-consciousness.

During the 16th and the 17th centuries, the catechism E mbësuame krishterë Christian Teachings from written by Lekë Matrënga , Doktrina e krishterë The Christian Doctrine from and Rituale romanum by Pjetër Budi , the first writer of original Albanian prose and poetry, an apology for George Castriot by Frang Bardhi , who also published a dictionary and folklore creations, the theological-philosophical treaty Cuneus Prophetarum The Band of Prophets by Pjetër Bogdani , the most universal personality of Albanian Middle Ages , were published in Albanian.

The most famous Albanian writer in the 20th and 21st century is probably Ismail Kadare. He has been mentioned as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature several times.

Cinematography became popular in the 20th century, when foreign films and documentaries were shown in the cities of Shkodër and Korçë. The first Albanian films were mostly documentaries ; the first was about the Monastir Congress that sanctioned the Albanian alphabet in During communism, the Albanian Film Institute that later became known as Kinostudio Shqipëria e Re was founded with Soviet assistance, focusing mostly on propaganda of wartime struggles.

After , the communist government founded the Kinostudio Shqipëria e Re in This was followed by the first Albanian epic film , the Great Warrior Skanderbeg , a cooperation with Soviet artists chronicling the life and fight of the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg.

By , about movies had been produced, and Albania had over theaters. With the economic transition after the collapse of communism in the s, the Kinostudio was broken up and privatised. A new National Center of Cinematography was established, while cities built modern cinema theatres showing mostly American movies. The Tirana International Film Festival was established in and has become the premier and largest film festival in the country as well as in the Balkans.

Durrës hosts the International Film Summerfest of Durrës , the second largest international film festival in the country which takes place every year in late August or early September in Durrës Amphitheatre. Albania participated at the Olympic Games in for the first time. The country made their Winter Olympic Games debut in Albania missed the next four games, two of them due to the and boycotts, but returned for the games in Barcelona.

Since then, Albania have participated in all games. Albania normally competes in events that include swimming, athletics, weightlifting, shooting and wrestling. The country have been represented by the National Olympic Committee of Albania since The nation has participated at the Mediterranean Games since the games of in Syria.

The Albanian athletes have won a total of 43 8 gold, 17 silver and 18 bronze medals from to Football is by far the most popular sport in Albania. It is governed by the Football Association of Albania Albanian: Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit , F. Football arrived in Albania early in the 20th century when the inhabitants of the northern city of Shkodër were surprised to see a strange game being played by students at a Christian mission.

Albania scored their first ever goal in a major tournament and secured their first ever win in European Championship when they beat Romania by 1—0 in a UEFA Euro match on 19 June Weightlifting is one of the most successful individual sport for the Albanians, with the national team winning medals at the European Weightlifting Championships and the rest international competitions.

Albanian weightlifters have won a total of 16 medals at the European Championships with 1 of them being gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze. In the World Weightlifting Championships , the Albanian weightlifting team has won in a gold in a silver and in a bronze medal.

Historically, the Albanian people have established several communities in many regions throughout Southern Europe. The Albanian diaspora has been largely formed during the early Middle Ages , when they emigrated to Italy , especially in Sicily and Calabria , but as well as to Greece to escape either various socio-political difficulties and the Ottoman conquest of Albania. Albanian minorities are present in the neighboring countries of Macedonia , Montenegro and Serbia.

In Kosovo , Albanians makes up the largest ethnic group in the country. Altogether, the number of ethnic Albanian living abroad its territory is estimated to be higher than the total population inside the territory of Albania.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Winnipeg Foundation has announced the results of Vital Signs, a project that identified significant needs and trends by combining research with the results of surveys, in which community members provided insights on issue areas critical to quality of life in Winnipeg. The Government of Manitoba has announced annual increases to the operating grant for licensed, home based child care providers to help recruit new and strengthen the stability of existing home based providers.

Turnover is high in the sector and the number of licensed homes has been decreasing annually for years. For example, there were licensed homes in Manitoba a decade ago and there are currently licensed homes. News Release on Operating Grant Increase. The licensed homes with unfunded spaces likely opted out of the grant so they could set their own parent fees. As of March 31, there were 34, licensed spaces in Manitoba of which 31, were in licensed child care centres and 3, were in licensed homes.

Most recent data reports that in March , Home child care providers are required to complete a 40 hour orientation course in their first year of licensing, however some are also Early Childhood Educators. MCCA is now accepting registrations for the fall workshops! There will be a professional development day in The Pas on Saturday, November 4 and a professional development day in Beausejour on Saturday, November 18, Details in the workshop brochure!

The focus for the province will be on more spaces for infants and pre-schoolers, and better access for vulnerable children, and for under-served populations including Newcomer families and Acadian and French speaking communities.

There is some funding directed towards professional training for Early Childhood Educators with the aim of improving quality. It is very similar to PEI, with a focus on spaces for preschoolers, implementing inclusion policy, developing guidelines for language acquisition and cultural identify, and increase professional learning for early childhood educators. New Brunswick Action Plan. Manitoba signed on to the child care multi-lateral agreement with Ottawa but has not yet completed a bi-lateral.

Joint affiliate letter to Duclos. Federal Brief on Child Care. All agree the shortage of spaces is a serious issue. That is an increase of 1, in Online Child Care Registry, July Manitoba has not yet announced how they plan to invest the federal funds for child care. Along with an expansion of affordable and reliable licensed spaces, the child care plan must ensure parent fees remain affordable, care is of high quality and fosters early learning. Statistics Canada has released the third round of data from the Census of Population.

It provides some insights on families, households, marital status, and language. Focus on Geography Series, Census. Previous census data from provides some information about child care utilization and preferences including:. Results from the General Social Survey X.

Visit their website to access your online copy of Interaction magazine in the members only area:. The Government of Manitoba has announced it will be reversing the hold it placed on the Inclusion Support Program. Province quickly reverses move to deny funding for children with special needs, Winnipeg Free Press, June 27, We welcome the news that all pending applications that meet the criteria will be supported, and thank Minister Fielding for hearing the concerns from the public.

Our recommendations are outlined in this letter: Minister Fielding letter June 29, Child care facilities must provide inclusive programming and ensure individual program plans are in place for children with additional support needs. As of the end of the fiscal year, 1, children were being supported. Minister of Families, Hon. Premier of Manitoba, Hon.

Nahanni Fontaine, Opposition Critic for Families: Click here to find contact information for your MLA. Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Ministers have signed an agreement that includes a long term vision, principles, and objectives that will help child care move forward. MCCA continues to recommend the need for a Ministers Advisory Committee on Early Learning and Child Care to ensure the development of a collaborative, comprehensive, strategic, affordable, and inclusive early learning and child care system that reflects the priorities and preferences of Manitobans.

Manitoba must next sign a bi-lateral agreement with the Government of Manitoba that identifies local priorities for the new federal funds. Premier Pallister letter Aug 3, Read more about it here: A new statement from the Canadian Paediatric Society CPS recommends that physicians and health care providers counsel parents and caregivers of young children on how to minimize screen time and mitigate its potential negative effects.

The CPS also recommends that physicians guide parents on how to mindfully use and model healthy screen use to encourage positive habits. Parent resource — Screen time and young children. Welcome to our new board of directors! Director of Branch Services: As of March 31, there are 16, children registered and waiting for a space in a licensed child care facility in Manitoba. Of those, 9, need care within three months, to June 30, The majority need space in Winnipeg, however there all child care waiting lists all over the province.

Online Child Care Registry Statistics: The Government of Manitoba continues to promise a long range plan for child care. Since being elected in April , it has made 2 announcement:.

Funds are for new non-profit child care centres or renovations to existing centres for the purposes of adding new child care spaces. March 9, news release. As of December 31, there are 14, children on the online child care registry waiting list. At the end of the fiscal year, there were 1, unfunded non profit spaces in centres, most of which are probably still waiting for funding approval. Child Care Association MCCA is expecting provincial budget to include a strong, multi-pronged, progressive plan to improve and enhance early learning and child care in Manitoba.

At the end of the fiscal year there were 31, spaces in licensed child care centres and 3, spaces in licensed home child care. As of December 31, there were 14, children on the online child care registry waiting list.

The Government of Manitoba should base their child care plan on the research that identifies the key issues, and the preferences and priorities of parents who say that:. The best child care plan will address access, affordability, funding, quality of care and learning, recruitment and retention of early childhood educators, governance and administration.

The money is now on the table, but there are other hoops to jump through before investments can begin. Provinces and territories must sign multi-lateral agreements with the federal government before the funds will be released. Once the multi-laterals are signed the federal government will have to negotiate bi-lateral agreements with each of the provinces and territories.

Multi-year funding hinges on these agreements being executed. At that time, Manitoba agreed to invest federal funding in capital and operations, subsidy for fees, wage enhancements, professional development, and parent information and resources. There are current 14, children on the online child care registry waiting list in Manitoba, so an announcement that adds new spaces is very welcome.

Manitoba News Release Mar 9, As the provincial government prepares its budget, the Manitoba Child Care Association wants the child care plan to reflect public, parent, and business leader opinions. They used the job descriptions in the Human Resource Management Guide for Early Learning and Child Care Programs and recommended salary ranges competitive with other jobs that require similar training and responsibility.

The MCSGS provides employers with a guideline for establishing fair compensation, and a logical structure that ensures equity between positions. Respondents reported they have on average Level 1 is the salary scale minimum. It is appropriate for someone who meets the educational requirements but lacks the required experience and some of the necessary skills. Level 5 is the salary scale maximum and is the end of the scale.

It is appropriate for someone who meets the educational requirements, and is fully proficient in the job. Increments are earned based on length of service, high quality performance, or both, depending on the policies of the centre board. The board of directors of each child care centre is responsible for determining compensation for their employees. MCCA recommends the boards of directors adopt the current or most affordable salary guideline scale as the minimum salary range for all employees, and to compensate all employees at a level appropriate to their educational credentials and years of experience.

The board of directors or centre administrator will find the MCSGS helpful when establishing a fair wage scale for employees, when budgeting, and also when trying to recruit new employees.

Please describe why you are interested in joining the MCCA Board of Directors and what you feel you will contribute to the position you are applying for. What are the three most critical issues facing child care in Manitoba right now?

Please explain your previous experiences on other boards or committees for not for profit organizations. Please identify the experiences, knowledge, and perspectives you would bring to MCCA. Please choose all that apply. If elected to the Manitoba Child Care Association board of directors, I agreed to be truthful, credible, ethical, lawful, and professional and do nothing to violate the trust of other volunteers and MCCA members.

There are two year and one year positions open. The term of office will begin immediately following the AGM. Successful applicants will have an extensive knowledge of child care as a service and as a profession at the local, provincial, and national level, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to objectively consider various perspectives, and 4 — 6 hours per month to devote to MCCA business.

We welcome applications from members who have a diverse range of experiences in and knowledge of the early learning and child care sector, and who will work collaboratively with federal and provincial government leaders. Resolutions are formal expressions of views that identify a problem or issue or contain a directive for action.

All MCCA members can recommend issues for consideration by the Board of Directors and have the opportunity to shape the direction and priorities of the organization through the presentation of resolutions.

Click here to read the full report:. With 15, children on the online registry wait list, Manitoba needs a plan to ensure every child who needs a licensed space gets one. Along with new spaces, there must also be a human resource development and expansion strategy to ensure enough ECEs are available to meet licensing requirements for proportion of trained staff.

On average, for each 10 new spaces licensed in a child care centre, there must be 1 ECE available to hire. The strategy must include market competitive wages reflective of level of certification and experience, along with province wide access to post-secondary ECE programs articulated into degree granting programs.

The Canadian Child Care Federation has provided an interactive resource as a call to action on child care. Winnipeg toddler suffers chemical burns at unlicensed day care. A license is required when the provider has more than 4 children under the age of 12, including no more than two children under the age of two, including the caregivers own children.

If more than 4 children receive care, the home must become licensed. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by the public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

Families share child care wait-list nightmares. How child care costs compare in Canada hint: The Manitoba Government is holding pre-budget consultations right now, so parents frustrated with child care wait times in our province need to speak up! Over individuals employed in child care centres and providing licensed child care in their home are eligible to participate.

This will be the most comprehensive survey ever conducted with the child care workforce in Manitoba. Questions included education and experience, compensation and benefits, working conditions, job satisfaction, plans for the future, etc. The information will be very helpful in identifying strengths, gaps, and priorities that need to be addressed in order to build a child care system that includes a skilled, fairly compensated, and stable child care workforce. This newly released report examines licensed home child care in Manitoba, including the features associated with quality of care experienced by children and parents as well as the job experience of the care providers.

The average number of children enrolled in a licensed family home was 7. Physical activity and sedentary behavior of Canadian children aged three to five. MCCA has engaged Probe Research to assist in the design, manage data collection, and to generate reports with the results.

The survey was open to those invited to participate from September 15 — 30, Over parents completed the survey and MCCA will report on the results later this year. This is the first scientific and most detailed survey ever conducted with Manitoba parents on the topic of child care. Parents with children currently enrolled in the child care centres and licensed family child care homes that are MCCA members. The parent survey will be open to qualified respondents from September 15 — 30, There is a question asking what parents look for when choosing a child care facility, and how confident they are about their ability to identify a high quality facility.

Parents will also be asked if child care should be considered part of the education system and also available in all new housing developments. These are the first scientific and most detailed surveys ever conducted in Manitoba, with a focus on those who know child care best — the parents who use the service and those who provide it.

The waiting list for a licensed child care space in Manitoba continues to grow to record high levels. As of June 30, , there are 15, children registered on the provincial wait list. These are individual children, meaning they are counted only once even if registered at multiple facilities.

Online Child Care Registry user statistics as of June 30, Winnipeg Free Press report on wait for child care at an all time high. CBC reports on need for child care action plan. Brandon Sun reports nearly 15, children on wait list for care. As of June 30, there are 15, children on the online registry waiting for a space in a licensed child care facility.

MCCA recommends parents start the search for child care as soon as the need is identified. The quality of care children receive matters so parents must choose carefully! Search for licensed child care in Manitoba. Parents may use unlicensed child care while waiting for a space in the centre or licensed child of their choice.

By law, a person can provide private home child care without a provincial license to a maximum of four children under age 12, including the caregivers own children and any other children living in the home. No more of these children can be under the age of 2.

For questions or concerns about child care, contact Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care at Check list to use when screening child care facilities. Click here to see a Government of Ontario publication that is available in 23 languages in addition to English.

Questions to ask your child care provider. Frustrated with the shortage of licensed child care in Manitoba? Contact information for Manitoba MLAs. Scott Fielding to tell him about our organization, our members, our government relations plan, and learn more about how he plans to implement his mandate letter from the Premier. Macleans magazine reports the bulk of new Canada Child Benefit will go toward middle-income families.

Who benefits most from the new Liberal child care benefit? Health Canada is advising Canadians to avoid using boric acid for arts and crafts projects, such as homemade slime, or modelling clay. The federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs are to develop agreements with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to fulfill election commitments on child care.

Scott Fielding with a briefing paper on how to improve early learning and child care in our province and will make a written submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance for the pre-budget consultation in advance of the budget.

We were pleased to hear his support for early learning and child care as an essential service, the need to continue to expand spaces to address the growing number of children reflected on the Online Child Care Registry, now 14, waiting for a space.

Of those 7, children are recorded as need a space withing a three month period. We raised a number of urgent issues with the Minister, including:. The Canadian Public Health Association calls on the Federal government to work with provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian early childhood education and care strategy that provides a common vision including:.

Read the full position statement: A recent media report quotes Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social services saying that a national strategy on child care is one of his priorities.

Child care, housing key priorities for families minister. We have the research, evidence, and a roadmap already in place. Help promote physical literacy by providing opportunities for children to run, jump, throw, climb, catch, and move! Visit the Fit Kids, Healthy Kids website for ideas, a list of games, programs brought right to your facility, training for staff, and more!

All that activity will create an appetite! Visit the Nutrition for Early Learning and Child Care website for a nutrition handbook, healthy eating posters, recipes, and fact sheets. Nutrition for Early Learning and Child Care. Read the full mandate letter to the Minister of Families.

Learn about social impact bonds. Quality child care is the backbone of all social programs that support families and the first tier of education for the 34, children able to access a licensed space.

There are currently more than 12, additional children registered on the online waiting list. Here are some activities that kept us busy in Olha Zablotski runs Parkside Child Care, a home based child care program. Laura Burla is the director of St. James-Assiniboia Montessori Association Inc. Both recipients received Certificates of Achievement. It is included in an E-Book published by the University of Manitoba Press, along with a team of 26 other experts — academics, policy analysts, and journalists — who also provided insight on a variety of other election related topics and issues.

Understanding the Manitoba Election Their online magazine, Interaction, is now available online. Log in here if you are not yet registered. You will be asked for your MCCA membership number and your email address. Pallister Administration Sworn In. A Resource for Kindergarten Teachers. It is available for free online or members may borrow it from the MCCA library. The print version is available to purchase through the Manitoba Texbook Bureau.

The support document provides Kindergarten teachers with a developmentally appropriate play-based approach to the Kindergarten curriculum. Of those, 7, require child care within three months of December 31, During the election campaign, the PC party said they would shorten the wait list for a child care space by focusing on home-based child care spaces. The average home child care operator is licensed for 6 children.

Approximately new home based child care programs will have to be licensed to accommodate the 12, children on the waiting list.

MCCA invites parents and the public to join with us in thanking them for their expertise, dedication, and loyalty to children and families.

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