Albania's History

Albania has been inhabited since the beginning of history with modern Albanians descending from the ancient civilisation of the Illyrians. Greeks established colonies along Albania’s Adriatic coast before the Romans arrived in 165BC; Julius Caesar using Albania as a base from which to subdue the surrounding areas. Barbarians overrun Albania several times from 461 and later Slavs arrived, but Roman/Byzantine rule lasted until 1460, seven years after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Ottoman rule ended in 1912 when they were driven from the Balkan Peninsula and the independent Principality of Albania was established. In 1928 King Zog had himself crowned and his attempts at modernising the country led to an Italian takeover in 1939. During WWII Communist groups took the place of retreating Germans in 1944 and Europe’s most repressive Communist dictatorship began under their paranoid leader Enver Hoxha. Communist rule ended in 1992 and the country joined NATO in 2009.

Our Pick

Albania travel attraction

Albania’s beach side resort city of Durrës is amongst the charms of a two day tour of Europe's sleepy, friendly backwater. European Country more info

Right Now

Communist rule in Albania attempted to stamp out all traces of its Muslim past turning religious buildings into gymnasiums and museums. Today 70% claim no religion. Albania’s insular economy had great difficulty adjusting to the free market with the population’s expectations of instant growth not materialising. Decades of isolation’s upside is the rugged beauty of Albania’s coastline makes it the best preserved stretch of the Adriatic. Few Western tourists venture to Albania but those who do visit, find a warm and friendly people, delicious cuisine and fascinating ancient and modern sites matched by untouched natural scenery at some of Europe’s cheapest prices.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player