A map of Albania Albania lies on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. High, rugged mountains stretch across much of the country, from the Prokletije Alps in the north to the Korab range along the border with North Macedonia. Their slopes are covered by woodland and thick pine forests. Most of the country’s people live on the coastal plain. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild. Inland, the climate is continental with cooler and wetter conditions all year round. For much of the 20th century, Albania was cut off from the rest of Europe by its Communist government. Today it is a modern democracy, but remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.
The Albanian people are descendants of the ancient Illyrians, tribespeople who settled in the western Balkan Peninsula about 3000 years ago. Until the 20th century, people lived in family tribes or clans, separated from others by their country’s rugged, mountainous landscape. Today, although Albania is fast becoming more modern, most of its population people still live on farms in the countryside, in villages or small towns. Apart from the capital, Tirana (Tiranë), home to just under half a million people, there are few other sizable cities.
In Albanian, Albania’s name is Shqipëri, which means “Land of Eagles”.
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