The Karavasta Lagoon is one of the largest lagoons in the Mediterranean Sea and is home to the Dalmatian Pelican, as well as over 250 bird, mammal, and amphibian species. Five percent of the world’s Dalmatian Pelican population is found in this lagoon.
Mother Teresa, whose given name was Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, was an ethnic Albanian. Mother Teresa’s work has inspired commemorations throughout Albania, including the name of Albania’s international airport: the Tirana Mother Theresa International Airport.
The second largest Roman Amphitheater in the Balkans is located in Albania’s port city of Durrës. Built in the 2nd century AD, the theater could hold 20,000 spectators, about one-sixth of the population of Durrës currently.
Two of the seven “purple codices” (the Purple Codex of Berat is a historic manuscript to early biblical literature) written from the sixth to the eighteenth centuries are preserved in the UNESCO city of Berat in Albania. The two Albanian codices are very important for the global community and the development of ancient biblical, liturgical and hagiographical literature.
Did you know that the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, Augustus, studied in Apollonia, near the city of Fier, in the year 44 BC?
The main legacy of the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti (George Castriota) Skanderbeg, was to stop the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in Western Europe. His contribution is commemorated in monuments, statues, and squares named after him in Rome , Vienna , Budapest , Paris , London , Geneva , Michigan , Skopje, Pristina, Spezzano , Piana degli Albanesi near Palermo and all Calabry region , and Brussels.
Did you know that the origins of iso-polyphony, one of the world’s most ancient acapella singing traditions, can be traced to the Illyrians, the ancestors of modern Albanians? The term “iso” refers to the droning tone, which accompanies the iso-polyphonic singing and is related to the “ison” of Byzantine church music, where the drone group accompanies the song. This unique musical tradition was recognized by UNESCO in 2005 when it was added to the list of “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
The Albanian language is a stand-alone branch of the Indo-European language family and is now spoken by close to eight million people around the world. In addition to a large diaspora, over 80,000 Arbëresh speak Albanian in southern Italy.
During the nearly forty-year leadership of Communist period, over 700,000 bunkers were built in the country – one for every four inhabitants. The bunkers are still a ubiquitous sight in Albania for visitors, with an average of twenty four bunkers for every square kilometer. Albania is maybe unique with its bunkers where some of them are decorated with bright colors.
Onufri or Onuphrios from Shpati near Elbasan is famous as the most important icon painter of 16th century in Albania. Even though he painted biblical and ecclesiastic motives according to the Byzantine canon, he had the merit to free himself from the strict patterns. In his works, he depicted Albanian landscapes, towns, peasants, shepherds and especially knights.