We have prepared some general information about Albania, from general and GLBT perspective as well. There are also some links and resouces listed for additional research... Travelers and natives are invited to share their experiences!
Local name: Republika e Shqipërisë
Capital city: Tirana
Language: Albanian, Greek
International codes: AL, ALB
Time zone: GMT+1 (CET)
Area: 28,748 sq km
Population: 3,544,841 (2002 estimate)
Government type: republic
Independence: since 1912
National holiday: November 28 (1912)
Ethnic groups: Albanian 95%, Greek 3%
Currency: lek (ALL)
GDP: USD 13.2 billion; USD 3,800 per capita (2001 estimates)
Religion: Muslim 70%, Albanian Orthodox 5%, Roman Catholic 2%
Border countries: Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Yugoslavia
Slightly larger than the U.S. State of Maryland, Albania is blessed with many natural resources, and yet the country is still considered very poor by European standards. In 1990, Albania ended 44 years of xenophobic communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as corrupt governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, a dilapidated infrastructure, widespread gangsterism, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged local elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies which should be addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code.
Homosexuality got decriminalised in 1995, and before that the highest penatly for homosexual intercourse was up to 10 years of imprisonment. Despite the legal basis of same-sex relationships, the Shoqata Gay Albania (SGA) and the newer Albanian Gay & Lesbian Association (ALGA) organisations still have a lot of work to do. Otherwise, the age of consent for heterosexuals is 16, while 18 goes for gays and lesbians.
Links and sources: