|| issue 2, year XV, 2008
N. E. MR. BUJAR SKENDO AMBASSADOR OF ALBANIA TO BULGARIA BEFORE "EUROPE 2001" MAGAZINE
Interview by Valentin Kostov
ALBANIA - A STATISTIC PORTRAIT
By materials of the foreign press
REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA AND REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA
Verification of direction "Europe I" of the MFA
The diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Albania were settled in April 1914. From the beginning of the 60s the embassies of the two countries have been governed temporally. The main base for developing the relations between the two countries is the Treaty for friendship and cooperation, which they signed.
The relations between Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Albania have tended to improve for the last few years. The contacts are held on the highest level.
THE MYSTERY OF THE CENTURIES
According to one of the theories about the name Albania, it is said to come from the Latin word - "albus" - means "white" and it is due to the everlasting white caps on the mountain peaks.
The name "albanos" and the name "Albanon" are saved in the Byzantium monuments.
In Bulgaria what is known about Albania is still very slight, although our countries had lots of common points through the centuries; we had lived over the 500 years under Ottoman slavery. Our nations are also alike; they are proud and hard-working. One excursion in this not so big country can reveal to the foreigners amazing pictures. The high alpine peaks are a symbol of the virgin nature in the north part of Albania.
The undoubted beauty of this country is the Adriatic Sea. It is spread over 200 km from the Lake of Shkodra to the bay of Vliora .
THE ECONOMY OF ALBANIA
By materials of AP, AF, Reuters, the website
of President of Albania
At the end of the past century Republic of Albania begins a comprehensive program of reforms in the economy of the country. After the beginning of the trade reforms the country has difficulties during the transition, which have led to sharp economical reduction, followed by lay off and poverty.
The country is still living over the difficulties and still counts on the thousands Albanians working abroad, who support their families that way. Even though the Albanian economy is growing, there still are a lot of obstacles and this means that in near future the country will probably not manage to stop the brain drain. Opening of new working places and improving of the live standard are necessary to prevent emigration.
In general, the conditions of life are getting better for the bigger part of the nation. The consumer stocks and public services are growing up fast, but the poverty still can be felt.
ALBANIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
Russana Beileri, University of Sofia "St. Climent Ohridski"
The Albanian language belongs to the Indo-European language family. It is the latest written language to ever bear witness in Europe. It contains two main dialects - Gegian and Toscian, spoken by the two main tribes in Albania. Over the centuries there were differences between them in the specific characteristics of the language, livelihood, material and spiritual culture and in the religion.
The Gegians from the north are connected with the Catholic Church, while the Toscins from the south were Orthodox and felt the powerful influence of Byzantium and in some periods the one of Bulgaria and Serbia, too.
The first book written and published in Albanian is a translation of a catholic liturgy from the priest Geon Buzuku, also known as Meshari.
Although this first monument of the Old-Albanian literature is a translation, it has big linguistic and mass cultural meaning.
WE LOOK VERY FAR AND WE FORGET
THAT THERE ARE A LOT
OF WONDERFUL THINGS AROUND US
Interview by Maria Angelova
SKANDERBEG - A GREAT FIGURE IN THE ALBANIC HISTORY
A portrait by an unknown Italian painter is kept in the famous "Uffizi" Gallery in Florence. The portrait depicts a profile of a human face, which expresses greatness and tiredness at the same time. It is easy to identify it for there is a clear note at the upper edge of the picture: Georgius Skanderbeg.
The XV century was a trial period for the European continent. The idea that the lack of unity only made it easier for the conqueror spread among the Albanian society. In the middle of that century a new significant and historical figure appeared and turned into one of the symbols of the anti-ottoman resistance: Georg Kastrioti.
He was the youngest of the heirs of the Kastrioti family. He was born around 1405. He got solid military training. On the base of his personal qualities he took part in some campaigns of the Ottoman army, for which he was wealthy rewarded - he was called Iskender bey and ruled over the Kruya vilayet and the Debar district. From this nickname derived Skenderbey or Skenderbeg.
ALBANIA - THE TOURIST EXOTIC OF EUROPE
In the 70`s of the past century Albania isolated itself from the outer world because of ideological reasons. Not many people could see with their own eyes this spot on the Balkan Peninsula. No matter where the foreigners are from, today they all say the same thing about Albania - incredible beauty, virgin nature, and great climate. After the Berlin wall fell down in 1989, it seemed to be the last exotic of the European continent.
The tourism in Albania has great chances for the future - the winter tourism has not been established yet; sea, mountain, and cultural tourism have to be improved, and the hunting tourism must not be forgotten either. The country has to live over its infrastructure problems and to become an oasis out of an exotic place. The opportunities for this are available, and there are also good bases in the numerous new hotels, the kind and well educated staff, who speaks well foreign languages, the delicious European and Balkan cuisine.
THE CAPITAL OF ALBANIA
The first record about the existence of Tirana dates from 1614. The local feudal lord and high Ottoman dignitary Suleiman Pasha Bargini is said to be its original founder.
The settlement was developing comparatively fast and it gradually turned into a center of crafts and trade. In 1823 the Mosque of Etem Bey, which had been built over the past three years, was finally finished. It is situated near the clock tower. These Albanian monuments are still a part of the Albanian capital center and attract tourists.
In 1920 on the national congress in Liushnia, Tirana was pronounced for the capital of Albania.
The capital of Albania and Albania itself contain dras
tic contrasts. You do not need to go to the outskirts - you can see old, ruined buildings next to new ones in the very center of Tirana.
In the past Tirana used to have one strongly guarded "forbidden town", where the ordinary people could not pass. Today this place is known as Block. The house of Enver Hodja, today a residence, is situated there. This neighbourhood has changed a lot.
The monument of Enver Hodja was situated on the center square "Skanderbeg". From the square begins Dures Street, which leads to the ancient town Dures, also known as Drach. Some say that one day Tirana and Dures will unite and Albania will have capital reaching the sea.
GJIROKASTRA: ELEGANCE OF STONE
By materials of the foreign press
The pictorial city of Gjirokastra is situated in the south part of Albania, on the east slope of the White Mountains. What make the biggest impression on the guests of the city are the specific tower-like houses. Because of its typical features in architecture Gjirokastra is called "The city of the thousand steps" and "The stone city". There are some very good examples of the tower-like constructions left in the city.
What fills Gjirokastra with unique ancient spirit are some churches and mosques from the XVIII century and an ancient citadel, which nowadays houses The Weapon museum. In the cultural center of Gjirokastra a professional theatre, art gallery and 23 museums can be found.
People who visit Gjirokastra during the fests can feel the atmosphere of past times and catch only with one sight the whole Albania.
SCRAWLS FROM YEMEN
Happy Arabia. For a month now each and every of my days begins with shining sunrise and the sun shines in the clear sky until the evening, when the dark comes extremely fast, almost without a dusk. Sana - the capital of Yemen with two million people population, white buildings with flat roofs, lots of stone, concrete and asphalt, is on a tropical latitude and 2000 meters over the sea level. It is hot here year-round, but not scorching.
THE CITY OF ONE THOUSAND WINDOWS
Berat is one of the most charming ancient cities in Albania. It is situated about 130 km south from Tirana and it is famous mostly for its ancient and well-preserved citadel.
Because of its great number of historical and cultural landmarks in 1996 Berat was pronounced for a town- museum and it received an offer to be included in the List of worldвЂ™s cultural and natural heritage of UNESCO. Berat is unique with the density of its population, the unusual facades and narrow streets, also with the architecture of the white good-looking houses, which is not typical for the other parts of the country.
Because of its large number of windows, which are "watching" the tourists from the houses, Berat is also called "The city of one thousand windows".
The lahuta is a traditional musical instrument in Albania. It is from the family of the cittern, it has one string and a bow. The lahuta looks a lot like the typical Balkan rebab, well known in the past in the Ottoman Empire.
Instrumentals are not usually played on the lahuta, its sounds are used mostly for a background. In antiquity the travelling musicians used it to attract attention to their art. Later in the centuries of the Ottoman Empire rule, men who played on lahuta where asked to play on suppers or on holidays. They played accompaniments to the songs they sang or to the songs from the heroic epoch. Playing on lahuta is hereditary and it is handed down from one generation to another. Today this art is rare, it can only be found in the northern mountain regions of the country.
BALKAN COLORS, TINTS AND HOSPITALITY
The traditions of Albania are not only common for the Balkans, but they are also unique. The objects of the popular practical art are a fairy-scene of tints, the stories of the popular music and fairy-tales are full of heroism, dramatic love and magic creatures. And what describes best the traditional thinking of the Albanians is their hospitality, both to friends and strangers.
THE (UN)KNOWN ALBANIA
People from three different religions have lived on the territory of Albania for centuries - Muslims, Christians and Catholics. This separation has not been a problem; in fact it has united the nations in the centuries-old history.
Apart from the main religious holidays Albanians celebrate also those related to ancient pagan believes - for example the cult to the sun. Just like in Bulgaria, there are traditions on the first of March in Albania - children and young people tie martenitsa on their hands.
A main place in the holiday calendar for the Albanians takes the holiday of Saint George, which is celebrated both by Muslims and Christians and sometimes more fabulous than Easter and Bairam.
PHOTOATELIER PRESENTS: PHOTOTEQUE "MARUBI"
LITART PRESENTS: STEFAN CHAPALIKU
To make your dreams come true
By Dochka Kisyova-Gogova
Rough waters on the Beaufort scale
By Dochka Ksiyova-Gogova