• Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Denmark!

    Denmark: Landscape. Go Now!

    Denmark
    From cities like Copenhagen to islands, beaches, and vast fields (pictured), Denmark offers incredible history, architecture, scenery, and more. Begin Your Journey!

  • Czech Republic!

    Czech Republic: Astronomical Clock in Prague. Go Now!

    Czech Republic
    The Astronomical Clock in Prague (pictured) makes every tourist list, but the towns, including Cesky Krumlov, and the mountains offer a change of pace. Go Now!

  • Belarus!

    Belarus: Birch tree forest. Go Now!

    Belarus
    Tucked away and often forgotten in Eastern Europe, Belarus is home to low lands and Birch Forests (pictured) as well as hidden castles and a culture unlike any other. Begin Your Journey!

  • Spain!

    Spain: Guell Park and Gaudi architecture. Go Now!

    Spain
    Fusion foods, lively music, historic ruins, and cultural events like the Running of the Bulls and La Tomatina make Spain and Barcelona (pictured) a favorite tourist destination. Explore Spain!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Albania

Ethnicity

Albania almost entirely consists of ethnic Albanians. However, what it means to be an ethnic Albanian is up for debate. The Albanians are Indo-European, but don't seem to be closely related to any other modern day European group. Most people consider the ethnic Albanians to be descendants of numerous people, most particularly the Illyrians, Dacians, and/or Thracians, with scant traces of neighboring peoples, such as the Greeks and ethnic Slavs to their north.

Language

Like their ethnicity, the Albanian language doesn't have any close relatives, but instead constitutes the only remaining language in a branch of the Indo-European language grouping. It might be a descendant of either the Illyrian or Thracian language and has some influences from Greek, Slavic, and the Germanic languages today, yet remains incredible unique.

English and other popular international languages are rarely spoken in Albania although more young people are learning these foreign languages each year.

Religion

Albanians are primarily Muslim due to being under Ottoman Turkish rule, during which time most of the people converted to Islam from Christianity. There are however significant Albanian Orthodox and Catholic minorities as well.

Islam (the name of the religion, whose followers are called Muslims) is a monotheistic religion, whose holy book is called the Qur'an. The Qur'an is believed to be the word of God spoken through the prophet Muhammad from 609-632 CE (Common Era is preferred over AD (Anno Domini or "year of the Lord") since the Islamic world doesn't believe Jesus was the messiah). Islam believes Muhammad was the last prophet sent to earth by God, the last in a long line of prophets, which includes Moses, Abraham, and Jesus among others.

Muslims follow five pillars of their faith: testimony, prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage. These pillars, and other tenants of their faith, can give great structure to their lives as some foods, like pork, are forbidden and every Muslim is expected to pray five times a day. However, the level of participation in each of these pillars and to what degree Islam influences an individual's life varies from person to person and community to community.

This page was last updated: May, 2014