Albania - Information about the Albanians and Albania
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The language The language of Albania is Albanian. Like Greek, the Albanian language does not belong to any of the major language subgroups (Germanic, Latin, or Slavic). However, it is an Indoeuropean language.  Of the foreign languages, English is the most commonly used. English is taught to all students starting from the 5th grade and up. Students can read and write English well. However, they tend to have problems with the spoken language. In addition, Italian is fairly easy to learn for Albanians, and many people speak it. Religions  Albanians have traditionally belonged to the Moslem, Christian Orthodox, and Catholic faiths. Many writers claim that respectively 70%, 20%, and 10% of the population belong to the above religions. These figures possibly apply to the Republic of Albania, and should be interpreted cautiously because many people -- probably a majority of the population -- do not practice any religion. In Kosova and Macedonia, the Albanian population is more overwhelmingly moslem, with something like 5 to 10% catholics sprinkled here and there. It is interesting to note that Mother Teresa was born an Albanian catholic in a place which is located in today\'s FYRO-Macedonia. Many Albanians of the Orthodox faith participated in the Greek war of Independence, and were subsequently assimilated and forgotten. Today, only a few speakers of the local Albanian dialect (Arberishte) remain in Greece. On the other side, Albanian moslems of Greece were forcefully deported to Albania during WW2. Today, their descendants add up to around 200,000. The Jews have never been too many in Albania. According to Harvey Sarner, there used to be around 300 Jews in Albania, with the biggest concentration in the southern city of Vlora. Their numbers increased during World War 2, when Albania served as a sort of \'safe haven.\' Again, according to Harvey Sarner, the Jews of Albania left for Israel in 1991, leaving behind only a few who were married to gentiles and who preferred Albania to Israel. Protestants are new in Albania, and they are rapidly gaining followers because their sponsors are usually Americans; nowadays in Albania, everything American is cool and good and desirable.  The food  Albanian cuisine is similar to that of the other Balkan countries, such as Greece or Turkey, and there is a reason for that. According to my copy of \'Mediterranean Cooking\' book, ". . . much of the substance of present day Greek cuisine goes back to the long centuries of Ottoman dominion. This is evidenced by the large number or Turkish derived names encountered in the Greek menu: dolmathes, stuffed vegetables, from dolma; pilafi, rice, from pilav; keftedes, patties of ground meat, from kofte; tsoureki, sweet bread, from corek; yuvetsi, casserole, from quvec; lukoumades, fried dough puffs, from lokma; bourekakia, bread pies, from borek; and so on. . . ."  from :

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