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Countries of Europe - Albania

Countries of Europe - Albania

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Published by Khaye Dyosa
Countries of Europe. Taken from Encarta 2008.
Countries of Europe. Taken from Encarta 2008.

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Published by: Khaye Dyosa on Nov 21, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/31/2012

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Albania
I
INTRODUCTION
Albania: Flag and Anthem
© Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved./© Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Albania (Albanian
Shqipëria,
“Country of the Eagle”), republic in southeastern Europe, officially known as the Republicof Albania. It lies along the northwestern edge of the Balkan Peninsula.Separated from Italy by only 76 km (47 mi) of the Adriatic Sea, Albania, throughout its history, has been occupied byItalian powers expanding eastward into the Balkans or by Balkan powers expanding westward. In the 1500s Albaniacame under the rule of the Ottoman Empire (centered in what is now Turkey), and did not gain its independence until1912. From 1944 to 1990 Albania was a staunchly Communist state, and in 1991 Albania began its transition to ademocratic state and market economy. The capital and largest city is Tirana.
II
LAND AND RESOURCES
Geography of Albania
Area28,748 sq km11,100 sq miCoastline362 km225 miHighestpointMount Korab2,764 m/9,068 ft
With a total area of 28,748 sq km (11,100 sq mi), Albania is roughly the size of the state of Massachusetts. Thegreatest distance from north to south is about 345 km (about 215 mi) and from east to west about 150 km (about 95mi). Albania is bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west, Greece to the south, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to the east, Serbia to the northeast, and Montenegro to the northwest.
A
Natural Regions
 
Mountainous Terrain in Krujë
Krujë lies at the western edge of the rugged mountains that cover most of Albania. Mount Korab, the country's highest point, lies 70kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Krujë. West of the mountains, the terrain drops sharply to flat coastal lowlands.Richard Bickel/Corbis
Albania is a mountainous country in which about 70 percent of the land lies above 300 m (1,000 ft). Its mountains,which form a broad backbone from northwest to southeast, rise abruptly from the coastal lowlands to elevations of more than 2,400 m (8,000 ft). In the north are the most rugged mountains, where a massive limestone extension of the Dinaric Alps reaches inland for 40 km (25 mi) from nearby Montenegro. In the central uplands lies Mount Korab, thecountry’s highest peak, at 2,764 m (9,068 ft). Strong erosive forces have created bare rock surfaces, deeply incisedvalleys, and a scarcity of meadowlands in this region. South of the Alps, the uplands are lower and more rounded,extending southeastward in a series of plateaus and ranges that merge with the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece. The western coastal region consists of low hills and lower reaches of valleys that open onto the coastal plain. This isAlbania’s most densely populated area and comprises most of the land used for farming. Even here a series of flatareas are interrupted by hill country. Most of the soils are difficult to farm because of drainage and water-supplyproblems. Only the younger, lighter soils near the many rivers are easily cultivated, but are often flooded as well.Albania is subject to occasional earthquakes.
B
Rivers and Lakes
Albania’s longest river is the Drin, total length 282 km (175 mi), which originates at two headwaters in Serbia and theFYROM and flows through northern Albania. Other major rivers include the Seman, the Shkumbin, and the Aóös (Vjöse).Because most of Albania’s rivers flow at high elevations, they are usually mountain torrents by the time they reach thecoastal plain. In the mountains, rivers have cut deep gorges with near-vertical walls as high as 90 m (300 ft) above thewater. The gorges make irrigation difficult, but are well suited for the huge dams that give Albania and nearbycountries cheap hydroelectric power. Along the lower course of the rivers, irrigation is also difficult because sediment-laden streams often break out of their beds and shift channels. Irrigation is feasible only in valley bottoms. Albania alsoshares three large lakes with neighboring states. Lake Scutari in the north lies partly in Montenegro, Lake Ohrid in theeast lies partly in the FYROM, while Lake Prespa in the southeast lies in Albania, the FYROM, and Greece.
C
Plant and Animal Life
 
Some 29 percent of Albania is forested with mixed stands of willow, poplar, elm, pine, oak, and white beech trees.Many of the forests near transportation routes have been heavily logged and some have given way to sheep pastures.In these areas, the soil is either washed or blown away during the summer drought, and even in humid months thegrass grows sparsely in clumps. Because of heavy grazing by livestock in the summer and the summer drought, muchof Albania is unfavorable for wildlife. Wolves, deer, and boars have been pushed back into the most remote forests.Wild fowl, however, are abundant in lowland forests.
D
Natural Resources
Albania is rich in natural resources. The southwestern part of the country is well endowed with natural gas andpetroleum. The northeastern region has large reserves of mineral deposits including chromium, copper, iron, andnickel. Large deposits of lignite (a soft, brown coal) are found near Tirana, and natural asphalt is mined near Selenicë.For centuries the forests have provided fuel in wood and charcoal.
E
Climate
Albania’s climate varies with topography. The coastal lowlands have a Mediterranean climate with arid, almostcloudless summers featuring high temperatures both day and night. Winters are rainy but mild, and in the southernlowlands freezing temperatures are rare. In the mountains rain falls much more often in summer, and the northernregions experience more humidity than the south. Temperatures may soar in the daytime, but nights are much cooler.In winter the mountains, like the lowlands, are subject to heavy and frequent thunderstorms, but in the mountainsstorms are accompanied by heavy snow. The average temperatures in August, the hottest month, range from 17° to 31°C (63° to 88°F). In January, the coldestmonth, they range from 2° to 12°C (36° to 54°F). December, the wettest month, has an average rainfall of 211 mm(8.3 in) while the driest months, July and August, receive only 32 mm (1.3 in) of rain. On the coast annual rainfallaverages 1,000 mm (40 in), but it may be as great as 2,500 mm (100 in) in the mountains.
F
Environmental Issues
Both the former Communist government and new administrations have harvested timber in vast quantities. As aresult, many forests are degraded, wildlife is threatened, and farms have taken over land once forested. The effects of past deforestation, livestock grazing, and flooding have contributed to a rate of soil erosion that exceeds the naturalprocess of new soil production. The extraction of oil and minerals has also created environmental problems,contaminating air, soil, and groundwater, particularly in central Albania. Public education about conservation, pollutioncontrols, and recycling is limited, and the government has focused most of its resources on economic growth ratherthan environmental concerns. However, in the early 1990s several environmental interest groups were established,and the government created a committee to educate the public and offer solutions to environmental problems. Joining the international community in its concern over the degradation of the environment, Albania is party tointernational agreements concerning biodiversity, climate change, and wetlands.
III
 THE PEOPLE OF ALBANIA
People of Albania

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