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ALBANIA In the heart of the Mediterranean, on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, is an old country called Albania, the

country of Eagles. Nestled in between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, and across the Adriatic from Italy, Albania boasts blue and turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, snow peaked mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. As well as stunning nature, Albanians themselves are famous for their hospitality, and tourists are welcomed with heartwarming generosity. Albania is a very mountainous country, with more than 70 percent of the land rising higher than 1,000 feet in elevation. The most rugged mountains are located in the north, while the western coastal region consists primarily of hills and valleys. In most areas of Albania, the climate consists of hot summers and rainy winters. Freezing temperatures and snow are common in the mountains, while heavy thunderstorms often ravage lowland communities. Albania was entirely cut off from the outside world for more than 45 years during the 20th century. In 1991, it became the last country to emerge from a communist regime, and has struggled through years of political instability and economic collapse. Albanian history and culture is fascinating. Butrint, one of the world's archeological wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site - in the south of Albania provides a glimpse of Mediterranean civilization from the Bronze Age through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods - all atop a cliff overlooking Corfu. Home of both Mother Theresa and the great 15th Century hero Skanderbeg, Albania offers not only beach and mountain holidays, but also to many historical places and a vibrant city life.