Albania: Background & Geography

Introduction Albania
Background:
Between 1990 and 1992 Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven difficult as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, a dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks with links to high government officials, and disruptive political opponents. International observers judged parliamentary elections in 2001 to be acceptable and a step toward democratic development, but identified serious deficiencies. Some of these were addressed through reforms in the Albanian electoral code prior to the nationwide municipal elections in 2003.
Geography Albania
Location:
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece and Serbia and Montenegro
Geographic coordinates:
41 00 N, 20 00 E
Map references:
Europe
Area:
total: 28,748 sq km
water: 1,350 sq km
land: 27,398 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 720 km
border countries: Greece 282 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 151 km, Serbia and Montenegro 287 km
Coastline:
362 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
mild temperate; cool, cloudy, wet winters; hot, clear, dry summers; interior is cooler and wetter
Terrain:
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Maja e Korabit (Golem Korab) 2,753 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 21.09%
permanent crops: 4.45%
other: 74.46% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
3,400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
destructive earthquakes; tsunamis occur along southwestern coast; floods; drought
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)

See Also: