Every year thousands of people come to Canada to begin a new life. They come with many different skills and the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in reading about Albania may arise from being involved in the HOST Program, which provides assistance to newcomers. This website will introduce you to Albania and help you understand its culture.

Although its borders have changed over the centuries, Albania is an ancient country. Its people look back on a rich heritage. They are proud of their language, culture and customs. However, Albania has been isolated from the rest of the world for many years.

Before the 1990s, writers and journalists were not allowed to visit the country and few people went there as tourists. Some Albanians are particularly isolated because they live in the mountainous area in the northern part of the country, which is largely inaccessible by vehicle.

In 1999, many ethnic Albanians from Kosovo came to Canada as refugees fleeing the fighting there. Those Albanians have a different history and background from those who live in Albania.

Albanians who come to Canada will want to know the same things you would if you moved to a new place. What is my new neighbourhood like? Where can I buy food for my family? Which school will my children attend? How do I get around in my new community? How do I find a job? Where can I go to learn English or French? You can help new immigrants by answering their questions. You can also learn from them about their experiences.

Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Albania.

  Summary Fact Sheet
Official Name: Republic of Albania
Capital: Tirana
Type of Government: Parliamentary democracy
Population: 3.2 million
Area: 28,748 sq. km.
Major Ethnic Groups: Albanians
Languages: Albanian
Religions: Islam, Christianity
Unit of Currency: Lek
National Flag: Red with a black two-headed eagle in the centre
Date of Independence: November 28, 1912

  Did you know?
The Albanian word for the country is Shqiperia, meaning The Land of the Eagles. The word Albania comes from Albanoi, which was the name of an Illyrian tribe in the 2nd century B.C.