Area: 28,748 km² (World Rank 139)
Inhabitants: 3.61 Mio. (World Rank 127)
Tirana is the capital of Albania
Albania, officially the Republic of Albania (Albanian: Republika e Shqipërisë pronounced [ɾɛˈpublika ɛ ʃcipəˈɾiːs], or simply Shqipëria) is a country in South Eastern Europe. Albania is bordered by Greece to the south-east, Montenegro to the north, partially-recognized Kosovo to the northeast, and the Republic of Macedonia to the east. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the west, and on the Ionian Sea to the southwest. It is less than 72 km (45 miles) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
The country is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation and Organisation of the Islamic Conference. It is also a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and received a NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008.
Albania is a parliamentary democracy that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to 600,000 of the country's 3.6 million people. As a result of the opening of the country in the post-communist era, Albania is now undergoing a development boom as its telecommunications, transport and utilities infrastructure is being revamped.

Albania is the Medieval Latin name of the country, which is called Shqipëri by the inhabitants. In Medieval Greek, the name is Albania besides variants Albaētia, Arbanētia.(OED). The ultimate origin of the Alb- element has been traced to an Illyrian alb "hill" cognate to the alp "mountain pasture" found in the Alpine region. In the 2nd century BC, in the History of the World, written by Polybius, there is mention of a city named Arbon in present-day central Albania. The people who lived there were called Arbanios and Arbanitai.
Another suggestion is derivation from the Illyrian tribe of the Albanoi recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria who drafted a map of remarkable significance for the history of Illyria. This map shows the city of Albanopolis (located Northeast of Durrës).
In his History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the duke of Dyrrachium. During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbër or Arbën and referred to themselves as Arbëresh or Arbnesh. As early as the 16th century, a new name for their home evolved among Albanian people: Shqipëria, "Land of the Eagles", hence the two-headed bird on the national flag. The name probably has its origins in the Skanderbeg family crest.[citation needed]