Albanians, you have heard of Albanians, I am sure, but do you know all about us? Do you need to know? Well, not necessarily, but here you’ll find both generally and specifically what you’re looking for.

We are a small country in the southwest part of the Balkan Peninsula. We have a long and beautiful coast that runs from the Adriatic Sea in the north to the Ionian Sea in the south. However, albanians live spread around the world.

However, we aren’t here to speak only about our beauty and geography. In this article, we’re going deeper by writing extensively about Albanians, their origin, culture, tradition, and more. We are going to take you on a walk through our history and how far we’ve come.

Starting from ancient times, ancient Illyrians, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Invasion, Independence, World War I and II, Communism Regime and finally democracy, followed by difficult periods like the war of Kosovo and finally their independence as well.

It’s a lot to cover, of course, but we’re not done. In this article, we’re going to add extra bits of information regarding Albanians and the Internet. Yes, the Internet. How do people around the world search for us? What are the most frequent questions, the most visited pages, and so on?

So buckle up, because we’re going on a journey, and if you stay with us until the end, you’re one stubborn Albanian, and we love you for it.

A sprinkle of Albanian History

Studies of the Albanians’ origins have been done through history, linguistics, archaeology, and genetics. The Albanians were first mentioned in Byzantine sources dating back to the 11th century. By this time, they had already fully converted to Christianity.

People from Albania have a Paleo-Balkan origin. Theories about this differ, but some people think that the Albanians came from the Illyrians, the Thracians, or the Dacians. But these theories are not mutually exclusive—it’s possible that all of these groups contributed to the Albanian population.

The Albanians can be traced back to the Indo-European language family, first appearing in the 15th century. This branch is unique in its own right, having different roots than most other languages of antiquity. Even after Christianity swept through Europe, much of Albanian culture managed to remain unchanged throughout the years and continues to hold significant meaning today.

[copy]When it comes to our religion in the past, you guessed it. We are all of Pagan ancestry and worship the god of the sun.[/copy]

More history, but make it fun and brief (hopefully)…

I. Middle Ages – Byzantine Empire Rule

The Albanian people have a very tumultuous history, which can be explained by their geographical position. They are located in the Southeast of Europe at the cultural and political crossroads between East and West. Yes, you read that correctly, everyone wanted a piece of us and they got it.

The first historical record of the Albanian people is in Byzantine historiography from Michael Attaleiates (1022-1080). He mentions the terms Albanoi Twice and Arbanitai once. The term Albanoi was used to describe the groups who rebelled against Byzantium in Southern Italy and Sicily 1038-40. Right, because no one will mention you in their history books if you aren’t a group of barbarians rebelling against Byzantine Empire. Sigh!

During this period we were under the Byzantine Empire, and after the Byzantine Empire fell we created our first Albanian Principalities. In the 14th century to be exact.

II. Albanians under Ottoman Empire

If you thought we would enjoy some freedom, you are wrong. Here comes the Ottoman Empire Invasion that kept us under its wraps for five centuries.

Before the Ottoman conquest of Albania, Albanians were divided into many small kingdoms and principalities, such as the Principalities of Arbanon, Kastrioti and Thopia. After the fall of Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire continued its period of conquest and expansion. Thousands of Albanians from Albania, Epirus and Peloponnese escaped to Calabria, Naples, Ragusa and Sicily. Others sought protection in the mountains of Albania.

Albanians were later invaded and after several wars, oppression and back and forth conflicts we finally got Gjergj Kastriot, our National Hero. A moment of silence in his honour when you read this. Ok, back to history.

For 25 years, Gjergij Kastrioti Skanderbeg resisted the Ottoman Empire’s efforts to expand into Europe.

Meanwhile, another important figure made its way to the top. Ali Pash Tepelena, who was one of the most powerful autonomous Ottoman Albanian rulers and governed over the Pashalik of Yanina. His ultimate goal, of course, was to establish Independent rule in Albania and Epirus.

Since during these times we were mainly Christians, thank Byzantine Empire for that (where is Paganism when I need it), the Ottoman Empire concentrated all its power to convert Christian Albanians into Muslims. They almost succeeded for the majority of us except for the principality of Mirdita.

Two sprinkles of curiosity joy for you:

    1. The Ottoman sultans Bayezid II and Mehmed III were both Albanian on their maternal side.
    2. Areas such as Albania, western Macedonia, southern Serbia, Kosovo, parts of northern Greece and southern Montenegro in Ottoman sources were referred to as Arnavudluk or Albania.

III. Albanian Renaissance and finally our Independence

The Albanian Renaissance occurred when Albanians fought for their independence through both spiritual and intellectual means. This time period established many social advances including culture and education.

Albania was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries, and the Ottoman authorities suppressed any expression of unity or national conscience by Albanians. We lost a part of our Albanian identity and Albanian population because of it.

Albanians who were intellectuals and passionate about their country worked to revive Albanian literature. This would bring attention to the nation’s rich history as well as its goals for a better future. Some of these patriots included Naum Veqilharxhi, Girolamo de Rada, Dora d’Istria, Thimi Mitko, Naim Frashëri, and his brother Sami Frashëri.

The Albanian communities in Italy and other places were especially zealous in furthering the Albanian cause, which eventually led to the establishment of Mësonjëtorja, a secular school located in Korçë that uses Albanian as its primary language.

After the declaration of independence, many people in the new country did not feel like they belonged to any nation. This feeling of fragmentation would continue until the communist period after World War II. The communist regime was successful in creating a sense of Albanian national identity among more people than any previous regime had done.

Communism in Albania emerged

The communist party, led by Enver Hoxha, controlled all aspects of Albanian life and put into effect a series of far-reaching social and economic changes. The goal was to create a new, socialist society

During the communist period, the education system was restructured and literacy rates rose significantly. New industries were created, and health care and other social services became available to more people than ever before

However, the tight control of the government led to widespread repression. Anyone who dared to criticize the regime was punished harshly or put to death more specifically. Many Albanians were sent to prison, forced into exile or executed.


Although the Albanian language, Shqip, is Indo-European, it does not neatly fit into any of the main branches of the Indo-European family. Its presence in the Balkans dates back to antiquity, but because of various changes throughout history, pinpointing its exact origins is difficult.

There is significant debate surrounding the origins of the Albanian language. Many believe it to be rooted in Illyrian or Thracian. The theory that the Albanian people originate from Illyria is widely accepted throughout Albania. It has become, in a way, a national ideology.

However, there is little evidence for this claim, as very little is known about the Illyrian language. Over time, strata of Latin, Slavic, and Turkish have been added to Albanian, making it more difficult to trace its roots back any further than these languages allow us to.

Culture and Tradition

Culinary arts

The traditional Albanian custom of Bukë, kripë e zemër (bread, salt, and heart) is a welcoming gesture that dates back to mediaeval times. The code of honour known as Besa dictated that guests be looked after as an act of hospitality. Over the centuries, traditional Albanian cuisine has been greatly influenced by regional traditions and cultural influences.

The Albanians have a cuisine that varies depending on whether one is in the Western Balkans or further east. Dishes are either Italian- or Greek-inspired, with Albanians in the West having more Mediterranean influences. Food plays an important role in celebrations for religious holidays including Ramadan, Eid, Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, and Novruz.

Literature of Albanians

Albanian literature dates back to the Middle Ages, with surviving works including those on history, theology, and philosophy from the Renaissance. In more recent times, Albanian authors have achieved acclaim both in Albania and internationally.

Some of the most notable writers include Ismail Kadare. He has won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize and has been waiting for the Nobel Prize in Literature for several years. In the 21st century, we are still seeing literary works that break new ground from both novelists and poets alike.


For Albanians, music is a vital cultural aspect that consists of unique features and melodic patterns displayed in their history, language, and way of life.

The music often differs depending on the region, with two essential differences between the Ghegs and the Tosks. Their geographic position in Southeast Europe, combined with cultural, political, and social issues, often leads to creative expression through music. This can be seen in the traditional instruments and dances of the region.


The number of Albanians living abroad is estimated to be in the millions. However, the 2011 census counted just over 2.8 million Albanians living in Albania. Meanwhile, there are estimated more than 20 million people living abroad.

Here is where Albanians live around the world:

The largest concentrations of Albanians can be found in Italy, Greece, and the United States. They form significant minorities in several other countries including Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Belgium.

There are several reasons for the large-scale dispersal of Albanians and why Albanians continued to migrate in neighbouring states or throughout the world. The first is the Ottoman invasion of the 15th century, which led to many Albanians fleeing their homeland.

Later on, during the communist regime, many people were forced to flee as a result of political persecution. And finally, after the fall of communism in 1991, many people left Albania in search of better opportunities elsewhere. Albanians continued to migrate for a long time even today.

Despite the large number of Albanians living abroad, they have managed to maintain their culture and traditions. This is largely due to the strong sense of identity that Albanians possess and their dedication to preserving their heritage and their mother tongue