10 Curiosities about Albania

By | March 20, 2024

Albania, located in Southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, is a country with a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning natural landscapes. Despite being relatively small in size, Albania boasts a plethora of unique and fascinating curiosities that make it a captivating destination for travelers and enthusiasts alike. From ancient traditions and archaeological mysteries to modern innovations and cultural quirks, Albania offers a wealth of curiosities waiting to be explored.

1. Land of Bunkers:

One of the most peculiar features of Albania is the abundance of bunkers scattered throughout the country’s landscape. During the communist regime under Enver Hoxha, Albania constructed over 173,000 bunkers as part of a defensive strategy against potential invasion. These bunkers vary in size and design, ranging from small domed structures to larger concrete fortifications, and can be found in urban areas, rural countryside, and even on beaches. Today, the bunkers serve as a reminder of Albania’s isolationist past and have sparked debates about their preservation, repurposing, and cultural significance.

2. Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini:

According to mysteryaround, the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini is a set of traditional Albanian laws and customs that have been passed down orally for centuries. Compiled by the medieval Albanian ruler Lekë Dukagjini, the Kanun covers various aspects of daily life, including family, property, hospitality, and blood feuds. Despite its ancient origins, the Kanun continues to influence Albanian society and culture, particularly in rural areas, where adherence to its codes and principles remains strong. The Kanun offers insights into Albania’s traditional social structure, moral values, and sense of honor.

3. World’s First Atheist State:

Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha, Albania became the world’s first officially atheist state in 1967, following a campaign of state atheism aimed at eradicating religious beliefs and practices. Mosques, churches, and other religious institutions were closed, and religious activities were banned. Albania’s transition to atheism was characterized by the destruction of religious monuments and the suppression of religious freedoms, leading to widespread social upheaval and cultural transformation. Despite the subsequent revival of religious freedom after the fall of communism, Albania’s atheist past remains a notable chapter in its history.

4. Tower Houses of Theth and Kelmend:

In the remote mountainous regions of northern Albania, traditional tower houses known as kullas dot the landscape, serving as symbols of familial pride, protection, and communal identity. These stone towers, built primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries, feature thick walls, narrow windows, and defensive elements designed to withstand attacks from rival clans and invaders. The tower houses of Theth and Kelmend are particularly well-preserved examples, offering glimpses into Albania’s rural heritage and architectural traditions.

5. Blood Feuds (Gjakmarrja):

Blood feuds, known as gjakmarrja in Albanian, have been a part of Albanian society for centuries, involving cycles of revenge killings between families or clans. According to tradition, if a member of one family is killed, the victim’s relatives are obliged to seek vengeance, perpetuating a cycle of violence that can last for generations. Despite efforts to combat blood feuds through legal reforms and reconciliation initiatives, they continue to persist in certain rural areas, posing challenges to social cohesion and justice.

6. Unique Language and Alphabet:

Albanian is one of the oldest languages in Europe, with roots dating back to ancient Illyrian and Thracian civilizations. It is the sole surviving member of the Illyrian branch of Indo-European languages and is spoken by over 6 million people worldwide. One of the most distinctive features of the Albanian language is its alphabet, known as the Albanian alphabet, which was developed in the 19th century by Albanian linguists. The alphabet consists of 36 letters, including some unique characters not found in other alphabets, making it a source of pride and identity for Albanians.

7. Legendary Landscape of Valbona Valley:

Valbona Valley National Park, located in the Albanian Alps, is renowned for its pristine wilderness, rugged terrain, and breathtaking beauty. The valley is flanked by towering mountains, dense forests, and crystal-clear rivers, creating a picturesque landscape that captivates visitors year-round. Valbona Valley is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, wildlife spotting, and cultural exploration. The legendary hospitality of the local villagers adds to the charm of this remote and enchanting destination.

8. Enigmatic Pyramid of Tirana:

Tirana, the capital city of Albania, is home to a curious architectural anomaly known as the Pyramid of Tirana. Originally built in the late 1980s as a museum and mausoleum honoring the communist leader Enver Hoxha, the pyramid has since undergone various transformations and now stands as a symbol of Albania’s turbulent past and uncertain future. Despite its controversial history, the pyramid continues to intrigue visitors with its stark geometric design and enigmatic presence in the urban landscape.

9. Olive Oil Tradition:

Albania has a long-standing tradition of olive oil production, dating back thousands of years to ancient times. The country’s mild Mediterranean climate and fertile soil provide ideal conditions for cultivating olive trees, and Albania is home to numerous olive groves and olive oil mills. Albanian olive oil is prized for its high quality, rich flavor, and health benefits, making it a staple ingredient in traditional Albanian cuisine. Visitors to Albania can explore olive oil tasting tours, visit local producers, and learn about the art of olive oil production firsthand.

10. Bektashi Order:

The Bektashi Order is a mystical Sufi Muslim sect that has played a significant role in Albanian religious and cultural life for centuries. Known for its syncretic blend of Islamic, Christian, and pagan beliefs, the Bektashi Order emphasizes spiritual enlightenment, tolerance, and social harmony. Bektashism has long been intertwined with Albanian identity and nationalism, serving as a unifying force during periods of political and social upheaval. Today, Bektashi tekkes (lodges) can be found across Albania, serving as centers of worship, education, and community outreach.


Albania is a land of fascinating curiosities, where ancient traditions, cultural diversity, and natural wonders converge to create a unique tapestry of history and heritage. From the towering bunkers and mystical tower houses to the enigmatic pyramids and legendary valleys, Albania’s curiosities invite exploration and discovery, offering insights into the country’s past, present, and future. Whether traversing the rugged landscapes of the Albanian Alps or immersing oneself in the rich tapestry of Albanian folklore and tradition, there is no shortage of wonders to uncover in this captivating corner of Europe.