Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. 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 mi) from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea. Albania is a member of the UN, NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, World Trade Organisation, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and one of the founding members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Albania has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and it formally applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009.
Albania is a parliamentary democracy with a transition economy. The Albanian capital, Tirana, is home to approximately 600,000 of the country's 3,000,000 people. Free-market reforms have opened the country to foreign investment, especially in the development of energy and transportation infrastructure. Albania is divided into 12 administrative counties (Albanian: qark or prefekturë). These counties include 36 districts (Albanian: rreth) and 373 municipalities (Albanian: bashki or komunë). 72 municipalities have city status (Albanian: qytet). There are overall 2980 villages/communities (Albanian: fshat) in all Albania. Each district has its council which is composed of a number of municipalities. The municipalities are the first level of local governance, responsible for local needs and law enforcement.
The Albanian republic is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. The Euro-Atlantic integration of Albania has been the ultimate goal of the post-communist governments. Albania's EU membership bid has been set as a priority by the European Commission.
Albania, along with Croatia, joined NATO on 1 April 2009, becoming the 27th and 28th members of the alliance.
The coat of arms of Albania is an adaptation of the flag of Albania. It is based on the seal of Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg. The emblem above the head of the two-headed eagle is the helmet of Skanderbeg, surmounted with billy goats' horns. The flag of Albania (Albanian: Flamuri i Shqipërisë) is a red flag, with a silhouetted black double-headed eagle in the centre. The double-headed eagle is the national symbol of the Albanians and was used for heraldic purposes during the Middle Ages by a number of Albanian noble families, including the Kastrioti, whose most famous member was George Kastriot Skanderbeg. The Kastrioti's coat of arms, depicting a double-headed eagle on a red field, became famous when he led a revolt against the Ottoman Empire that resulted in brief independence for some regions of Albania from 1443 to 1478. The double-headed eagle on the flag is borrowed from the banner of the Byzantine Empire. The Albanian flag has gone through a number of changes over the years as different regimes have modified it. During the reign of King Zog (r. 1928–1939), a crown was added to the flag and was replaced by two axes during the Italian occupation of Albania. After World War II, the communist regime added a five-pointed golden star, which was removed on 7 April, 1992 after the communist government in Albania collapsed.
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I will also make my designs available free of charge for non-commercial use to any government and military officials of the corresponding countries, as well as for non-commercial and personal use, such as school projects, presentations, forum avatars to businesses and individuals.
The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Heraldry Society, Global Security, and official websites of the above-mentioned countries.