Albania, formally the Republic of Albania, is a nation in Southeastern Europe. It is situated on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the Mediterranean Sea and has land boundaries with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south. Tirana is the capital and biggest city, followed by Durrës, Vlorë, and Shkodër.
Albania, with a land area of 28,748 square kilometers, has a variety of meteorological, geological, hydrological, and morphological characteristics (11,100 sq mi). It has a diverse terrain, with snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps, as well as the Korab, Skanderbeg, Pindus, and Ceraunian Mountains, to the hot and sunny coastlines of the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Seas along the Mediterranean Sea.
Albania has been inhabited by several civilizations throughout antiquity, including the Illyrians, Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, and Ottomans. In the 12th century, Albanians created the independent Principality of Arbër. The Kingdom of Albania and the Principality of Albania arose during the 13th and 14th centuries. Prior to the Ottoman invasion of Albania in the 15th century, Albanian resistance to Ottoman advance into Europe headed by Skanderbeg earned them praise across much of Europe. Albania was ruled by the Ottomans for over five centuries, during which time numerous Albanians (known as Arnauts) rose to prominent positions across the empire, particularly in the Southern Balkans and Egypt. Cultural advancements, credited mainly to Albanians gaining spiritual and intellectual vigor throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, definitively led to the Albanian Renaissance. After defeating the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars, Albania proclaimed independence in 1912. The Kingdom of Albania was conquered by Italy in the twentieth century, which founded Greater Albania before becoming a protectorate of Nazi Germany. After World War II, Enver Hoxha established the People's Socialist Republic of Albania, which was patterned after Hoxhaism. The Revolutions of 1991 resulted in the collapse of communism in Albania and, subsequently, the foundation of the modern Republic of Albania.
Albania is a developing nation with an upper-middle-income economy dominated by the service sector, followed by manufacturing. Following the fall of communism in 1990, it went through a transition period from centralised planning to a market-based economy. Albania offers universal health care as well as free basic and secondary education to its residents. Albania is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, COE, OSCE, and OIC. It has been a formal candidate for EU membership since 2014. It is a founding member of the Energy Community, together with the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Union for the Mediterranean.