The prejudice about Albanians and my experience traveling there

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InsThe Albanian Flag – picture taken by me 

When I told my colleagues back home that I will be traveling to Albania their reaction was a surprised face with the words: “Albania? I have heard they are a bunch of thieves over there!” and then the jokes started about stolen Mercedes’s and terrorism.

To be honest, the reaction disappointed me a lot but did not surprise me. Albania is one of these many countries with a bad reputation for absolutely no good reason. Actually no reason at all.

Where does the prejudice come from?

I will not attempt to explain this because there is never an excuse to have prejudice. So the answer is that it comes from narrow minded people. Any person who thinks bad about another entire population or ethnicity is either stupid or consciously evil which is worse.

That said, Albania has large disputes with other countries about territories – thus many neighboring countries have a large Albanian minority and as you guys know, minorities are always picked on. Again – because of stupidity.

Another answer is the media! I have heard specially bad things about the Italian media portraying Albanians as criminals and drug dealers. Again – not an excuse to actually believing in it.

What is the deal with Kosovo?

You might have heard that 3 Swiss football players made the Albanian eagle sign after scoring against Serbia in the FIFA World Cup 2018. The players have roots in Kosovo, so why the Albanian eagle?

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The Eagle sign by Shaqiri (Picture belongs to Yahoo Sports).

Here is the quick story:
There once was a country named Yugoslavia that consisted of many different people: amongst others; Slovenians, Croats, Bosnians, Serbians, Montenegrins, Macedonians and Albanians. Albania was not a part of Yugoslavia though. The Albanians living in Yugoslavia were from a region close to Albania but on the Yugoslavian side called Kosovo.

At some point the country split up (after a long bloody war). The Serbians tried to keep the country together under their rule but no one else wanted that. Eventually they agreed upon borders and everyone settled with their own country – except Kosovo. Because Albania existed, they were seen as immigrants by the Serbs and the right to have their own country was not recognized. Of course they could not just merge with Albania, because that would have been seen as an “invasion”.

Long story short – after a long struggle Kosovo is now recognized by most countries as an independent country. Not Albania, not Serbia – just Kosovo.

So how is Albania actually?

Mind blowing! It is certainly the most underrated country in Europe. Surely, you have already heard about the beauty of Belgrade, the famous bridge of Mostar and the amazing waterfalls of Plitvica. All those are well known tourist attractions in Balkan, while Albania is almost empty for tourists despites it’s unique history and beauty.

The people are very friendly and are actually good English speakers. I did not encounter any even slightly suspicious behavior from anyone. The country is very diverse religiously and everyone seem to respect the other’s way of living.

Albania has had a very dark history and was one of the last countries to recognize the end of the cold war, and that is very pronounced when you visit. You see it in the museums and the architecture of Tirana.

The Albanians are also very honest about their history, and they are not shy to talk about it and explain it to you. Because of that, their museums are very interesting. If you have been to Berlin, you would maybe think their museums were interesting but also a bit depressing. Tirana’s museums will not depress you but terrify you. And while Berlins museums are kinda apologizing for the horror, Tirana’s are just pure honest which makes them so much more interesting!

I will soon be doing another blog post about the history of Albania and what you can expect and learn from that country. If you are interested in knowing more let me know 🙂

 

 

6 thoughts on “The prejudice about Albanians and my experience traveling there

  1. Hi Kejsi
    Welcome to my blog! Unfortunately I already left Albania. I will be visiting again for sure because I did not see enough! I already visited Berat but my dream is to hike around in Theth and Valbona 🙂

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  2. I am very happy as an albanian to read this blog because every bit you wrote is true. We are very generous and friendly people who like to help others a lot so i am glad you saw that in this trip. I hope you come more often and write more honest blogs like this and show people that Albania is not a dangerous but a very special place.

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    • Hi Mani. Thank you for reading my blog! I love your country, and I can’t wait to visit it again. I will be writing another article more in details about my trip there very soon 🙂

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  3. When my then young family and I were in Corfu we went for a boat ride, which passed near Albania. The hazy glimpse was all I had.

    This is the second blog post about Albania that I have read. Both say about the country’s beauty, its museum, and history. (I really look forward to the continuation to your article.)

    You’re right to mention about people’s negative attitude, which have come from ignorance or bad media portrayals. I experienced the same. Some people feel that they are superior than others, and because of this their impression about a person and/or a country is affected.

    Keep the writing coming. Hopefully many will read it and be able to “form” a warmer feeling towards Albania.

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    • I really hope you are right! I try my best to tell people about the good things about the places I visit, but Albania surprised me being all nice. I hope more people will visit it.. and more than just the “touristy” coast but actually go to Tirana and the mountains 🙂
      Thank you for your comments, I always look forward to read your opinion 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey!
        I’m Albanian and I loved this blog. Thank you for not listening to other people’s prejudices and instead decided to see things from your point of view. I’m glad that you’re enjoying Albania so far. If you see this and your still there I can give you some cities to visit that I know you’ll love.
        Shkoder- museums, castles, known for being the first Albanian city.
        Jale beach- amazing beaches, resorts and clubs
        Butrint – a UNESCO heritage site that takes your breath away
        Saranda- clubs, beaches, resorts
        Ksamil- mostly beaches
        Korca- known for their beer and sausages
        Berat- an ancient city between mountains separated by a river (also apart of UNESCO)
        Valbona and theth- national parks in northern Albania (mountains and rivers and waterfalls)
        If your gonna be in Albania you have to go to the beach at least once, your not gonna regret it!
        Preferably Jale, Dhermi, Saranda, or Ksamil
        😊 enjoy

        Liked by 1 person

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