The Republic of Albania is a country in South Eastern Europe. It’s 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’s less than 45 miles from Italy, across the Strait of Otranto which links the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea.
Albania's largest city, Tirana, is also the country's capital. The main cultural and artistic institutions of Tirana are the National Theater, the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Albania, the National Gallery of Figurative Arts of Albania (Galeria Kombëtare e Arteve), and the Ensemble of Folk Music and Dances. Tirana is also home to several castles such as Tirana Castle, the historical core of the capital, the Clock Tower of Tirana, the Bridge of Tobaccoes, Skanderbeg Square and Kapllan Pasha’s Grave. Albania is distinguished for its rich biological diversity because of the country's diverse geography and temperature. Vast forests of black pine, beech and fir are found on higher mountains as are alpine grasslands. The north and eastern mountains of the country are home to the last remaining Balkan lynx – a critically endangered population of the lynx. Some of the most significant bird species found in the country include the golden eagle – known as the national symbol of Albania.
The main meal of the Albanians is lunch, and it is usually accompanied by a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and olives with olive oil, vinegar and salt. Lunch also includes a main dish of vegetables and meat. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal areas of Durrës, Vlorë and Sarandë. In high altitude areas smoked meat and pickling is very common.
Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza is Albania's only international airport. More than a dozen international airlines connect Albania to Europe and Eastern Europe. There is a four-lane highway connecting the city of Durrës with Tirana and the city of Durrës with the city of Lushnje.
Despite the size of the country, Albania has a high number of climatic regions for so small an area due to a coastline facing the Adriatic and Ionian seas, its highlands backed upon the elevated Balkan landmass, and the entire country lying at a latitude subject to a variety of weather patterns during the winter and summer seasons. The coastal lowlands have typically Mediterranean weather; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate. In both the lowlands and the interior, the weather varies markedly from north to south.