Well, what’s the difference between north and south Albania?
Is there a difference between north and south Albania? Someone recently told me they want to move to Albania. They simply asked me, “North or south?” For a rather small country, someone might look at it on a map and wonder if there is any difference between the two. The answer is yes! In fact, there are quite a few differences between the north and south of Albania. However, a simple division can’t explain everything about a place. Albania is no different. Many facets of the country have nothing to do with a north vs. south division. Terrain and elevation also play important roles in the life of the country.
If you want a residence in Albania, choosing between north and south is important
To a foreigner seeking to residence in Albania learning the differences between the north and south of Albania is important. Some difference are important depending upon your goals and plans in Albania. Perhaps, some differences are less important to foreigners but are interesting anyway.
The Gheg and Tosk dialects in Albania
Albanian is an Indo-European language that occupies it’s own branch. The two main dialects are Gheg and Tosk. The dividing line is the Shkumbin River in central Albania. Generally, Gheg is spoken to the north and Tosk is spoken to the south. Speakers of Tosk and Gheg can understand each other. A short term visitor to Albanian speaking areas would probably not even know there was a difference.
Catholic and Muslim in the North and a Mix of Muslim, Bektashi and Orthodox in the South
The three main religions in Albania are Catholic, Muslim and Orthodox. Bektashism is a mystical Sufi branch of Islam with headquarters in Tirana. Albania has a history of religious tolerance. It doesn’t suffer religious strife like some other countries. In 1967, the dictator Enver Hoxha made all religion illegal throughout the country. The ban ended with the fall of communism in 1991.
Not everything in Albania is divided by north and south
It is easy to apply simplistic divisions to maps with a clear dividing line between north and south. But some things in Albania don’t apply. For example, tourism is heavier along the coast throughout the country. Also, large scale agriculture is dominant in the coastal lowlands, while subsistence farming is prevalent in the hills and mountainous areas throughout Albania. In this case, these sectors adhere to terrain and elevation and run in a north to south line throughout the national territory. In conclusion, it’s interesting to compare the north and south of Albania, but there are many facets of Albania that can’t be understood by such a simple division.