Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje*, Macedonia, on August 26**, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children.
Ferid Murad (born September 14, 1936) is an Albanian American physician and pharmacologist, and a co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
He is married to Carol A. Murad with whom he has five children and nine grandchildren. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the pre-med program at DePauw University in 1958, and MD and pharmacology Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University in 1965. He was an early graduate of the first explicit MD/PhD program which would later lead to the development of the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program.
The Albanian language
Albanian (/ælˈbeɪniən/; shqip [ʃc͡çip] or gjuha shqipe [ɟ͡ʝuha ˈʃc͡çipɛ]) is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language.
First attested in the 15th century, it is the last Indo-European branch to appear in written records. This is one of the reasons why its still-unknown origin has long been a matter of dispute among linguists and historians. Albanian is considered to be the descendant of one of the Paleo-Balkan languages of antiquity.
UNESCO classified sites in Albania
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Albania ratified the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage on 10 July 1989, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list.
The Constitution of Albania provides for freedom of religion, and the Government has generally respected this right in practice. There have been no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious beliefs or practice. In data collected by sociologists Brian Grim and Roger Finke Albania scored low on Government Regulation of Religion, Social Regulation of Religion, Government Favoritism of Religion and Religious Persecution.
Over 750,000 bunkers were built under the direction of Communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania as one of the most isolationist Stalinists from the end of World War II until his death in 1985.
Starting as a Soviet ally, Hoxha declared the USSR to be revisionist and anti-Marxist after the death of Stalin, and soon all of the Warsaw Pact nations ended their allegiance with Albania. Hoxha then took China as Albania’s ally, which only lasted until 1977, after which he tried to make the country self-sufficient.
One of the oldest vineyards in Europe
Before arriving in Albania, I asked myself a thousand questions about this country. What does it look like? How will we be welcomed? Are the roads in good condition for our motorhome? What about the quality of the wines? So many questions fueled my desire to explore this enigmatic wine destination of the Balkans, wedged between Montenegro and Kosovo in the north, Macedonia in the east, and Greece in the south.
The Kanun or Doke is a set of traditional Albanian laws. The Kanun was primarily oral and only in the 20th century it was published in writing. The Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini (Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit) was codified in the 15th century. Six later variations eventually evolved:
It has two distinct dialects: Tosk, spoken in the south, and Gheg, spoken in the north. However many Albanians speak Italian, Greek, French, German, English amongst other languages too, due to the high numbers of Albanian diaspora and Albanian communities throughout the Balkans.
The pagan celebration of summer
March 14th marks the celebration of Summer Day, a national feast that originates from the pagan beliefs of Albanian’s Illyrian ancestors. Legends say that Summer Day is a celebration for the rebirth of nature after the end of the winter season and is also a sign of the rejuvenation of people’s spirit.