ALBANIA

ALBANIA

ALBANIA

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Name: Blue Eye
Location: Vlorë County, Albania
The Blue Eye (Albanian: Syri i Kaltër) is a water spring and natural phenomenon occurring near Muzinë in Vlorë County, southern Albania. A popular tourist attraction, the clear blue water of the river bubbles forth from a depth of more than fifty-metres. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karst hole is.

This is the initial water source of Bistricë river, 25 km long, which ends in the Ionian Sea south of Sarandë.

The source stands at an altitude of 152 m and has a discharge rate of 18400 l/s.

The immediate area 1.8 km2 (0.69 sq mi) is a Nature Monument and is characterized by oak and sycamore trees. In summer 2004, the source was temporarily dried up.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Eye,_Albania
Name: Skanderbeg Square
Location: Tirana, Albania
The Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana, Albania. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The total area is about 40.000 square metres. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square.

During the Italian invasion of Albania, the city plan for Tirana was designed by Florestano Di Fausto and Armando Brasini in a Neo-Renaissance style with articulate angular solutions and giant order fascias.

Many buildings including the Tirana International Hotel, the Palace of Culture, the National Opera, the National Library, the National Bank, the Ethem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, the City Hall, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Historical Museum are situated at the square.

Since June 2017, the square has been renovated and is now part of the biggest pedestrian zone in the Balkans. The renovation has been distinguished with the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2018.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skanderbeg_Monument
Name: Krujë castle
Location: Krujë, Albania
The Krujë castle (Albanian: Kalaja e Krujës) is a castle in the city of Krujë, Albania and the center of Skanderbeg's rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Inside the castle is the Teqe of Dollme of the Bektashi (an Islamic Sufi sect), the National Skanderbeg Museum, the remains of the Fatih Sultan Mehmed mosque and its minaret, an ethnographic museum and a Turkish bath.

During the Albanian Revolt of 1432-1436 the city was unsuccessfully besieged by Andrea Thopia and Ottoman rule was restored. After Skanderbeg's rebellion in 1443 the castle withstood three massive sieges from the Turks respectively in 1450, 1466 and 1467 with garrisons usually no larger than 2,000-3,000 men under Skanderbeg's command. Mehmed II "The Conqueror" himself could not break the castle's small defenses until 1478, 10 years after the death of Skanderbeg. Today it is a center of tourism in Albania, and a source of inspiration to Albanians. Krujë Castle is situated at an elevation of 557 metres (1,827 ft).

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krujë_Castle
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO ALBANIA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Albanian
Currency: Albania Lek (ALL)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +355
Local / up-to-date weather in Tirana (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Albania travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Albania, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO ALBANIA.

The national currency is the lek (plural lekë, symbol L, ISO code: ALL). The euro is widely accepted.

ATMs:

ATMs are available in most major cities. Use the MasterCard ATM Locator or Visa ATM Locator to find them. The ATMs accept most international Visa and MasterCard credit/debit cards.

BY BUS:

Most people in Albania travel by public bus or private minibuses (called “furgons”), which depart quite frequently to destinations around Albania. Furgons have no timetable (they depart when they are full) and in addition to big cities provide access to some smaller towns where buses don’t frequently run. Furgon stations aren’t always in obvious locations, so you can ask around to find them, or keep an eye out for groups of white or red minivans gathered together. Destination place names are generally displayed on the dashboard, prices are never posted (but to get an idea, Tirane to Vlore is about 600 lek). Furgons are loosely regulated, and provide a real “Albanian” experience.

From Tirana, many furgons a day depart to Shkoder, Durres, Elbasan, Fier and Berat. Furgons departing to the south like Gjirokaster or Saranda tend to depart fairly early in the morning. Generally, furgons cost a little more and go a little faster, but can be uncomfortable over long distances because of the close quarters with other passengers.

Buses are more comfortable and cheaper, and although slower, they run on a time schedule (though it is almost impossible to find a printed schedule anywhere in the country) and are generally well regulated. There are different bus stations in Tirane for northbound buses (Shkoder, Leizhe, Puke, etc.), and southbound buses (Saranda, Gjirokastër, Berat, Vlore, Fier, etc.)

BY TRAIN:

Limited services operate between Durres, Kashar near Tirana and Shkodra, perhaps also elsewhere. The train route from Lezhe to Shkodra has scenic beauty. The Tirana (Kashar)-Durres trains (and vice versa) depart up to 8 times a day. Timetables are available here or here (June 2017). You get the most accurate information on the spot in the train stations. Usually there are handwritten timetables. The trains in Albania are in poor condition, despite the route from Tirana to Vlore looking convenient on a map, the more wealthy Albanians never use trains and if not travelling in their own cars, use the many mini-buses. On the other hand, trains offer more space than often overloaded minibuses.

A train ride is a must-see, as there are few such enjoyments in Europe these days. Tickets are very cheap and the journeys are very long, but the views and the atmosphere are usually priceless. Among the things you will see in this unforgettable journey are people working their land with primitive tools, beautiful landscapes and wild terrains, houses under construction with various things hanged on to guard against the bad eye, and a chance to meeting some interesting passengers mainly from rural areas. On most stations you’ll find people selling sunflower seeds, fruits, chewing gum and many other different things – very unusual in Europe.

Note that the train from Tiranë to Librazhd in the center of the country first goes west to Durrës, so that the trip from Tiranë to Elbasan takes several hours, while the actual direct distance is about 30 km. So you may consider to take a bus to Elbasan, also because the western part of the country is not nearly as scenic as the eastern part.

BY CAR:

The roads between the important destinations have been recently repaved and fixed, and offer most of the security measures one would expect on a highway. However be aware that some highways are not fully completed, and contain uncontrolled entry-exit points. There are no fees for using the highways.

Beware of minor roads. Road surfaces can be poor, deeply pitted, or non-existent, and sometimes a decent paving can suddenly disappear, necessitating a U-turn and lengthy doubling-back. It seems all the expensive cars in Albania are SUVs, rather than low-slung sports cars – and for good reason. Ask the locals in advance if travelling away from a highway.

Highways have frequent changes in speed limit (sometimes with little apparent reason). And there are frequent police mobile speed checks. Police will also stop you if you have not turned on your car lights.

Ensure you travel with driving licences and insurance documents (ask your car hire company for these) to present to the police.

Car-driving behavior on the highways is not as orderly as elsewhere in Europe. Expect cars to pull out in front of you, little use of indicators, and hair-raising overtaking. Lanes on dual or triple carriageways tend to be observed. Also expect pedestrians, horses or donkeys cross highways or walk on them. In the mountains, roads can be quite tight and windy with hairpins and serpentines requiring frequent gear shifting and braking. Drivers are encouraged to always keep a spare tire in case of emergency, and check engine liquid levels to avoid overheating.

Navigation is pretty easy although some maps of the country are out of date or contain errors. It is strongly recommended to have an up to date GPS, as new roads are being constantly added to the Albanian road network. In case the GPS does not work, its good to have an alternative good paper or internet-based map.

In the cities, and especially Tirana, many roads are being upgraded, fixed, and renamed. Because of that, traveling by car inside the city will be slow and difficult. Tirana suffers from great traffic congestion during mornings and midday.

A very nice ride is the SH8 Vlorë-Saranda mountain road. It is a typical Mediterranean road and offers an amazing view of the sea from the mountains. The road to the top of Dajti mountain is very bad, though does not (just about) require a 4×4.

Beggars and beggar children may approach your car at major stop lights. Nudge slightly forward to get them off your car and if necessary go into the traffic intersection to get rid of them. The locals will understand.

Around Greek holiday seasons, including Orthodox Easter, the roads leading to/from Greece can be crowded with cars with Greek plates of Albanian immigrants going to Albania or returning to Greece after their holidays.

Renting a car is a good option to choose, but the practice is fairly new in the country. Rental companies are available mainly in Tirana Airport, and Tirana proper. Various travel agencies may offer such services as well.

BY BICYCLE:

There is a lack of respect for people riding on bikes on the highways. Also there are few places to put your bike. These and other challenges make Albania a difficult cycling destination, but a rewarding one. Often, asking around to see if you can stay in somebody’s home or camp in their garden is the only option. Food and water are easily available in the frequent roadside cafes and bars.

It is OK to camp in all not strictly private places, and even if the places are private there should be no problems with your stay, ask if you doubt.

Be aware that it’s very hard to get parts or repairs of modern bicycles.

EAT:

Restaurants are very easy to find. Albania, like the Balkans in general, has a primarily Turkish influence in its cuisine. This influence stems from over 400 years of Ottoman rule in the region. Recent influences after the fall of communism in the early 1990s have been from Italy and Western Europe in general. Most of what is available in neighboring countries such as Greece and Italy will be available in Albania, particularly in the larger cities.

Many people grow fruits and vegetables around their houses, most popularly all kinds of grapes, (red, black, green), that are used to make raki.

Albania is a very mountainous country, and these mountains have scattered olive trees that influence Albanian cuisine. Salads are usually made with fresh tomato and onion. Most Albanian people make their own bread, but going out for meals is very common.

Some sort of hearty stew is commonly included in Albanian dinners. These stews are easy to make, and flexible with ingredients. They include potatoes, onion, rice, etc.

If going to Albania, expect lamb to be the main meat in many places. Lamb there is naturally fed, and does not have any odor like it does in North America. Two byreks and an ayran is a very common breakfast, so try it to understand why.

  • Byrek – a type of savory pie is also common, and is made in different ways. One way is with spinach and feta cheese. Another is with ground meat and onion. Byrek Shqipëtar me perime is often considered the national dish.
  • Tavë kosi – It is a simple dish of baked lamb and rice, served with a yogurt sauce. It is sometimes referred to as a national dish in Albania.
  • Qofte të fërguara – Albanian fried meatballs with feta cheese. Traditionally served with fried potatoes or rice.
  • Cheese – lots of different types but mostly feta cheese. In village shops be prepared that you’ll get the cheese in less hygienic way then in supermarkets but it’s worth to try as it’s usually delicious and in very good price (try those higher priced first). The “Gjirofarma” feta cheese is similar to the Greek feta cheese, although a bit more expensive. However, most of the restaurants, especially in Tirana and the southern part of the country, use this cheese. It’s very delicious, and it’s one of the few cheeses that are exported from Albania.

Desserts and snacks – Don’t forget to check out the many pastry shops (pastiçeri) offering a wide variety of tasty pastry including delicious cakes and:

  • Baklava is a popular dessert and is always made as a dessert during New Year’s Eve.
  • Oshaf – A fig and sheep’s milk pudding

DRINK:

The preferred alcoholic hard drink is raki that is locally produced in small towns as well as in many homes in the countryside; in some instances you may run across men washing down breakfast with a few shots. Try the mulberry rakia – Albanians are the only people in the world that produce this drink with mulberry and plum, and it’s very delicious, especially around Gjirokaster. The number of homemade beers, wines and raki is as varied as the population itself; the quality of these drinks is as varied as the quantity available. Non-alcoholic drinks range from the well-known international and regional soft drink brands to the locally produced ones. You can find any type of soft drink in Albania, as well as natural mineral water,energy drinks, etc. Qafshtama water is considered the best water and found in much of the country.

Boza, a popular sweet drink made from maize (corn) and wheat is a traditional Albanian drink, and Albanians have been known as the best boza makers in the world. You can also try Dhalle, a kefir-like drink closely linked to ayran.

Inside the cities, hotels are abundant and prices per night start as low as €15. Hotels are usually clean and their staff in major cities generally speak English and/or Italian.

Outside the big cities, hotels are less common, but in places like Gjirokastra can be excellent value (e.g., 1000 lek). If, for any reason, you find nowhere to sleep, the Albanian people have always been known for their hospitality, and will treat you like royalty as you stay with them.

Some Albanians write prices with an extra zero. They are not trying to charge you 10 times the going rate; they are merely using the old currency.

Many rural convenience stores will not accept any other method of payment other than cash (Albanian lek). However supermarkets, the better bookstores and the better boutique stores will accept credit or debit cards. The most widely accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club.

In all the Albanian cities you can find numerous shops, which offer different goods, of well known marks, Glasses, antique objects, etc. Of great interest for the tourists are the traditional bazaars of Kruja, Korca, Shkodra, Gjirokastra and Tirana, where you can find the artisan works produced by Albanian people during th years. You can buy woody carved objects, ceramics, embroiders with popular motifs and also cooper objects. Albanian shops are open at 09:00-20:00 usually, and until 22:00 at summer. Most of the shops stay open on Sunday.

Souvenirs: raki, alabaster bunker ashtrays

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Albania
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PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Blue Eye
Location: Vlorë County, Albania
The Blue Eye (Albanian: Syri i Kaltër) is a water spring and natural phenomenon occurring near Muzinë in Vlorë County, southern Albania. A popular tourist attraction, the clear blue water of the river bubbles forth from a depth of more than fifty-metres. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karst hole is.

This is the initial water source of Bistricë river, 25 km long, which ends in the Ionian Sea south of Sarandë.

The source stands at an altitude of 152 m and has a discharge rate of 18400 l/s.

The immediate area 1.8 km2 (0.69 sq mi) is a Nature Monument and is characterized by oak and sycamore trees. In summer 2004, the source was temporarily dried up.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Eye,_Albania
Name: Skanderbeg Square
Location: Tirana, Albania
The Skanderbeg Square is the main plaza in the centre of Tirana, Albania. The square is named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The total area is about 40.000 square metres. The Skanderbeg Monument dominates the square.

During the Italian invasion of Albania, the city plan for Tirana was designed by Florestano Di Fausto and Armando Brasini in a Neo-Renaissance style with articulate angular solutions and giant order fascias.

Many buildings including the Tirana International Hotel, the Palace of Culture, the National Opera, the National Library, the National Bank, the Ethem Bey Mosque, the Clock Tower, the City Hall, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Historical Museum are situated at the square.

Since June 2017, the square has been renovated and is now part of the biggest pedestrian zone in the Balkans. The renovation has been distinguished with the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2018.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skanderbeg_Monument
Name: Krujë castle
Location: Krujë, Albania
The Krujë castle (Albanian: Kalaja e Krujës) is a castle in the city of Krujë, Albania and the center of Skanderbeg's rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Inside the castle is the Teqe of Dollme of the Bektashi (an Islamic Sufi sect), the National Skanderbeg Museum, the remains of the Fatih Sultan Mehmed mosque and its minaret, an ethnographic museum and a Turkish bath.

During the Albanian Revolt of 1432-1436 the city was unsuccessfully besieged by Andrea Thopia and Ottoman rule was restored. After Skanderbeg's rebellion in 1443 the castle withstood three massive sieges from the Turks respectively in 1450, 1466 and 1467 with garrisons usually no larger than 2,000-3,000 men under Skanderbeg's command. Mehmed II "The Conqueror" himself could not break the castle's small defenses until 1478, 10 years after the death of Skanderbeg. Today it is a center of tourism in Albania, and a source of inspiration to Albanians. Krujë Castle is situated at an elevation of 557 metres (1,827 ft).

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krujë_Castle
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN ALBANIA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

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