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Shqipëria - Republic of Albania, Republika e Shqipërisë

Last modified: 2005-01-22 by
Keywords: albania | shqiperia | europe | eagle: double-headed (black) | president | skanderbeg | seal | helmet (yellow) | anthem | constitution |
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[Flag of Albania]by Carlos Esparza

Flag adopted 7 April 1992, coat of arms adopted 22 May 1993.
Proportion: 5:7.
Description: A black double-headed eagle on a red field.
Use: on land, civil, state and war flag, at sea, state ensign.

Colour approximate specifications (as given in Album des Pavillons [pay00]):

On this page:

See also:

Description of the national flag of Albania

The flag of Albania is red with a black double-headed eagle.

The nickname of the flag is flamur e Skënderbeut (Skanderbeg's flag).

Stephen Schwartz, 5 April 2001

History of the national flag of Albania

The eagle dates back to George Castriota, an Albanian Christian who became an Ottoman general in the XVth century under the name of Iskander Bey, or Skanderbeg. He later returned to the Christian faith and led the fight of the Albanians against the Turks in the 1440s. He used the Byzantine double-headed eagle on his seals, hence the modern flag.

Francois Velde, 30 June 1995

In 1443, during the battle against the Hungarians of Hunyadi in Niš (today in Serbia), Skenderbeg abandoned the Ottoman Army. He captured Kruja, the seat of his father's domain in middle Albania. He hoisted the Albanian flag, a red flag with the black double-headed eagle similar to the present-day Albanian flag, over the fortress of Kruja, and pronounced to his countrymen the famous words:

"I have not brought you liberty, I found it here, among you".

In 1444, Skanderbeg managed to unite under his command all Albanian princes gathered in the town of Lezha, and formed the League of Lezha to fight against the Turks.

During the next 25 years he fought with forces rarely exceeding 20,000 against the most powerful army of that time and defeated it for 25 years. In 1450, the Turkish army was led by Sultan Murad II in person, who died after his defeat in the way back. Two other times, in 1466 and 1467, Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, led the Turkish army himself against Skenderbeg and failed too. The Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer Kruja 24 times and failed all 24 of them. Skanderbeg died in 1468 and Kruja was eventually seized on 16 June 1478.

The fortress of Kruja has been partially rebuilt and is now a museum (Muzeu i Gjergji Kastriotit Skënderbeut). In one of the halls are shown the reconsituted standards of the lords who faught with Skanderbeg. The history of the siege of Kruja is depicted in Ismail Kadare's novel "The rain drums".

Ivan Sache, 1 May 1999

During its history, Albania has used several flags which are variations of the basic design, a black double-headed eagle on a red background.

The flag descriptions are taken from Karl-Heinz Hesmer [hes92].

Harald Mueller, 19 October 1995

The national symbols of Albania in the Constitution

The Constitution of the Republic of Albania was approved by the Albanian Parliament on 21 October 1999.

Part One.
Basic Principles.

Article 14.

  1. The official language in the Republic of Albania is Albanian.
  2. The national flag is red with a two-headed black eagle in the center.
  3. The seal of the Republic of Albania presents a red shield with a black, two-headed eagle in the center. At the top of the shield, in gold color, is the helmet of Skanderbeg.
  4. The national anthem is "United Around Our Flag".
  5. The National Holiday of the Republic of Albania is Flag Day, November 28. [It refers to 28 November 1912, when Ismail Qemal proclaimed the independence of Albania in Vlora.]
  6. The capital city of the Republic of Albania is Tirana.
  7. The form and dimensions of the national symbols, the content of the text of the national anthem and their use shall be regulated by law.

Source: Constitutions - what they tell us about national flags and coats of arms [vap00]

Ivan Sache, 26 November 2000

National seal of Albania

[Seal of Albania]from the Albanian Ministry of Information

Skanderbeg's helmet already appeared on Albanian flags during the monarchic period. The current seal is very close to the former royal standard. The original helmet is preserved in Vienna (Austria), and a replica is shown in the Skanderbeg Museum in Kruja. The helmet bears goat horns, and the legend says that Skanderbeg used goat horns because he was able to climb upon rocks like a goat to set up ambushes against the Turkis troops. Most of his victories against the powerful Turkish army were indeed due to his topographical knowledge and science of guerilla, not to mention his political skills having allowed unity of all Albanian tribes.

Ivan Sache, 26 November 2000

National anthem of Albania

The national anthem of Albania was first published as a poem by Aleksander Stavre Drenova (1872-1947) in Liri e Shqipërisë (Freedom of Albania), an Albanian newspaper published in Sofia (Bulgaria). The music of the anthem was composed in 1880 by the Romanian composer Ciprian Porumbescu (1853-1883). In the Albanian Constitution the name of the national anthem is Rreth Flamurit ti Përbashkuar (lit., "United Around the Flag", though sometimes translated as "United Around Our Flag"), which is the first verse of the poem. Sometimes the more generic name Hymni Kombëtar ("National Anthem") is used.
The anthem was officially adopted in 1912.

The Albanian text of the anthem is given below, followed by two possible English translations.

Albanian text

Rreth flamurit të përbashkuar,
Me një dishiri dhe një qëllim,
Ti gjithë Atij duke iu betuar,
Ti lidhim besin për shpitim.

Prej lufte vec, ay largohet,
Që ishtë lindur tradhëtor,
Kush ishtë burri nuk friksohet,
Po vdes, po vdes si një dëshmor.

Ni dorë armët do ti mbajmë,
Ti mbrojmë Atdheun në çdo vënd,
Të drejtat tona ne si ndajmë,
Kitu armiqtë skani vënd.

Se Zoti vet e tha me gojë,
Që kombe shuhen përmbi dhë,
Po Shqipiria do të rrojë,
Pir të, për të luftojmë ne.

English translation (1)

United around the flag,
With one desire and one goal,
Let us pledge our word of honour
To fight for our salvation.

Only he who is a born traitor
Averts from the struggle.
He who is brave is not daunted,
But falls - a martyr to the cause.

With arms in hand we shall remain,
To guard our fatherland round about
Our rights we will not bequeath,
Enemies have no place here.

For the Lord Himself has said,
That nations vanish from the earth,
But Albania shall live on,
Because for her, it is for her that we fight.

Source: Wikipedia Encyclopaedia

English translation (2)

The flag which in battle unites us
Found us all ready for the oath,
One mind, one aim, until our land
Becomes free from the enemy.

We stand in the battle for right and freedom,
The enemies of the people stand alone,
The hero dedicates his life to our land,
Even in dying he will be brave.

Source: The National Anthems website (no longer online)

Ivan Sache, 27 February 2004

Flag of the President of the Republic of Albania

[Presidential flag of Albania]by Jaume Ollé

The flag of the President of Albania is a square version of the national flag. The flag used during the Communist period was similar, but a red star with a yellow border was placed above the eagle.

Ivan Sache, 27 February 2004