Albania is the only Balkan state not to have been part of Yugoslavia. It has an incredibly distinct history that gives it a fascinating modern-day cultural blend. Its language is unique, while it has long been a secular state, it has the only majority Muslim population in Europe (bar Turkey). The country has a notable cold was history too. After distancing itself from Yugoslavia, the Albania’s Communist government was the target of Operation Valuable, launched by the newly formed CIA along with the British secret service. This saw armed and trained Albanian emigrants attempt to destabilise the country by force. Warned by a ‘Russian mole’, who seemingly was the famous British double agent Kim Philby, the attempt was anticipated by the Albanian security forces and neutralised at an early stage.
Photo credit: Artur Malinowski (flickr.com)