Religion and beliefs in Albania

Albania was first a catholic country due to Romans invasion, but in the 15th century after the Ottoman invasion it became Muslim. Since it shares a board in the south with Greece many inhabitants of these areas are orthodox. From the end of the 1960 practicing a religion was forbidden by the communist regime. It was after the fall of this regime that the Albanians started to practice the religion again, even though they didn’t make much sense to them by that time.

In central Albania there is a great number of Mosques as well as there is also a big number of orthodox cathedrals in the south. Shkodra is the perfect example of the coexistence and harmony between different religions. In the main square of the city you can see next to each other: one orthodox cathedral, one catholic cathedral and one mosque. In Albania there can be found also a small number of religious objects since the majority of them were destroyed by Enver Hoxha. He turned all the religious objects in depots of food or used them for military purposes; he saved only the Mosque of Et’hem Bey and churches in Voskopoja, which he considered as “art works of the Albanian heritage”. The biggest orthodox cathedral in Tirana, “The Resurrection of Christ” was consecrated by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in June 2014.
The Worldwide Bektashi Headquarters (Kryegjyshata, the Court of the Supreme Grandfather) moved from Anatolia to Tirana in the autumn 1925, when the Turkish government ordered that all tekkes be closed.

The Bektashi Order is a Sufi Islamic creed with a long mystic tradition in Albania. Espoused by the Janissaries, the elite soldiers of the Ottoman Empire largely recruited from Christian areas of the Balkans.

The Tekke and the Worldwide Headquarters were reopened on March 22nd 1991 after the fell of communism.

In the north we can see how the people respect a code named the Kanun of Lekë Dukagjini. The Kanun was like the law for the North of Albania but it also affected other aspects like moral and social ones.

In some of the religious monuments you will be asked to take off your shoes or to cover your head. Your entrance may also be denied if your wearing isn’t considered adequate. This phenomenon happens worldwide, not only in Albania, so you must be careful to respect the dress code if you intend to visit religious sites.

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