Country in south-eastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and adjacent to northern Greece. The country covers c. 28,500 sq. km and has a population of c. 4 million. The capital is Tiranë. Albania is predominantly mountainous, with a narrow zone of fertile land along the coast (see fig.). The coastal climate is Mediterranean, and that of the mountainous interior is more generally continental.
The earliest traces of art on Albanian territory date from the beginning of the Neolithic period (6th millennium bc). During the Bronze Age (2nd millennium bc) the emergence took place of the Illyrians, whose art later flourished at the time of their independent states (5th–2nd centuries bc). The Roman occupation (167 bc–ad 395) and the Byzantine occupation were characterized by the development of Roman culture, the Hellenistic tradition and Early Christian art. At the beginning of the Middle Ages Albania remained outside the sphere of Byzantine domination. This was the period of the evolution of the Illyrian race into the Albanian people, a process that was hindered by neither the restoration of Byzantine rule (...