Albania’s culture, although it’s been influenced by other cultures, most notably Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Slavic, Turkish and Italians but it still manages to be fairly distinctive. Ancient civilizations, especially those of the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantine empire, left a considerable impact on the art and architecture of early Albania. Icon painting and church architecture are two important examples that still survive. The predominant religion of the country, Islam has also left its mark as is evident in the many mosques, religious paintings and the buildings are among the country’s best works of art. Islam has dictated the way of life for much of the country’s population; for instance, folk dances and music in Albania are just as lively as those in other parts of Eastern Europe, but you’re unlikely to see women and men dancing together.
The nearly fifty years of communist rule in Albania were disastrous for the country’s cultural life; mass-produced and totally non-aesthetic items flooded the markets, literature, art and performing arts which were deemed as `dissent’ were ruthlessly suppressed, and only the extremely tenacious folk arts were able to survive. Today, the restrictions have largely been removed, and some of the country’s arts are making a comeback (carpets, silverware and woodcraft are the most popular), but theatre and film remain undeveloped