Counties of Albania

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An administrative reform took effect in 2015. The communes (komuna) were abolished and absorbed by the municipalities (bashkia), along with a few mergers or splits, resulting in 61 municipalities subordinate to the counties.

Jose Gavinha sent me the results of the Albanian census of 2011-10-01, found at source [3].

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number II-1, dated 2010-02-03, changes the ISO codes for nine counties, prefixing a '0' to each of the one-digit codes. Now all the county codes are two digits.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-6, dated 2004-03-08, shows a change in terminology. Formerly, the top-level subdivisions of Albania were called prefectures, or prefekturė in Albanian. According to the new document, they should be called counties (qark). (However, the statistics bureau's "Albania in Figures" uses the term prefekturat, or prefectures in English.) ISO's format indicates that it considers the districts as the primary subdivisions of Albania, and the counties are regarded just as groupings of districts.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It lists the twelve new counties, assigns ISO codes to them, and changes two district names and one district code. Laē (ISO code LA) was changed to Kurbin (KB), and Malėsia e Madhe was changed to Malėsi e Madhe. FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 9, issued on 2004-10-01, assigns FIPS codes to the new counties.

Country overview: 

Short nameALBANIA
ISO codeAL
LanguageAlbanian (sq)
Time zone+1 ~


Albania was still part of Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century. It declared its independence in 1912. The country went through several forms of government, including occupation during the World Wars, until it became a republic on 1946-01-11.

Other names of country: 

  1. Albanian: Shqipėria, Republika e Shqipėrisė (formal)
  2. Danish: Albanien
  3. Dutch: Albaniė, Republiek Albaniė (formal)
  4. English: Republic of Albania (formal)
  5. Finnish: Albania
  6. French: Albanie f
  7. German: Albanien n
  8. Icelandic: Albanķa
  9. Italian: Albania f
  10. Norwegian: Albania, Republikken Albania (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Albānia, Repśblica f da Albānia f (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Албания (formal)
  13. Spanish: Albania f
  14. Swedish: Albanien
  15. Turkish: Arnavutluk

Origin of name: 

Ancient inhabitants were called Albanoi by Ptolemy. Shqipėria is Albanian for "land of the men of the eagle".

Primary subdivisions: 

Albania is divided into twelve qarqe (sing. qark: counties, or regions).

12 counties2,800,1383,087,15928,70311,082
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: County codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context,
    prefix "AL-" to the code (ex: AL-04 represents Fier).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-2011: 2011-10-01 census.
  • Pop-2001: 2001-04-01 census. Populations and areas of counties were calculated
    by adding the component districts.

Postal codes: 

Albania adopted a new set of four-digit postal codes in 2006-10, but the Albanian post office has been slow to implement them (Source [1]).

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Albania page and the Communes of Albania page.

Underneath the counties there are 36 rrethe (districts), currently not functioning. Under them there are 308 communes and 65 municipalities.

Territorial extent: 

Vlorė includes Saseno (Sazan) Island.

The UN LOCODE page  for Albania lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Durrės: from Ancient Greek dyrrachion, possibly meaning dangerous cliffs
  2. Elbasan: Turkish el: the people, basan: dominating (originally a fortress)
  3. Korēė: South Slavic gorica: small mountain
  4. Tiranė: from Ancient Greek Tyrrenos: Etruscans; or, named after Tehran, Iran, to commemorate a victory
  5. Vlorė: from Ancient Greek aulon: narrow passage, strait

Change history: 

  1. 1912-11-28: Albania, consisting of the vilayet of Scutari and parts of Monastir and Yanina, declared independence from Turkey.
  2. 1913-11-22: A law titled “The Appropriate Code of Civil Administration in Albania” took effect. Under it, Albania was divided into eight prefectures: Berati, Dibra, Durrėsi, Elbasani, Gjirokastra, Korēa, Shkodra and Vlora. The prefectures were divided into sub-prefectures, and then into krahina. "At various points in time, the sub-prefecture was called the district (rreth)." (Source [3])
  3. 1923: Albania acquired a strip of territory in the south from Greece.
  4. ~1925: Albania had the following ten prefectures, further subdivided into 57 districts. Dibėr was later renamed Peshkopi, and Kukės renamed Kosovo. The number of districts was 39 in 1927, 30 in 1934, and 61 in 1945.
Berat142,616126,9133,666BeratBerat, Fier, Lushnjė, Skrapar
Dibėr86,99283,6772,151PeshkopijėDibėr, Mat
Durrės77,890104,4881,550DurrėsDurrės, Krujė
Elbasan111,422111,2863,539ElbasanElbasan, Gramsh, Librazhd
Gjinokastėr143,926121,2534,125GjinokastėrGjirokastėr, Pėrmet, Sarandė, Tepelenė
Korēė147,536149,4333,750KorēėKolonjė, Korēė, Pogradec
Kukės49,08149,3442,038KukėsKukės, Tropojė
Shkodėr132,336157,6655,560ScutariLezhė, Mirditė, Pukė, Shkodėr
  • Pop-1930: 1930 census.
  • Pop-1945: 1945 census.
  • Became: Districts formed from this prefecture in 1958.
  1. 1946: A new administrative structure was inaugurated. There were 10 prefectures and 39 sub-prefectures. The tertiary level consisted partly of localities, and the following year, all remaining communes were replaced by localities; there were also cities and villages.
  2. 1953: Status of prefectures changed to regions.
  3. 1958-07: The ten prefectures were re-organized into 26 rrethet (singular, rreth: districts). For the evolution of the districts, see the Districts of Albania page.
  4. 2000-07-31: Law No. 8653 replaced the districts by the regions as administrative units.

Other names of subdivisions: 

The Italian names are often used by Western Europeans in general.

  1. Dibėr: Dibra, Dibrė (variant)
  2. Durrės: Durresi, Durrsi (variant); Durazzo (Italian)
  3. Gjirokastėr: Gjinokastėr (variant); Argirocastro (Italian); Argyrocastro, Argyrokastron (Greek)
  4. Kolonjė: Ersekė (obsolete); Kolonja (variant)
  5. Korēė: Coriza, Corizza, Koritsa, Koritza (Italian); Korēa (variant); Kortscha (German)
  6. Kukės: Kosova, Kossovo (obsolete)
  7. Lezhė: Alessio (Italian); Lezha (variant)
  8. Lushnjė: Lushenjė, Lushnja (variant)
  9. Shkodėr: Escśtari (Portuguese-obsolete); Shkodra, Skodėr (variant); Scutari (Italian)
  10. Tiranė: Tiran (Turkish); Tirana (Italian, Spanish)
  11. Vlorė: Vlona, Vlora, Vlonė (variant); Valona (Italian)

According to Address Doctor (Source [1]), city names have two grammatical forms in Albanian, the definite and the indefinite. "Tirana" is definite and "Tiranė" is indefinite.

Population history:

  • Key: a = average population for the year; c = census; e = official estimate


County populations calculated by totaling the populations of their component districts.


  1. [1] Postal code information from Address Doctor , retrieved 2009-03-22.
  2. [2] Statistical Yearbook of P.S.R. of Albania 1988. Tirane.
  3. [3] Census 2011 Publications . Instituti i Statistikave, Tiranė (retrieved 2013-10-19).
  4. [4] Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States 1992. Europa Publications Ltd., London, 1992.
  5. [5] "A Brief History of the Administrative-territorial Organization in Albania ." Ministry of State for Local Issues (retrieved 2014-07-05).
  6. [6] Resident population by municipality/commune and marital status . 2011 census: Instituti i Statistikave (retrieved 2014-11-13).
  7. [7] Electoral map  of Albania (dated 2005-06-20, retrieved 2005-10-15).
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