We have compiled the list with some of the most famous Albanians at international level, a list that is certainly incomplete as there are many others that have had considerable success in the world.
These sons and daughters of a small country like Albania confirm the vitality that these people hold, proudly listing us in the great human family.
The most famous Albanians in the world
The humanity, the genius and the vitality of this small nation are revealed and significant in many exceptional figures, each of whom proudly brought its extraordinary contribution to the international arena for the development of prosperity, peace, art and of world culture, science and medicine all over the world.
Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu
Top of the list is certainly the national hero and ruler of Albania in the 15th century. The Albanian Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu he led the small Albanian nation and united the people in an 25 resistance against the Ottoman Empire, which had the strongest army of the time.
For this reason it has earned a golden place in history and it is celebrated by about 150 books, works, paintings made from the Renaissance period until today.
It is considered by historians to be one of the greatest generals and strategists of the medieval era (here an article on the Scanderbeg Monument in Piazza Albania in Rome)
Pope Clement XI (Giovanni Francesco Albani)
On the part of his father, Carlo Albani (1623-1684), descended from a noble family of ancient Albanian origins (forefather of the Albans, in Italy, it was Filippo de 'Laçi called "the Albanian", who was a captain of Giorgio's troops Castriota Scanderbeg and moved to Urbino after the death of the hero, in the 1468).
Giovanni Francesco Albani he was very interested in Albania, now occupied by the Turks, especially for the preservation of the Albanian language and the Catholic religion, promoting many initiatives and favoring the printing of many books in Albanian. Under his auspices, in the 1700, in Merçine di Alessio (Lezhë) in Albania, the historical convention of Arbër was held, where various resolutions were taken in favor of the Albanian language and the Catholic religion, in order not to allow their extinction under domination Ottoman.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
The holy "daughter" of Albania, (in Albanian Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), also known as "The Pencil of God". Although born in the Ottoman Empire and now the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, it was Albanian. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for his work in helping the poor of Calcutta, India. The 4 September 2016 becomes Santa. (here a dedicated article ).
Ali Pascià of Tepeleni
Ali Pascià Tepeleni, (in Albanian Ali Pashë Tepelena), also known as Ali Pascià di Giannina or the Leone di Giannina, was an Albanian politician and military, known to most as one of the secondary characters mentioned in the novel "Il Conte di Montecristo".
Lord Byron, one of the greatest British poets, visited Alì Pascià in the 1809 to Giannina and wrote his memoirs of the meeting in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, showing admiration for the splendor of his court and for to have encouraged the awakening of Albanian culture to Giannina (read also "In the footsteps of Lord Byron ")
Francesco Crispi (Ribera, 4 October 1818 - Naples, 11 August 1901) was an Italian patriot and politician.
A prominent figure of the Risorgimento, he was one of the organizers of the Sicilian Revolution of the 1848 and the creator and maximum supporter of the expedition of the Thousand, in which he participated. Francesco Crispi he was proud of his Albanian origin and loved Albania. The surname Crispi in Sicily and Calabria is in fact a typical surname arbëresh, originally Kryeshpi (Capocasa), then Italianized. For Albania, Crispi had taken a position in his cause of independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Girolamo De Rada
In Albanian: Jeronim De Rada (Macchia Albanese, 19 December 1814 - San Demetrio Corone, 28 February 1903), was an Italian writer, poet and publicist. Born a citizen of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, of the Arbëreshe / Albanian language and culture, he was one of the most important figures of the Albanian cultural and literary movement of the nineteenth century. He is considered the main initiator of modern Albanian literature and he advocated for the independence of Albania.
Born in Gjirokaster in the 1936 Ismail Kadare is the greatest writer of contemporary Albanian literature, he is also a great personality known worldwide, not only in the literary field, but also on the political, social and is a great defender of human rights. He is honorary member of the French Academy.
Ismail Kadare, whose books have been translated and published in almost all countries of the world, has won many prestigious international awards for literature, including the inaugural "Man Booker International Prize". He has also been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature (here a dedicated article )
Born in Scutari, Ernest Koliqi he was an Albanian writer, poet and playwright. He is considered one of the founders of modern Albanian prose.
In the years 20 and 30 Koliqi was the founder of important magazines in Albania, such as magazines Illyria e Now and Maleve (The mountain fairy, 1923) and the periodical Shejzat (Pleiadi, Roam), which covered the geography and culture of the country.
He was Minister of Education at the time of the Albanian kingdom during the Italian occupation of Albania (1939-1943), when he sent two hundred teachers to establish Albanian schools in Kosovo.
Born in Likmetaj (Durres) in the 1918, the Albanian artist was defined by the poet Paul Eluard «the primitive of a new civilization». His masterpieces are displayed alongside other famous painters such as Modigliani in the most famous galleries around the world (read the article "Rediscover Kodra" by the art historian Elena Pontiggia)
Kel Kodheli was born in Scutari in 1869: At a young age he started working as an assistant in the photo studio of Pjetër Marubi. In 1885, he was sent by Marubi for two years to Trieste with his brother to learn photography in Trieste from "Sebastianutti & Benque Studio". His legacy in the field of photography is over 34.000 glass negatives of different sizes. The photograph becomes proper of the Albanians even if the professionalism was inherited from the Italian Pietro Marubi. (read the story was originally the Marubi Dynasty)
Born in Korçë in the 1904, Gjon Mili is one of the best-known photographers for his work published in the magazine Life, for which he photographed artists such as Pablo Picasso. He was a pioneer in the use of stroboscopic instruments to capture a sequence of actions in a photograph. Trained as an engineer and self-taught in photography, Gjon Mili was one of the first to use electronic flash and strobe light to create photographs that were not only of scientific interest. (read the article Gjon Mili, the ingenious artist who "played with time" )
Carlo Ghega (in the Germanic countries: Carl Ritter von Ghega) was a designer of roads and railways. In particular, he is known to have built the Semmering railway, which leaves at Gloggnitz and arrives at Mürzzuschlag. Railway which is the most difficult and spectacular part of the ErzherzogJohannbahn (Archduke John's Railway) Vienna-Trieste, also all designed by him.
Ghega was born in Venice to parents of Albanian origin (read Carlo Ghega: the legend that changed the concept of the impossible)
Dora d'Istria, pseudonym of the duchess Helena Koltsova-Massalskaya, born Elena Gjika (Bucharest, 22 January 1828 - Florence, 17 November 1888), was a writer of Albanian origins, an exponent of Romanticism and Feminism, considered the Mary Shelley of Eastern Europe. (we recommend reading "The women who contributed to the independence of Albania with their struggle "of Rajna Kovaçi - Director of the "Elena Gjika - Dora of Istria" Foundation)
Bekim Fehmiu he was a Yugoslavian actor of Albanian ethnicity.
Born in Sarajevo, at the time the capital of Yugoslav Bosnia, from a Kosovar Albanian family, he graduated from the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts and interpreted various films in different languages, with important Yugoslavian, European and American actors and directors.
Fehmiu was the first actor in Eastern Europe to become a star during the Cold War. He was also active in Italy in several film and television productions (the drama Odissea, 1968; the film Last snow of spring, 1973; the television series The old and the young, 1979, and A child named Jesus, 1987-89) (here a dedicated article )
Musine Kokalari (Adana, 10 February 1917 - Rrëshen, 14 August 1983) was an Albanian writer and politician.
She was the founder of the Social Democratic Party of Albania in the 1943. She was persecuted by the communist regime and was no longer allowed to write. Kokalari was one of the first 30 imprisoned writers included in the 1960 in the "Committee for imprisoned writers" (PEN International) (see also "The memory returned : Musine Kokalari's juvenile autobiography ")
Born in Tirana, class 1963 Inva Mula is an Albanian soprano who ranks among the top ten sopranos in the world. Inva appears in the most prestigious opera scenes in the world and is particularly appreciated at the Teatro La Scala in Milan and at the Metropolitan in New York.
In the 1993 she is awarded at the Operalia in Paris. (Wikipedia entry )
Born in Bari, class 1961 art name of Anna Hoxha. He is not related to the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. His father is from Kruja, while his mother is Italian. In the ranking of the most common Albanian surnames, Hoxha is in first place.
Ermonela Jaho is an Albanian soprano. Has dual citizenship, Italian and Albanian. It was described by The Economist as "the most appreciated soprano in the world" (read the article in English "Fiery Angel "On The Economist)
Born in Elbasan, 1981 class is an Albanian naturalized Italian tenor in the 2014. Saimir Pirgu, among the most brilliant stars of the international opera scene, has won triumphs in all the most important theaters and festivals in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Staatsoper in Vienna, the Royal Opera House in London, the Paris Opera, the Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Zurich Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona, the San Francisco Opera and the Salzburg Festival.
In September 2013 Saimir Pirgu is awarded the prestigious "Pavarotti D'Oro"(read the interview created by Albania News with Saimir Pirgu).
The violinist was born in Tirana, class 1971 Tedi Papavrami he was described in the media as "the little Albanian virtuoso" because of his skill with the violin when he was playing internationally as a child.
He was a student of Pierre Amoyal at the Superior National Conservatory of Paris. He appeared in popular television programs of the time, such as "Le Grand Echiquier”As well as giving concerts (read the interview created by Albania News with Tedi Papavrami)
Angelin Preljocaj is another important Albanian-born talent, nominated in the French media as a genius of the choreography of contemporary French dance, dance teacher of the Opera House in Paris.
Class 1957, born of Albanian immigrant parents in Paris, began his career studying classical dance before turning to contemporary dance. He has received many prestigious awards, including the "Chevalier de L'Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres". (read Dance as a sacred ritual. The creations of the choreographer Angelin Preljocaj)
Born in Tirana, class 1974 is an Albanian artist, specialized in the field of visual arts. His video installation titled in Italian Dammi i colori is exposed to Tate Modern from London. It is a work that reflects on the developments of the city of Tirana between the two millennia.
Born in Durres, class 1970 Helidon Xhixha he is a famous Albanian sculptor. During his career, Xhixha has developed an iconic style of sculpture, through the manipulation of reflective stainless steel, a material that is configured as a key element of the artist, transforming it into a series of abstract objects that reveal their imposing majesty and beauty.
With the success of the last few years, before the 2015 Venice Biennale and following the London Design Biennale 2016, the artist has secured a position at the top of the art world, making his sculptures immediately recognizable by the contemporary public.
Born in Scutari, class 1969 Adrian Paci at the beginning of the years, 90 chose Italy as its second home, bringing with it the strong awareness of living and working as a foreigner and as an artist in a country that is not its own. An important nucleus of works, consisting of photographs, videos, sculptures and mosaics, testifies to various creative moments of the artist, focusing on the themes of travel, migration and the relationship with the Land of Eagles.
Born in Durres, class 1975 Olen Cesari he is an Albanian violinist. At the age of three he began studying the violin under the guidance of his mother, a teacher of this instrument, performing in public for the first time at the age of five.
In the 2010 he publishes his first album, Unexpected , in which various artists participate, including Lucio Dalla, Sergio Cammariere, Fabrizio Bosso, Elsa Lila, Massimo Di Cataldo, Tony Levin and Rosalia De Souza (here a dedicated article )
Born in Prishtina class 1990, Rita Ora, born Rita Sahatçiu is a British singer, actress and model of Albanian origin. In the 2017 the singer publishes her new single your Song . The 10 August 2017 is published its collaboration with the DJ Avicii where he lends his voice in the song Lonely Together.
Born in London, class 1995 Dua Lipa he lived in Kosovo for a couple of years as a girl. He returns to London with the intention of making his way into the world of music and decides to open a YouTube channel. At the same time he started working as a model.
For the Italian singer Annalisa she wrote the song Used to You, extracted as a single in 2016, then translated into Italian in Potrei abituarmi. The last single of Dua Lipa, New Rules , was on the throne of the UK Official Singles Chart for two weeks during the month of August 2017 (listen to New Rules )
Born in Brooklyn, class 1989 Bebe Rexha, pseudonym of Bleta Rexha is a singer of Albanian origin. In the 2016 he publishes the single No Broken Hearts, which presents the collaboration of Nicki Minaj. He participates as principal artist in the single In the Name of Love by Martin Garrix and co-writes the single Team of Iggy Azalea. The 28 October publishes the single I Got You , the first excerpt from his debut album.
Class 1991, is an Albanian judoka from Kosovo, winner of a gold medal at the Olympics, two world titles and two European titles.
From the 2013 Majlinda holds the first position of the international classification of International Judo Federation in the category 52 kg. The 7 August 2016 was the first athlete representative of the Kosovo Olympic Committee to win a (gold) medal in the Olympics, the country's debut in the summer Olympics (read Majlinda Kelmendi, the heroine of Kosovo)
Born in Gjakova, 1983 class is a former Albanian footballer, a midfielder or defender. Its called The warrior for his combative nature that accompanies him in the matches he disputes. With the Albanian national team he played 93 matches, a figure that makes him the player with the most appearances in the history of Albania (read the interview created by Albania News with Lorik Cana)
Born in Vlore, 1973 class is a sports leader and former Albanian footballer, with an attacking role. From the 2008 he covers the role of coordinator of the technical area and from 2009 that of sports director of Lazio.
Born in Whiting (USA), class 1936 Ferid Murad is a doctor and pharmacologist of Albanian origins, Nobel Prize winner for medicine in 1998 for having discovered the implications of the nitrogen monoxide molecule in the cardiovascular system. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo (read Who is the Albanian Nobel Prize winner Ferid Murad?)
Alessandro Moissi, also known by the Albanian name, Aleksandër Moisiu (Trieste, 2 April 1879 - Vienna, 23 March 1935), was an Austrian actor of Albanian origin, one of the most well-known actors of the German-speaking area in the early twentieth century. Wikipedia entry
Class 1971, Luan Krasniqi is a German professional boxer. He held the European heavyweight title and also challenged for the WBO world heavyweight title.
Jim Belushi & John Belushi
John Belushi, born in Chicago, class 1949 considered at the time of his debut on Saturday Night Live as one of the greatest American comedian talents, he remained famous above all for the two films Animal House (1978) and especially The Blues Brothers (1980).
Jim Belushi, born in Chicago 1954 class is an American comedian, actor, musician, screenwriter, director, television producer and cinematographer of Albanian origin. He is the younger brother of John Belushi.
Born in Watertown (USA), class 1980 is an American actress, voice actress and activist of Albanian origins from the city of Korçë. He dedicates a "love letter" to his culture and history with the making of the documentary "Dear Albania"Traveling in 15 city of Albania to find out more about the little known country in the world (watch trailer for Dear Albania )
Class 1953, he was head of the CIA from the 11 July 1997 to the 11 July 2004, one of the most long-lived directors. Tenet thus held this role both during the second and last term of Bill Clinton, and during those of George W. Bush.
Born in Tirana, class 1974 Kledi Kadiu, until a few years ago the most famous Albanian in the Italian media, is an Albanian-born Italian dancer and actor. In the 2012 he receives the most prestigious artistic honor "Grand Master" dedicated by him "to those living abroad and keeping the image of Albania in the world high" (read the interview created by Albania News with Kledi Kadiu)
Born in Fier, class 1981 Ermal Meta is an Albanian-born Italian singer-songwriter and composer. At the age of 13 years he moved to Bari. In the 2007 Meta he founded his group La Fame di Camilla with which he made three albums. He participated in the Sanremo Festival 2017 with a no-show where he finished third, also winning the "Mia Martini" Critics Award.
René Rexhepi, class' 77, of Danish mother and Albanian father of Tetova, immigrant in Denmark, has managed to gain the podium of the world kitchen with the creativity and the strong culinary art that have made him literally the reinvent of Nordic cuisine.
He is chef and co-owner of the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, awarded with Michelin-star 2 and elected four times best restaurant in the world according to the annual The World's 50 Best Restaurants (see also "The Albanian Rexhepi, undisputed king of world cuisine "
Class 1979, is an Albanian chess player, Grandmaster. Dervishi graduated in law from the University of Padua.
He obtained the title of Grand Master in the 1998, the first and so far the only Albanian player to win that title. Read more about Erald Dervishi