Travel Trivia: Which country has vibrant double-headed eagle for national flag
By Jackie Sheckler Finch
Are you a national flag expert? Can you identify a country when you see its national flag flying? Then this should be a snap for you.
However, it took an international trip for me to hear the story behind this flag and to see it proudly displayed along with the American Stars and Stripes at a war memorial.
A hint: This country on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea didn’t become a democracy until the 1990s.
Don’t look at the answer below until you’ve formulated your own response. Congratulations if you are correct.
If not, you sure aren’t the only one. To learn more, might be time for a nice long trip to see what else this country has to offer.
(Answer:) That bright red flag with the dual-headed bird belongs to Albania. The red background stands for bravery, strength and valor shown by people who defended Albania’s freedom. Known as “The Land of Eagles,” Albania has an interesting legend about how the country got its name and how the flag came to be.
One day a young boy was hunting in the mountains and saw a big eagle flying over his head with a snake in its mouth, the tale begins. Thinking the snake was dead, the eagle dropped the snake in its nest as a snack for its baby bird.
The curious boy climbed a tree to the eagle’s nest and saw to his alarm that the snake was not dead as the mother eagle had believed. In fact, the snake’s fangs were ready to strike the baby eaglet. The brave little boy killed the snake and saved the eaglet which he took home as a pet.
As he headed home, the little boy was circled overhead by the mother eagle, begging to get her baby back. In return, the mother eagle promised she would reward the boy with supernatural powers. The boy accepted and, as the years passed, the boy grew to have the sharp eyes of an eagle along with the destructive strength of an eagle’s talons.
Watched over by the eagle, the boy became a valiant hunter and was so admired that the people of the land elected him king. His kingdom became known as the Land of the Eagles. The two-headed eagle on the Albanian flag represents the unity of church and state.
After World War II, Albania became a Stalinist state under Enver Hoxha and remained staunchly isolationist until its transition to democracy after 1990. Hoxha reigned from 1944 until his death from diabetes in 1985 at the age of 76.