Do you recognize where this is? A clue: That's a photo of what used to be called the Enver Hoxha Mausoleum. If I told you it's in the capital city of Tirana, would you know the country, or is it easy because we are proceeding through the Wikipedia "History of" pages for the 206 countries in the world in alphabetical order?
This is Albania, a region where, in antiquity, the Illyrians lived. There was Roman rule, Byzantine rule, invasions by Visigoths, Huns, and Ostrogoths, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire:
Part of the Albanian population gradually converted to Islam, with many joining the Sufi Order of the Bektashi. Converting from Christianity to Islam brought considerable advantages, including access to Ottoman trade networks, bureaucratic positions and the army.... The Albanians proved generally faithful to Ottoman rule following the end of the resistance led by [feudal heir] Skanderbeg, and accepted Islam more easily than their neighbors. No fewer than 42 Grand Viziers of the Empire were of Albanian descent....There was WWI, then the rule of King Zog, who initiated reforms (such as ending the custom of making one's region part of one's name) and who was overthrown by the Italians under Mussolini in 1939. Mussolini "saw Albania as a historical part of the Roman Empire" and imposed "a policy of forced Italianization." After the Italian surrender in 1943, Germany occupied Albania. Germany "sought to gain popular support by backing causes popular with Albanians, especially the annexation of Kosovo.... Albanian collaborators... expelled and killed Serbs living in Kosovo."
[I]n the 19th century... an Albanian National Awakening took place and many revolts against the Ottoman Empire were organized...
The Principality [of Albania] was established on 21 February 1914. The Great Powers selected Prince William of Wied, a nephew of Queen Elisabeth of Romania to become the sovereign of the newly independent Albania....
After the Soviets liberated Albania in 1944, Enver Hoxha, the secretary general of the Albanian Communist Party, became the leader of the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, and he continued on in that role for 41 years, until he died in 1985.
In 1967, the authorities conducted a violent campaign to extinguish religious practice in Albania, claiming that religion had divided the Albanian nation and kept it mired in backwardness. Student agitators combed the countryside, forcing Albanians to quit practicing their faith. Despite complaints, even by APL members, all churches, mosques, monasteries, and other religious institutions had been closed or converted into warehouses, gymnasiums, and workshops by year's end.The Communists were defeated by the Democratic Party in 1992. Efforts to introduce capitalism — Wikipedia says — "led to the proliferation of pyramid schemes" and "anarchy," which was stabilized by "an EU military mission led by Italy." In 2009, Albania joined NATO.
That's enough from Wikipedia for now. I can't vouch for the accuracy of any of that, but it's a jumping off place that is far beyond anything I'd had in my head before reading it. Enver Hoxha? Previously unfamiliar to me. And his erstwhile mausoleum? Horrific. Looking for better images, I found this nice Flickr stream, and I'll send you to this image first, because I love it. Then you you can click the "newer"/"older" buttons to see what else is there.