Cross into Albania by land or sea, and you’ll soon notice clutches of grey, dome-like structures dotting the countryside. Under Hoxha’s rule, these bunkers were scattered around the country in tremendous numbers – estimates run as high as 750,000, which would have meant that there was more than one for every four Albanians. These were no family shelters, as might be expected, but strategic positions to which every able-bodied man was expected to head, weapon in hand, at the onset of war. Though Western spies did indeed make attempts to infiltrate the country, the bunkers were never really put to the test. Almost impossible to shift, they’re now a semi-permanent part of Albanian life; young, privacy-seeking couples occasionally put them to interesting use, while in 2011 a festival “Bunker Fest” was launched in celebration of them.

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Albania features

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7 things you didn't know you could do in Albania

7 things you didn't know you could do in Albania

Albania often doesn’t get the kudos it deserves. The country still suffers from the echoes of its Communist past: few people travelled in or out for decades d…

26 Oct 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
An Instagram journey through Albania: 11 beautiful pictures

An Instagram journey through Albania: 11 beautiful pictures

During two weeks researching in Albania for the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, Web Editor Lottie Gross took over our Instagram account to document her trav…

16 May 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
10 reasons why you need to visit Tirana

10 reasons why you need to visit Tirana

Albania’s capital used to regularly top lists for Europe's worst city. Decades of Stalinist rule left Tirana grey and grim, lacking in both infrastructure and…

27 May 2015 • Garth Cartwright insert_drive_file Article
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