From 1950-1985, paranoid dictator Enver Hoxha put an estimated 750,000 bunkers across Albania. The story goes that when his Engineer had developed a prototype bunker, Hoxha asked if it would withstand a tank assault, when the Engineer replied it would, Hoxha made the man sit in the bunker while it was attacked by a tank. As bunker and engineer survived Hoxha rolled them into production. His aim was to protect from an invasion which never happened.
The concrete bunkers now sit, impossible to destroy, on beaches, up mountains in cities, towns and fields. Some sit as monuments, such as the outdoor bunker memorial in central Tirana, while the Albanian Cinema Project is considering using a bunker complex as archival storage and an exhibition space.
The brilliant ‘Concrete Mushrooms’ project has mapped and set out to re-purpose the bunkers.
Some Bunkers of Tirana: