A Cold War Dictator Built 173,000 Concrete Bunkers – Now Light Has Been Cast On Their Dark History

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Image: GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images

The strange concrete shapes litter the landscape. They sprout up like mushrooms, their curved domes a grey reminder of a regime that ended within living memory. These are the bunkers of Albania, and they stand as monuments to an isolationist past rooted in paranoia and suspicion.

Image: GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images

While many of these fortifications now stand empty, they can still shed new light on a dark period in Albania’s history. And the method of their construction make it unlikely that even the ones that have been abandoned will collapse any time soon. After all, they were built to withstand artillery fire.

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Image: GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images

These strange buildings provide a glimpse into the history of Albania and over time people have become aware of their cultural worth. So they’re turning these relics of the Cold War into something that celebrates the future while not forgetting the past. And that’s about as far removed from their original purpose as you can get.

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