Bunkerët (bunker) / LoRa

2016© LoRa Photography

By 1983 a total of 173,371 concrete bunkers were scattered throughout Albania. The bunkers (Albanian: bunkerët) are still a ubiquitous sight in the country, with an average of 5.7 bunkers for every square kilometre.

Over 750,000 bunkers were built under the direction of Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania as one of the most isolationist Stalinists from the end of World War II until his death in 1985.

Starting in 1967 and continuing until 1986, the Albanian government carried out a policy of “bunkerisation” that saw the construction of hundreds of thousands of bunkers across the country. They were built in every possible location, ranging from “beaches and mountains, in vineyards and pastures, in villages and towns, even on the manicured lawns of Albania’s best hotel”. Enver Hoxha envisaged Albania fighting a two-front war against an attack mounted by Yugoslavia, NATO or the Warsaw Pact involving a simultaneous incursion by up to eleven enemy airborne divisions. As he put it, “If we slackened our vigilance even for a moment or toned down our struggle against our enemies in the least, they would strike immediately like the snake that bites you and injects its poison before you are aware of it.”