The Cold War Bunkers of Albania

During the Cold War, Enver Hoxha, the hard-line leader of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, embraced isolationist and paranoid views, leading to the launch of a massive “bunkerization” project to defend the nation in 1968. Over 20 years, nearly 175,000 reinforced concrete bunkers were built across Albania, lining seashores and lakes, and dotting mountain passes, borders, farmland, and towns—at great expense and effort. However, these bunkers were never used as intended: They never sheltered the populace from a Soviet attack or an invasion by a neighbor, though they did see limited use during the Kosovo War and Albanian Civil War in the 1990s. In recent years, a few of the disused structures have been converted into hostels, homes, or museums, and many have been removed altogether, but most continue to slowly decay in place.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Joan Mateu Parra / AP

    Photos of the Week: Lightning Rod, Crown Fountain, Lunar Transit

    Surfing at a water park in Italy, Ivan Kupala day in Russia, a robotic rover on Mount Etna, a Pride parade in Mexico City, National Paddy Day in Nepal, and much more

  • NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

    The Dust Devils of Mars

    Beautiful images from another world, of a delicate, ephemeral phenomenon

  • Leon Neal / Getty

    Scenes From Glastonbury 2022

    Images from this year’s Glastonbury Festival—back after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus

  • Peter Zay / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos: Protests Against the Overturning of Roe

    Images of protest from Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Denver, Raleigh, St. Louis, Portland, New York, Nashville, and many other locations