Cold War-era Albanian Bunkers (Read the First Post)
The bunkerization process in Albania, started in the early 1960s, when Albania, a Warsaw Pact member started to build fortified positions and nuclear shelters in the case of a NATO attack. But this process saw a rapid increase after the country broke off relations with the Eastern Bloc in 1968. Fearing a possible Soviet attack, the Albanian leadership started a massive construction project which saw the creation of more than 200,000 pillboxes of various dimensions and more than 3000 tunnels and other command bunkers. Differently from the doctrines of most of the countries, the Albanians did not position their pillboxes into forming a defensive line, but the idea was that this 200,000 concrete structures would cover all of the national territory. The leadership of the time believed that if an enemy would have attacked the country and captured a sizeable area of land, than they would try to create a "quisling government" and this would threaten the national unity. Some of the most remarkable bunkers, were the naval bunker-base in Porto Palermo where 4 Whiskey-class submarines were stationed, the Gjadri Air Base, the HQ Bunker near Tirana and the "Underground " city of Durres.
Artillery tunnels on the island of Sazan
Albanian soldier inside a bunker
WW 2 era bunker built by the Italians and repaired and reused during the Cold War. The structure its located outside the city of Pogradec.
ex-artillery bunker transformed into a Fast Food and bar.
Entrance to the Porto Palermo Submarine Base
Gjadri AB was built in the mid 70s by the Albanian Engineering Corps. During the Cold War, here was stationed a mixed regiment of F-6 and F-7 fighters. Their task was to intercept Yugoslav and Italian intruders. Now the base serves as a storage place for retired airplanes.
Very interesting summary and images, thanks.
That can only be explained because of the spirit of those years; now look like a complete waste of resources.
You are right. In fact, the bunkers became useful only once in 1999 during the Kosovo War. The Albanian Army cleaned up and reused the remaining bunkers during clashes with the Serbian forces on the border with Kosovo. But if we hadn't built them, Albania would be much better economically today. From what I've read, the total cost of the project ranged between 150 and 200 million in the $ of 1970s.
The Porto Palermo Naval Base (depicted above), was started as a joint Albanian-Chinese project in the late 60s. The Chinese were planning to donate a number of missile boats to the Albanian Navy and bring some of their submarines as well. But diplomatic relations were interrupted before the construction even started for real. As a result, Albania decided to continue on her own and three of our best civil engineers were chosen to oversee the project which ultimately would cost roughly $ 70 million in 1970s dollar. At the end the base was capable of withstanding any kind of attack and even he overhaul facilities and equipment were housed inside the bunker.