If you were an Albanian man, you were drilled on the protocol should there be an invasion. First, get your gun. Second, head to your assigned bunker… and stay there.
The primary element, though, was the domed roof, which was designed to deflect artillery fire instead of absorbing the impact.
The construction and installation of this network of concrete was a major project, keeping a large contingent of laborers and soldiers busy for decades. It’s said that the bunkers became such a vital employer that it was difficult to stop the program. Indeed, the structures were still being put in place (with the same design) right up until Hoxha’s death in 1985, by which time they’d probably lost much of their tactical relevance. But what else could the impoverished, lonely country build?
the buildings of Tirana.
Driving around here is like navigating a short, intense history - the imprint of a scarce forty years is stamped on every hillside. It's unique, it's ghostly, the bunkers are part of the landscape yet also jarringly set apart. On one hillside we counted twelve, their outlines almost obscured by wildflowers.