Enver Hoxha- Albanian Bunkers

Villain:  Enver Hoxha , former communist ruler of Albania 1945–1990. Enver Hoxa was an extremely paranoid individual. He continually feared that Albania would be invaded 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.”[1]  Hoxa’s paranoia also led him to purge many of his close staff for bogus charges. He clung onto power in a ruthless way creating a painful experience for many in Albania

Plot:  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 to urban areas such as villages and towns.  700,000  were built in the country – one for every four inhabitants. [1]  The bunkers are a typical sight in Albania, with an average of 24 bunkers for every square kilometer of the country.

Small bunkers were laid out in lines radiating out within sight of a large command bunker, which was permanently manned. The commanders of the large bunkers would communicate with their superiors by radio and with the occupants of the smaller bunkers by making visual signals that could be seen through the bunkers slits.[2]

There were three bunker types:

Type 1: The QZ bunkers were prefabricated and transported to their final positions, where they were assembled. They consist of three elements: a 3m diameter concrete dome with a firing slit, a hollowed out cylinder to support the dome and an outer cylindrical wall with a radius 60 cm larger than the smaller cylinder. The gap between the cylinder and outer walls filled with earth.[3]

A large amount of QZ bunkers were placed along the coast, and built in groups of three, linked to each other by a prefabricated concrete tunnel. Elsewhere the QZ bunkers were constructed in groupings around strategic points across the country, or in lines across swathes of territory. [4]  Thousands of QZ bunkers radiate out in fifty concentric circles around the city of Tirana. [5]

Type 2: Command and control bunkers. The command-and-control bunkers, referred to as PZ bunkers or known as Pike Zjarri (“firing point”), were also prefabricated and assembled on site. They have a diameter of 8 m. They are made from a series of concrete slices, which were concreted together on site to form an interlocking dome. [4]

Type 3: Large bunker complexes and tunnels

The third bunker type was intended for strategic purposes, it is larger than the other two bunker types, sometimes it was formed as a bunker complex .[6] Some bunker complexes tunneled into mountains. At Linza near the capital, a network of tunnels some 2 km long was built to protect members of the Interior Ministry and the Sigurimi (the secret police) from nuclear attack.[2] Elsewhere throughout the country, thousands of kilometers of tunnels were built to house political, military and industrial assets. The tunnels were built in conditions of great secrecy.

The bunkers had little military value and were never used for their intended purpose during the years of  Hoxha’s Communist rule or after. The cost to construct the bunkers was difficult for Albania to afford and diverted the government for more pressing domestic needs such as housing. Following the collapse of communism in 1990 the bunkers were abandoned. Most sit empty. Some have been converted to residents, cafe’s storage houses etc.

image 1

Original image from: “07Albanisch makedonische Grenze02″ by Fingalo – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 de via Commons-https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:07Albanisch_makedonische_

image 2

Original image from: “Shkodër-apartmentwithbunker-2001″ by Jeroenvrp – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shkod%C3%ABr-apartmentwithbunker-2001.jpg#/media/File:Shkod%C3%ABr-apartmentwithbunker-2001.jpg

image 3

Original image from: “Albania bunker line” by Elian Stefa, Gyler Mydyti – Concrete Mushrooms Project. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/

image 5

Original image from: “Damaged bunker in Valbona” by Jirka Dl – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Damaged_bunker_in_

image 6

Original image from: “Bunker on a graveyard in Albania” by Elian Stefa, Gyler Mydyti – http://concrete-mushrooms.com/files/concrete-mushrooms-final.pdf. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bunker_on_a_graveyard_in_

image 7

Original image from: “Albania triple bunker” by Elian Stefa, Gyler Mydyti – Concrete Mushrooms Project. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albania_triple_bunker.jpg#

image 8

Original image from: “Vermosh 67″ by Sigismund von Dobschütz – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vermosh_67.JPG#/media/

bunker option

Original image from: “Albania bunker 1″ by ILMOTOREDIRICERCA – originally posted to Flickr as bunker option. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albania_bunker_1.jpg#/media/

image 10

Original image from: “Tirana Park+Statues” by Kj1595 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tirana_Park%2BStatues.jpg#/media/

image 11

Original image from: “Albanian Riviera bunkers” by wstuppert – originally posted to Flickr as bunker. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albanian_Riviera_bunkers.jpg#/media/

image 12

original image from: “Albania – inhabited bunker” by Albinfo – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Albania_%E2%80%93_inhabited_


1.The Trauma Controversy, p. 177

  1. “Albanian quandary: How to use old regime’s mountain hideouts”. AFP. 3
  2. Stefa, Elian; Mydyti, Gyler (2009).“Concrete Mushrooms: Bunkers in Albania”(PDF). Politecnico di Milano. p. 74.
  3. Concrete Mushrooms: Bunkers in Albania, p. 67
  4. Hutchings, Robert L. (1997).American Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War. Woodrow Wilson Center Press. p. 261.ISBN 978-0-8018-5621-1.
  5. Gallanti, Fabrizio; Zunino, Maria Giulia (11 May 2010).“Concrete Mushrooms”.Abitare. Retrieved21 January 2012.
Posted: December 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Enver Hoxha- Albanian Bunkers

Comments are closed.