24 November 2014

Albania Opens Five-Storey Secret Bunker Built by Communists

A great attraction is added to Tirana, the capital of Albania. Visitors, but also Albanian themselves will be surprised to find out what was underneath the communism regime they lived and suffered. 
Work on the bunker, 100m (330ft) underground, was completed in 1978 but it was never used
A large secret bunker that Albania's communist regime built in the 1970s to survive a nuclear bomb has been opened to the public for the first time.
Then dictator Enver Hoxha wanted the bunker near the capital Tirana to guard against Soviet Union or US attacks.

Prime Minister Edi Rama showed several Western ambassadors around the 106-room, five-storey complex on Saturday.

"We have opened today a thesaurus of the collective memory that presents thousands of pieces of the sad events and life under communism," Mr Rama said in a speech in the bunker's 200-seat hall.
Hoxha's regime built up to 700,000 bunkers before he died in 1985. The communist regime was toppled in 1990.

How to get to Bunkart Museum: From Tirana International Hotel in the center of the capital take the bus with the logo of Bunkart. This service is free of charge for
Bunkart Opening hours: Everyday 9.00-16.00
Bunkart  Entry tickets: free of charge November -December 2014

Map of Bunkart  in Tirana

If you need any help arranging your trip to Tirana, Albania email us at: contact@albania-holidays.com

03 November 2014

Albanian UNESCO listed ancient towns of Gjirokastër and Berat

Albania has it all that you mention here unspoiled beaches, wild mountainous areas and lake shores, but above all it has its own unique culture. And the top of the list are these antique, in fact magical cities like Gjirokastra and Berat. Thank you Giulia, once again you nailed it.

Despite its beautiful nature and its rich cultural heritage, Albania is still not such a touristic destination: most of the time we were the only two foreigners enjoying unspoiled beaches, wild mountainous areas and lake shores. The only two times when we weren’t the only foreigners around –besides of course in the capital town Tirana- there were in the two UNESCO listed ancient towns of Gjirokastër and Berat. Both Gjirokastër and Berat are well-known for their ancient neighborhoods preserving historic Ottoman-era architectures, a style originated in Turkey between the 14th and 15th centuries and arrived in Albania during the 18th and 19th centuries, but that's not the only reason why I found them both very fascinating!

  The ancient town of Gjirokastër

In Gjirokastër you can spot tourists by the way they face Gjirokastër’s steep cobbled streets. 
For this time I was definitely not acting as a local by taking ant-steps and being constantly so terrified to slide that sitting in a bar was usually a huger consolation to my paranoid mood rather than to my feet. Locals –instead- do climb their streets as they were goats: old ladies more often than not overtook me, even if they were carrying their grocery; kids ran so fast up and down the alleys that I almost wanted to scream them to be careful. Streets are narrow and curvy, the town itself keeps climbing over the nearby mountain year after year and its urban plan, from above, looks like a maze. 

The ancient town of Berat

Old Berat is divided in two parts by the river Osumi and on those two banks there are the the two old neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica, both inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list to protect their old Ottoman typical houses. These ancient neighborhoods are characterized by picturesque cobbled alleys and houses with beautiful wooden structure, bright white walls and so many windows that Berat’s epithet is “city of a thousand windows”.

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