Kukës as seen from the north across the lake.
Kukës as seen from the north across the lake. Albinfo Wikimedia CC BY 4.0

Bunker mentality: Could this relic of Albanian communist paranoia become a tourist attraction?

For nearly twenty years, Feti Gijci worked on a project so confidential he was instructed to lock the plans away in a safe each evening before leaving his office and never speak of it to friends and family. Gijci was the chief planner of the town of Kukës, in Albania, during the communist regime under the Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha whose paranoia and fear of the impending war led to the construction of hundreds of thousands of bunkers to defend his population against the threat of invasion.

The grand plan was made to allow the population of 10,000 people to self-sufficiently live in the underground city for upto 6 months during the wartime. However, the regime fell and the fully equipped city was abandoned.

Since then, nearly after 30 years of neglect, Safet Gjici, the new city mayor wants to open the underground city to the public as a tourist attraction. However, the trend to convert communist heritage into themed tourist attractions is questioned by some.

To read more about the underground city, log on to the Guardian.