Architecture Museums

Bunk’Art 2. From an ex-nuclear bunker to a museum

Two years ago, Albanian government decided to reopen for public an ex-nuclear bunker who was transformed into a museum. The museum was called Bunk’Art,. perhaps with the idea of making an ex nuclear bunker seem as an art and it was located on the feet of mount Dajti on the outskirt of Tirana.

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The inside of the entrance bunker ©Paqsor Loka

This opening causes so much success and attracted so many people to come in this museum that a second former top-secret nuclear bunker reopened just one month ago as a museum in Albania’s capital to show visitors how Communist-era police persecuted the regime’s opponents.

The museum, located in the center of Tirana-capital of Albania is 1,000-square-meter bunker with reinforced concrete walls up to 2.4 meters thick was built between 1981 and 1986 to shelter elite police and interior ministry staff in the event of a nuclear attack.

The museum that opened in Tirana now holds photographs and equipment that illustrate the political persecution of some 100,000 Albanians from 1945 until 1991. The “Pillar” museum, as the nuclear bunker was codenamed, is one of several former hideouts the Albanian government has repurposed for the public since it came to power three years ago.

It was just one of the many military instalation of the Enver Hoxha regime who always had an imaginary fear of invasion by the “imperialist United States and social-imperialist Soviet Union,” built concrete bunkers of all sizes around the country. At one time there were rumored to be as many as 700,000.

An exhibit inside BUNK'ART 2. ©Paqsor Loka

An exhibit inside BUNK’ART 2. ©Paqsor Loka

Twenty rooms in the new museum show Albania’s police history from 1912 until 1991, as well as the names of 6,027 people executed during the communist regime, the 34,000 imprisoned and the more than 50,000 sent to isolated internment camps.

It also has been a focus of political demonstrations.

In an anti-government rally a year ago, supporters of the main opposition Democratic Party destroyed part of a replica bunker built as the museum’s entrance. They complained that Rama’s governing Socialist Party was trying to glorify the country’s dark past.

The holes the demonstrators made in the entrance purposely were not repaired.

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