anwar khalil hozha
At present, two big wars are going on in the world, on one side there is the Russia-Ukraine war that has been going on for twenty months, and on the other side rockets are being fired between Israel and Hamas. The pictures of these two wars emerging from Ukraine and Gaza are extremely horrifying. Buildings are being destroyed in the fierce bombing, thousands of people are being killed. There are tunnels in Gaza to escape bombing, but these tunnels are used only by Hamas fighters. So in Ukraine, more than 5 thousand shelters were built during the war to save the lives of people from Russian bombing. We are talking about a dictator who had converted his entire country into bunkers without any war.
This is the story of after the Second World War, when all the countries were engaged in repairing the damage done in their areas, while Albania was one such country, whose dictator Anwar Halil Hoxha was afraid that there would be another war. Their country may not be destroyed. Therefore, Anwar Khalil built about 2.25 lakh bunkers for the protection of his citizens, but so much money was spent in building such a large number of bunkers that the country was ruined without any attack. The whole country was filled with bunkers instead of houses. Due to the construction of about 2.5 lakh bunkers, Albania lived in poverty for many years. Then, to improve the economic condition of the country, the process of converting these bunkers into tourist spots started.
Italy and Germany occupy Albania
In fact, during the Second World War, the North-Eastern European country Albania was first occupied by Italy and then by Germany. After the end of the war, Albania became independent, but this country, which had continuously suffered foreign slavery, was economically ruined. In such a situation, the command of this country came into the hands of communist dictator Anwar Khalil Hozha. But he says, ‘He burns milk and drinks even buttermilk.’ So the situation in Albania was also similar. Anwar Hozha believed that the war was over, but his country was not safe.
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Anwar Hoxha gave the people of Albania a slogan in their language, which means, “Always be ready. Ready for what? For war.”…Actually, Hoxha had this fear and suspicion in his mind that his neighboring countries like Greece and Yugoslavia or NATO countries might together betray him. The situation was such that they did not trust even the Soviet Union (i.e. now Russia) which they had always supported. After the end of the World War, Anwar Hozha broke all relations. Also excluded itself from the Warsaw Pact. The Warsaw Pact was an alliance of communist countries in response to NATO, which included big countries like China and Russia.
Bunkers were built instead of buildings for 20 years
During this time, Anwar Khalil Hozha was living in fear of attack without war, then he ordered that two types of bunkers be built across the country. One for military use, and the other for common people to hide. The design of the bunker was prepared in the mid-sixties, then for 20 consecutive years bunkers were built in Albania instead of residential buildings or factories. This process of bunkerization stopped only after the death of dictator Anwar Khalil in 1985. By then approximately 1 lakh 75 thousand bunkers had been built in Albania. Some people also claim that not just 2 lakh but more than 7 lakh bunkers were built in Albania. These were built everywhere from residential areas to playgrounds, on mountains, in cemeteries and on the sea shore.
Construction of bunkers using 80% of military resources
Regarding the bunkers of Albania, it is written in the book named ‘Concrete Mushrooms’ that ‘According to the present time, approximately two and a half billion dollars were spent on the bunker construction project. Hozha had invested all the wealth of the country in the construction of bunkers. These bunkers extend from the hills of the capital Tirana to the Gulf of Vlora and from the Montenegrin border to the Greek island of Cornwall. Pelomb Duraj, the engineer of the then Albanian army, admitted after the death of Anwar Hoxha that Hoxha had spent 80% of the military resources just in building these bunkers.
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Albanian citizens received military training
With the construction of these bunkers, the citizens of Albania started being trained on how to hide inside these bunkers if they received information about an air attack. Military training also started being given to common people. Civil defense drills were held twice a month, in which gun handling was also taught. This work turned many people against Anwar Hoxha, the most powerful man in Albania at that time. In 1974, Albania’s Defense Minister Bakir Baluku himself said in his speech that “Anwar Hoxha is a scared man, who believes that even two opposing powers like the Soviet Union and America can harm him. “Albania does not need fear, but progress.” Immediately after this, the dictator accused his Defense Minister of spying for China and got him arrested and Bakir Baluku was immediately given death sentence.
Approximately 800 euros were spent on demolishing the bunker.
According to a Time Magazine report, there was 1 bunker for every 4 Albany citizens. These bunkers were spread from residential areas to mountains and sea shores. After the death of Anwar Hoxha, the scene in Albania was very painful, there were either hungry people or bunkers. Now the big problem was how to destroy these bunkers. It was estimated that the cost of demolishing each average sized bunker would be approximately 800 Euros.
Bunkers become center of attraction for tourists
Seeing the situation in Albania, some countries came forward to help the people here, they helped a little, but that help was not enough. After this, Albania found a new way to get out of the situation. Old bunkers in good condition were repaired and people started living there, while the government converted the larger bunkers into art galleries. Many of these bunkers were made museums, while there were some bunkers in which government offices started running. Talking about the size of these bunkers, the bunkers used by civilians are so big that 4 to 100 people can easily fit in them. So the bunkers used by the army are a little smaller. These dome shaped bunkers made of iron and concrete are now the center of attraction for the tourists coming here. These are also given on rent to foreign tourists, due to which the government’s income has also increased.