View Full Version : Archived: Albania - Along the Road of Stones Part 1 21/5/10 Report

30-05-2010, 01:39 AM
A week away and of all places I find myself in Albania:lol:
This is a country of many contrasts! Exceptional scenery that greets you, is also met with poverty in the towns etc.
Albania is a transition country which is trying to catch up with the West since the fall of Communism back in the 1990's.

Up until that period it was ruled for 4 decades by Enver Hoxha, a dictator who ruled Albania with an iron fist, died on 11 April 1985. Up until his death, all religion was banned, and no person was allowed to own a car, horse and cart were the only means of personal transport.
Eventually the new regime introduced some liberalization, and granting the freedom to travel abroad in 1990, when for obvious reasons mass immigration took place!

Albanians are proud of there country and will go to great lengths to tell you about there latest endeavours since the fall of communism:)
But it was Communism that I had come to see, especially the 750,000 Pillboxes. Take a bus ride through the Albanian countryside and one thing is guaranteed to draw your attention: the domed bunkers that litter the landscape. A legacy from Enver Hoxha’s reign (he was a little bit scared of outside invasion to say the least), it’s estimated there’s one pillbox for every four Albanians.

This story starts in the port of Saranda:thumb


The small port of Saranda, asking around about the bunkers brings vague answers, Like why do I want to see them Communist taboo:ohmy


Unfinished buildings lay everywhere:confused: its like downtown Beiruit:lol:


The road out of Saranda soon turns to a stone/boulder highway (The Road of Stones). This is the main road, that leads to my final destination the ancient city of Butrint:thumb


Its not long before the first of many pillboxes looms into place, every picture I took, a pillbox seemed to be hiding in the undergrowth:lol:


Former Communist monument, crumbling by the side of the road. Spot the pillboxes:thumb

Part 2 to follow:thumb

30-05-2010, 10:19 AM
Part 2


They can be found at random intervals, some single pillboxes all on ther own, and then in groups of 3/4. These were grouped together and linked by a underground tunnel:thumb


As the "Road of Stones" meanders along, spectacular views can be seen from all vantage points, this country may be poor but the unspoilt views are superb:thumb Tourism is in its infancy here!


Spot the Pillbox:laugh


There are supposed to be 4 types of Pillbox/bunker this was a bigger version and formed a cluster of 4, which is a command post:thumb


And no I did not enter any of them as the residents of these bunkers nowadays are Snakes and Lizards! And I did not have a torch (my excuse):fail

Part 3 to follow The Ancient city of Butrint:thumb