The shape of the bunker has become the symbol of the communist period in Albania and the isolation, paranoia, and excessive vigilance that it entailed. Echoing the ones dispersed throughout the country, a small bunker has been placed near the main boulevard of the capital. Today, this symbol ironically signals the fall of the 45-year long regime, the most totalitarian among the Eastern bloc countries. Located precisely at the entrance of the former living grounds (otherwise known as Blloku) of Enver Hoxha, the communist leader, and his government, Postblloku reminds the free city dwellers – who now visit this part of town to enjoy a nice drink! – that entrance into this exclusive bloc was once strictly prohibited.
Created in 2013 to honor the political prisoners during Communism, this Memorial was designed by precisely two such individuals, the famed author Fatos Lubonja and internationally renowned atist Ardian Isufi. The exhibition includes three distinct monuments, each speaking to a different part of the story: the bunker, the mine shaft columns from the Prison of Spaç, and a brightly colored section of the Berlin Wall.
By taking a few steps down into the interior of the bunker, one can take the position of the guard who once diligently oversaw the living quarters of the Communist government. The columns of Spaç’s copper mine tell another story, that of the most terrifying labor camp in the country, a place where all dissidents were either imprisoned or executed. The Prison of Spaç, located 60 km outside of the capital, is at times even referred to as “Albania’s Auschwitz.” An especially beautiful, and perhaps more hopeful, part of this trifecta is the section of the Berlin Wall, Berlin’s gift to the city of Tirana. This international symbol of the fall of Communism fittingly reveals its “western” graffiti-filled side to Tirana’s boulevard while its grey and gloomy “eastern” side faces towards Blloku, the past. This monument may have turned the proverbial page of this part of Albania’s history.