Bunk Art – All You Need To Know Before You Go
What is Bunk Art?
Bunk Art is a Bunker Museum. A massive bunker built by the communist dictator has been converted into museum. Basically, Albania was ruled for nearly 50 years by the communist dictator Enver Hoxha. During his rule he built an enormous bunker to protect himself and his government in case of war. You can now enter the five story bunker and walk through the underground rooms. Bunk Art tells the story of Albania’s communist past. Bunk Art is a highlight when visiting Tirana, because it is an exciting experience to walk through the scary and spooky bunker.
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Enver Hoxha, the former dictator of Albania, was suffering from paranoia. The communist dictator ruled Albania for nearly 50 years. The dictator’s rule began in 1944 and lasted until his death in 1985. During his rule he was constantly paranoid. In Enver Hoxha’s mind “the enemy” was haunting Albania. Moreover, he feared a nuclear war was inevitable. Therefore, Hoxha built tens of thousands of bunkers all over Albania to protect the population. Ironically, the invaders and the war never came. Consequently, the Albanian landscape is dotted with thousands of bunkers. These bunkers are literally the product of Enver Hoxha’s fear and paranoia.
What was the bunker meant for?
In the 1970s, Enver Hoxha gave orders to construct a massive bunker in the outskirts of Tirana. The bunker was meant to accommodate the dictator and his companions during a nuclear attack. The bunker was for the political elite only. Therefore, the bunker remained secret for much of its existence. The only way in or out was from inside the secretive ministry. Hoxha died before the bunker was complete and the bunker was never actually used.
Why should you visit Bunk Art?
Visiting Bunk Art is an exciting experience that you will not forget. You will walk through a long, dark tunnel in the hillside. The tunnel itself is a perfect built-up to the spooky bunker you are about to enter. Then, you will realize that the ticket office is actually located just next to a still-active Albanian military base. Next up, you will descent into the five-story bunker. Signs along the way will tell you that the lights might fail at any time, but you should not panic! As if you were not scared enough yet!
Inside the bunker
Once inside the bunker you can feel the presence of Enver Hoxha. Rooms tell the story of the dictator’s power and life. Inside the dictator’s office, you can hear his voice on a loop through the phone receiver. You can also view a video of Enver Hoxha’s state funeral in 1985. Furthermore, you can also see the military liaison room, telecommunications room, the officers’ and chief of staff’s room. The rooms are all set up as if the nuclear attack can happen at any moment.
One of the most impressive sights is the massive assembly hall. The assembly hall would host social meetings at the center of the bunker. During war, Hoxha’s government in hiding could rule the country from there. Today, the assembly hall hosts jazz concerts.
In short, Bunk Art does an amazing job of telling the modern history of Albania. The museum displays Albania’s history starting from the Italian invasion up until the end of the communist rule. You will see works of contemporary art throughout the museum. The artwork does lighten up the dark story that is being told.
What is Bunk Art 2?
Due to the success of Bunk Art 1, the Albanian government has now opened Bunk Art 2. Bunk Art 2 is a large bunker in the centre of Tirana. The Bunker was for the ministry of internal affairs during the communist rule. Upon entering, you will hear a voiceover that reads out the names of the political convicts. The museum will introduce you to the Albanian military life and the communist police. The rooms inside the museum will give you the chills. While you learn about the prisons, working camps and victims of the communism, please remind yourself it is luckily in the past.
Visiting Bunk Art 1
Bunk Art is located in the outskirts of Tirana. You can take a bus from Tirana’s city centre towards Linza. The bus departs just outside the Palace of Culture on Skanderbeg Square. You can ask the driver to let you out at Bunk Art.
Bunk Art and the Dajti Express Cable Car
The Bunk Art museum is located just next to the Dajti Express Cable Car. Therefore, you can have a perfect day trip by combining the two. Start your day by visiting Bunk Art (entrance 300 lek, about £1.70). After visiting Bunk Art, you can take the cable car up the Dajti Mountain. The cable car offers magnificent views over Tirana city and the sea side. Once on the mountain, you can enjoy some food and drinks in the restaurant that overlooks all of Tirana.
Video of Bunk Art 2
Tunnel Bunk’Art, Tirana, Albania | Edwin Lugtenburg | Flickr