For a holiday, I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten track, somewhere exotic, but not too far away from the UK. What about Albania, a tiny country in the Balkans of about three million inhabitants? Cut off from the rest of the world (apart from North Korea) after the end of WW2, it was ruled by communist Enver Hoxha with an iron grip for 40 years. It is slowly opening up, but it remains the poorest country in Europe. And it has plenty of interesting doors.
This is one of the 173,000 bunkers built by the Communist regime to defend Albania against invaders. 27 years after the fall of communism, it has been converted into an art gallery, Bunk’Art.
Enver Hoxha’s daughter designed this pyramid as a mausoleum/museum in honour of her father. It has fallen into disrepair, neglected and decorated by graffiti. It is still used as a television station (see the antennae).
Graffiti on the pyramid in Tirana
The centre of Tirana (known as the Block) was reserved for high ranking members of the Communist Party. It is now thriving with coffee shops, hotels and modern buildings. This interesting door is guarded by statue.
The magnificent Skanderbeg Square in the centre of Tirana looks like the perfect place to stage parades of Mussolini’s fascist troops during WW2. Sadly, the Opera was closed for renovation and the doorway was blocked off.
The National History Museum has a wonderful mural of workers, peasants and soldiers through the ages. The doors are just plain glass, unfortunately.
There is a old carousel on the edge of the square. The mechanism is hidden behind this door at the top of the steps.
This is a “bendy-bus” with a concertina between two coaches. Rather cleverly, an artist has added two halves of a piano accordion either side of the junction. The invisible musician’s right hand has been painted on the automatic door. It must make it difficult playing the keyboard when the doors open at bus stops.