Nick St.Oegger is a documentary photographer and National Geographic Explorer based between Belfast, Northern Ireland and Tirana, Albania. His photography explores the close relationship between people and the environment. Working throughout...
Under the regime of Enver Hoxha, hundreds of thousands of military bunkers were constructed in Albania from the 1960s-1980s. Intended to be a defence against against a theoretical invasion by Yugoslav or Western NATO forces, the bunkers were used as an instrument of fear by the regime. While some were part of established military complexes or placed near key border areas, many were dotted throughout cities and the countryside. These outposts were expected to be defended by ordinary citizens, a throwback to the strategy of partisan militias that liberated the country from Axis forces during the Second World War. The construction of these bunkers cost the Albanian state and populace dearly both economic and human terms. In the end, the enemy never came. Today the bunkers lay dormant, destroyed or in some cases provide a more practical use, being repurposed for storage or even converted into businesses. They remain a constant symbol of the nearly fifty years of hardline communist rule over the country.