An Albanian bunker from Communist era

An Albanian bunker from Communist era

Tirana: Albania is planning to lease part of its network of underground tunnels built under communism for mushroom-growing, the government said Tuesday.

Five tunnels covering an area of nearly 1,500 square metres (16,000 square feet) just north of the capital Tirana will go on offer for a 20-year lease period, with a tender opening on January 18, according to the Ministry of Economic Development.

During the 40-year-rule of dictator Enver Hoxha, who died in 1985, Albania was one of the world’s most isolated countries and obsessed about an attack by the West.

Thousands of kilometres of tunnels and more than 700,000 bunkers — structures known as “mushrooms” to locals — were built to withstand such an attack and still dot the countryside, 25 years after the communist regime finally fell.

Several of its remaining tunnels and bunkers have been earmarked for turning into visitor attractions.