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Albania's cold-war fortress to become a resort

Albania, whose tourism industry amounts to less than 5% of its gross domestic product, would like to change that. One big step is a plan to develop Sazan Island, a crumbling military installation, into a tourist attraction and resort.

 

At the moment, despite its beautiful Adriatic location, it's a crumbling mess. The military installations, which include barracks, underground bunkers, tunnels and more are all crumbling, much of the "good stuff" looted during Albania's hard years after the end of the Enver Hoxha regime. Its first visitors, this summer, will basically be able to tour the remains.

 

But a new state tourism organization has been formed for the site, and hopes to interest a research institute, a Las Vegas-style casino and other developments, including hotels that could use the tunnels and bunkers as wine cellars.

 

That would be a big change from its past use, first as an Italian base from the 1930s, and then as Albania's eye on other navies plying the Mediterranean, and its present crew of two sailors on hand to offer shelter to navies patrolling Albanian waters. 

 

Photo: The Guardian (UK)

 

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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