Albania is an overwhelmingly polarising nation. The untouched ruins originating as far back as the 4th century BC contrast the skyline of the rapidly developing capital of Tirana. Whilst the shopping centres and office complexes in major cities point towards the future, the countryside seems to be stuck in the past, with over 150,000 bunkers reminding the citizens of Enver Hoxha’s communist regime. Similarly, countless monuments, mosques, temples and ancient settlements remind visitors of Albania’s long history and diverse cultural heritage.
It is unquestionable that Albania is moving into the 21st century with the aim of rapidly modernising; primarily through the use of resources repatriated by former dissidents. However as the 2500-year-old town of Berat is increasingly overshadowed by the large hotel development, it does so, with the ever-increasing risk of losing its unique, mysterious cultural identity and becoming just another destination for the average tourist.
Photography by Barna Posta