The Cold War was a crazy time in the United States. Kids were taught to duck and cover beneath desks in case of nuclear war, NASA was given a near-blank check to get to the moon, and America invested so heavily in defense that the piles of money alone could have served as cover in one hell of a firefight. But if you think the U.S. took the Cold War seriously, you should see how Albania’s Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha prepared his nation.
Although his small European nation boasts roughly the same area as the state of Massachusetts, Hoxha oversaw the construction of more than 170,000 underground bunkers and 7,000 additional large-scale underground facilities. Some of these facilities, like Gjadër Air Base, were built into the sides of mountains, ensuring they could survive just about any conventional, or even nuclear, attack the West may have thrown at it.
Just how big is the Gjadër installation? Big enough to house more than 50 fighter jets that could be rolled out and scrambled at the dictator’s whim. Today, decades after the fall of communism in Albania, those fighters are still there, deep inside 2,000 feet of tunnels bored into the side of a mountain. These aircraft haven’t been maintained in decades, making the cave into a graveyard of sorts for the Russian- and Chinese-sourced fighters.