Photographer's Note

Poliçani (pronounced [Politchani]) can be seen as a Model Communist Town. It used to be a small village of which only a couple of houses are left, everything else is built from 1960. With the help of Communist China a large ammunition plant was built (see my previous postings) and the town was built to cater for it. People were selected carefully by the regime to come live and work here, they had to have “a clean background” and high professional qualifications.

What is more interesting though is that Policani represents what the communist regime desired to do, this town was, in many ways, they wish come true. In these rows of blocks of flats almost every aspect of people’s lives can be controlled and/or altered to fit the principles of the domineering doctrine. Furthermore, everybody lived in roughly the same accommodation e.g. the director of the plant, the head teacher, doctors, mechanics and cleaners. They all shared the same staircases and their flats looked pretty much the same. This was (in appearance!) a classless society.

Starting from the bottom of this photo you can see two large schools, a primary and a secondary, next is a nursery, the Palace of Culture with its library, little town square dominated by a monument and some state run shops in the main street. There used to be only two or three cars in the whole town as well as a few buses. Children walked to the school, adults walked to the plant down the valley, or to the shops, everybody walked everywhere but everything as very close. From the point of safety everything as perfectly safe, there was just one old policeman for the 10000 inhabitants, (many spies of course but they had a slightly different mission!) children were safe and many families hardly needed to lock their front doors. On their day these flats were desired residences because they were clean and had all basic utilities in place. Most people have given bribes to the communist officials to live in one of those and like everything else they also belonged to the state although the rent paid was symbolical. In other words life was very simple.

PS. There is a Sunni mosque in the picture as well but that was not built by the communist regime, Albania was officially an atheist state at that time. The mosque was built by Saudi missionaries during the chaotic 90-s, it is less than 15 years but because nobody uses it, it looks very old and run down. Most people in Polican are either atheists or Bektashis (or both!) but there are hardly any practicing Sunnis. The presence of this mosque once again shows the relaxed attitude of Albanians towards the religions. So if you serve a god and have some cash Albania is the place to be, however if you want a congregation as well then you might be disappointed!

BennyV, avene, edge, mongen, holmertz ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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Additional Photos by Aleks Gjika (agjika) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 103 W: 39 N: 516] (3177)
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