Gjadër Air Base

In the north of Albania, we had found a lost military airbase from the communist era. On the internet there are some fascinating pictures of this place, so we went to have a look.

Driving over the lost airfield

Link to the pictures which had us visit this place: URBEXTOUR

What we found on Wikipedia:
Gjadër Air Base is a military airport located in Gjadër, Lezhë County, Albania. It was built near a mountain to allow aircraft after landing to go into a tunnel under the mountain. The tunnels have a capacity of storing about 50 aircraft, plus personnel.

The airfield was built to minimise the threat from the Yugoslav Air Force entering Albanian airspace. To counter any Yugoslavian aircraft, the most modern aircraft, the F-7A, was based here. Construction of the base began in 1969, but because of its complexity, it wasn’t finished until the mid-1970s. The first aircraft to use its runway landed on 10 July 1973, and the official opening was held on 15 March 1974.

On 12 March 1997, the base was stormed by local people during a national revolt against the Albanian government. Several buildings, including the control tower, were destroyed. On March 16th, soldiers abandoned the air base. Lack of funds prevented the base from being repaired, and flying operations ceased in 2000. It is now used as a storage facility for fighter aircraft withdrawn from service. No Albanian air force aircraft are permanently based there.

Discussing with the military guard if we could enter the zone. He was friendly but said NO!
But we found a way to get closer …
… a “homemade” hanging bridge for crossing the river to get into the restricted area!
Another gate, no way to get in!
Entrance to the main aircraft tunnel at the rear.
Entrance to a bunker outside the restricted area.
Now used as a cowshed
Another open entrance to the bunker system. 
Tunnel connecting two bunkers 
Easy to access the airfield

3 thoughts on “Gjadër Air Base”

  1. I’ve been to the same place in 2019 by mistake. The road SH-29 goes from one side of Drin river to the other, but if you stay at the right side of the river you can go forward few kms. After a while you will see that this road is not used, but still you can go. Then at a certain point there is a barricade with barbed-wire which stops you (at least I didn’t try to cross). So, if you forget to go through the bridge coming from Barbullush.

  2. I’m born and risen in that place.
    Just 30 years before that place was shining.. that building was the hotel of pilots. And everything was in order and flowers 🌺 everywhere. To take a picture to that objects that time was risking 3-4 years prison.
    Thanks for sharing this pictures!

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