The Dark Past: The Museum of Secret Surveillance

In the heart of Tirana, the capital of Albania, there is a unique museum that reveals the dark side of this country’s history.

Known as the House of Leaves (al. Shtepia me Gjethe) or the Museum of Secret Surveillance (al. Muzeu i Përgjimeve të Sigurimit të Shtetit), this institution is a witness to the secret operations that took place during the communist regime.

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The building where the museum is located today was once the center of the Albanian secret service, known as the Sigurimi. It was founded by Enver Hoxha, the dictator who turned Albania into one of the most isolated countries in the world.

The building was the headquarters of the Gestapo during the Second World War, and from 1944 to 1991 it served as the central directorate of the Secret Service of Albania.

 

 

The House of Leaves, named after the leaves that covered the facade at the time, opened as a Secret Surveillance Museum in 2017, focusing on the persecution, wiretapping, and psychological violence against Albanian citizens and the ways in which the Sigurimi sought to control people’s bodies and minds.

About 2,000 objects are exhibited in the museum, such as cameras, projectors, dictaphones, telephone listening devices, tape recorders, detectors, devices for transcription of audio material, photo cameras…

 

 

 

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The House of Leaves is located in the very heart of Tirana, just 50 meters from Bunk’Art 2, another popular museum in the city.

Its proximity to the city’s main attractions makes it easily accessible for tourists and locals alike.

 

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