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Albania opens mysterious, isolated island

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/04/2017

Albania's defence ministry has agreed to open Sazan Island, a military base still under its management, to tourists during the summer months.

Defense Minister Mimi Kodheli and Economy Minister Milva Ekonomi have signed an agreement to allow visits from May until October.

The island, once a fortified, isolated spot and a mystery to most Albanians, has bunkers and tunnels designed to withstand nuclear attacks and remains officially a military base though only a couple of soldiers remain there. It has no civil population.

Ekonomi said that visiting the island will help promote tourism in the country, which remains a main source of income for the cash-strapped Balkan nation. Some 4.7 million tourists visited Albania in 2016.

Sazan Island, Albania's largest island at 5.7km2, is strategically located where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. It enjoys warm winters and hot summers, its climate and vegetation resembling those of nearby Crete and Tunisia.

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