House of Leaves
House of Leaves
4.5
Speciality Museums • History Museums
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
166 reviews
Excellent
93
Very good
56
Average
12
Poor
3
Terrible
2

Emily
Baltimore, MD43 contributions
Solo
Summaries in Albanian and English, but I recommend having the staff guide you through, he showed me things I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, as some exhibits are not-so-obviously labeled. Personally, I enjoyed BunkArt2 better, but the staff informed me that one is privately funded, whereas House of Leaves relies on state funding - understandable. Don’t miss the bunker they have in the front terrace, very cool!
Written January 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Claudia D
Koenigstein, Germany153 contributions
It is in interesting museum, since it provides a lot of details on the Albanian secret service activities during communism time. However, they show lots of "instruments" and often the explanations are quite long. A little bit less would be more... Nonetheless, the museum is worth to visit.
Written July 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

G D
Nicosia, Cyprus103 contributions
A museum on the methods and techniques used by the Communist regime to spy on their own people, but also on foreign embassies and hotels/foreign visitors, and the museum is installed at the very centre of this former surveillance activities. A what seems exhaustive collection of equipment that was used for surveillance including voice recorders, bugs, cameras etc.
The museum has some overlap with the BunkArt2 museum, and has a narrower scope than BunkArt2.
Interesting, recommended when visiting Tirana.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom P
Great Malvern, UK117 contributions
Solo
In a city with several good museums telling the bleak story of life under the communist regime, this is probably the best.

This building was the main intelligence centre for a vast surveillance network that kept the population in fear and under tight control.

The level of sophistication used to bug homes is both scary and impressive. If only the Hoxha regime had put as much effort into the welfare of the population...

The building is actually an old maternity hospital. The irony that a place meant to bring life into the world was used as a way to end it adds to the tragedy.

Now it faces the orthodox cathedral, which feels like a fitting response from the city, as if it is asking for forgiveness.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

B1714D
Belgrade, Serbia14,610 contributions
Frankly, I didn't spend much time here as I knew exactly what to expect. It's another showcase of communist paranoia I've visited in many ex communist countries all over eastern Europe.
Moreover, House of Leaves depicts the similar theme as the Bunkart 2 which is 5 min walk and I found it more interesting as it's in an original bunker.
However, for those not so familiar with this frantic topic, it's a good place to learn on spy and interrigation activities, some of them so imaginative that James Bond could envy.
Written August 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Monkwell
Nottingham, UK11 contributions
Family
This museum has so much potential but was pretty poor. I have been to communist, soviet etc museums across the Eastern bloc from Uzbekistan to Germany. This was the weakest. It had had some money spent on it, but was dominated by photocopies over light boxes. It was woefully short on personal narratives. There were some videos that had a go, but they were always snippets. There were some interesting artefacts but it was pretty weak.
Written August 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

KittieMeow
Morristown, NJ114 contributions
Solo
Its not an ancient site but worth to pay a visit. It only takes a couple of hours for the tour. Sadly its about how a hospital where cured human bodies became a torture place. A history for us to learn and a place to remind us to be a better human being...
Written October 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

straea
United States269 contributions
Solo
This little museum was a good introduction to a part of history I personally had no knowledge of. The museum is in the building that was originally Albania's first obstetrics clinic; then the regional headquarters of the Gestapo; then a place where Albania's secret police, the Sigurimi, tortured people; then the regional headquarters of the Sigurimi's secret surveillance division. The museum focuses mostly but not exclusively on the surveillance operations. Signs and labels are in both Albanian and English; there are copies of many original documents on display, but none of the documents have been translated. The museum took the unusual step of having signs posted in some rooms that the room was bugged, which may sound outlandish, but in testimony a victim of surveillance described in some detail how his family was aware they were under surveillance.

My favorite part of this museum was the rooms with witness testimony and documentaries — a mix of survivors and relatives. There is a room at the end of the upper floor that has them in both Albanian and English (some translated through dubbing, others through subtitles), and the room just before the exit runs a loop of a compilation of testimonies, including some of the same people I watched in the previous room (but with little overlap in testimony). The first of the two rooms also has some propaganda films and the room display highlights the propaganda films, so I'm not sure anyone else who was visiting when I was realized there were also documentaries available to view.

I did not learn anything about Albanian history in school, and though Albania's dictatorship collapsed while I was in high school, my history teacher did not even discuss that current event. I thought this museum was a good introduction to the subject, particularly the introductory film in the first room and listening to the victim/relative testimony I have mentioned. I did not visit BunKart 1 while I was in Tirana as I was staying by the city center, so I cannot compare the two as some reviews for each museum have done.

A final note: Only one or two rooms have air conditioning and it can get quite warm in the building, so I advise bringing a bottle of water in summer.
Written August 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AlexSwallow
Sheffield, UK1,501 contributions
A very interesting museum with lots in English- and the staff were helpful too.

If you want to learn a little about what it was like to live under the Communist Regime in Albania, this is the place to go (alongside Bunk Art 1 and 2).
Written September 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Janos K
5 contributions
This is a museum of atrocities committed by the secret police under Hodja during his long reign. The role of this unit was to spy against the citizens and visiting foreigners to assure that there was no dissent real or imaginary against the regime. It depicts all the various means it employed in doing so within an otherwise leafy villa in the centre of the city.
Written June 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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