Everyone out to get you? Build a city underground like Enver Hoxha. Tirana


You could argue that the Enver Hoxha, the communist leader of Albania from 1941 to his death in 1985 was a little paranoid. He believed everyone was out to get him, which led to an extreme bunker mentality. This not only manifested itself in the 170,000 plus small concrete bunkers built across Albania but in his preparations for governing Albania in the event of an attack.

Wolf's Lair. Visiting Hitler's secret headquarters in the far north of Poland.


In the forests of northern Poland, just 10km from the Russian border, lie the remains of Hitler's secret war headquarters. Despite the Nazi's own attempts to blow up the site as Soviet forces approached in January 1945 many buildings are in a reasonable state of repair. Walls made of thick reinforced concrete, and its remote location, have ensured one of the more unusual remnants of the Second World War is still standing.

Top 10 Things to do in Tbilisi


Tbilisi is fast becoming one of the top cities in Europe to visit. With a mixture of grand Soviet buildings blending in with Tsarist architecture and avenues which surround the old town, which is little changed since the 18th century, Tbilisi is a great place to explore.

Crossing Borders. How an Illegal Immigrant travelled to the UK



I have spent the last few weeks crossing over 10 borders as I traversed the countries that both surround and make up the old Yugoslavian Republic. Having both a UK and Australian passport meant the border checks for me were mostly cursory and, apart from long queues, not that stressful.

Celebrating a Local Hero, Josef Stalin. Gori


Josef Vissarionovich Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, in December 1878. His birth put the city on the map and was one of the first places to erect a statue to the Soviet leader. And it may well be the last city in the world to still have a statue of him in place. Despite his many atrocities and the destruction of any reminders of him elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc, Gori still remembers its local hero.

The ancient caves of Uplistsikhe


15km north of Gori in central Georgia lies the cave dwellings of Uplistsikhe. Situated high above the River Mtkvari, and surrounded by rich agricultural lands, it is one of the oldest settlements in Georgia, with archaeological findings showing that there have been signs of habitation for over 3,000 years, since the Bronze Age.

Hiding from the Mongols inside a mountain. Vardzia


In the twelfth century, the Mongol hordes were threatening to overrun Georgia, as they had already done to so many other countries. The warrior Queen Tamar ordered the construction of a hidden city, to provide safety and as a place of resistance should the Mongols succeed in their invasion, and the secret city of Vardzia was born.