Monday, 13 July 2015

Abandoned Bunkers and Pillboxes in the Dodecanese

Nations, like people, spend a lot of time and effort preparing for eventualities that do not always take place. In August 2014, I visited the Dodecanese islands of Kos and Rhodes on a summer trip. During my visits to several beaches, I noticed many derelict pillboxes and bunkers facing the Turkish coast.

I guess these structures were built by the Greek army to ward off an amphibious invasion from Turkey. But they could date back to earlier decades - before 1947 the islands belonged to Italy, and they suffered years of German occupation during WWII. Either of those powers could have built them in anticipation of a mainland attack.

 Seaside pillbox from Kos.

Sunken pillbox from Kos. This structure probably wasn't built in the water, but was later submerged after an earthquake. The coastline in the background is Asia Minor.

Another view of the submerged pillbox. This is a rather popular structure, it shows up on many tourist albums across the internet.

The defensive bunkers in Rhodes were built a few dozen meters inland, covering the beaches that faced the Turkish shore. Many of them were overgrown with vegetation.

Another bunker, used as a dumping ground for a nearby restaurant. I tried to get in, but they were rigidly shut down. A local told me that the bunkers are "all locked up because the kids keep doing drugs in them." I could only photograph few of these structures, but many more exist on the islands. They are fascinating glimpses of a world that has all but disappeared in the past few decades of the European union and the advent of mass tourism.