Spac was built as a prison on the model of the Stalinist gulag, combining imprisonment with forced labour in the nearby mines. It was just one of Albania’s prisons but the vicious conditions of the mine and the high profile of some of the political prisoners, many of them intellectuals, has given it a particular symbolic importance for Albanians.
There is currently no interpretation offered of the site, though a local guide whose father worked at the prison and who lives nearby will guide you if you have a translator from Albanian. Nevertheless, walking the site alone you can still see the rooms where up to 50 prisoners slept, and – most distinctively – the political slogans and quotes from Enver Hoxha carefully painted on every wall. His works were also read aloud for hours at a time to the prisoners.
The prison is – deliberately of course – inaccessible, and this is true even with the new road that’s been built to reach it through impressive mountains. You will need a car or taxi to get there.