Tito’s Bunker and the Jablanica Bridge over the Neretva River were our next two visits on the stage from Jajce until Mostarin the 163 km that separate both populations, crossing a beautiful landscape.
The Armijska Ratna Komanda ARK D-0, also known as ARK D-0, the ark either Tito’s bunker It is located in the town of Konjic, on the route between sarajevo and Mostar, on the banks of the Neretva River.
It is an anti-nuclear bunker built in 1953 to protect the Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito, his family and the collaborators of his closest circle in case of an atomic bomb attack. The bunker has an area of almost 7,000 mtwo and in 1979, when its construction was completed, the estimated cost of building it was 4,600 million dollars (equivalent to 26,000 million dollars today).
During its construction, in the period of its existence, and even a decade after Tito’s death in 1980, it was a state secret until the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
Today, the facility belongs to the Ministry of Defense and is guarded by members of the Armed Forces. Converted into a museum, you can take a guided tour of the interior of its facilities, which have also been converted into an exhibition center.
The structure is made up of residential areas, conference rooms, offices, strategic planning rooms and other areas.
Outside, at a certain distance from the river and in an area of abundant vegetation, some small houses hide a great secret inside.
Three large armored doors more than a meter thick at the end of the corridor of one of the houses give access to the third largest facility in Yugoslavia, which is entered through a tunnel that leads to the heart of the shelter.
The fallout shelter was designed to withstand an explosion of 20 kilotons, an explosive power greater than that which Hiroshima endured. In addition, it was located in a strategic place in the heart of the Balkans that would allow a rapid evacuation of the Yugoslav leader in case of need.
It has a horseshoe shape and extends over 12 blocks, of which the most important are Block 6 (communications), 8 (Block of Tito), 9 (air filtration), 10 (fuel storage) and the 11 (water storage).
The facility has 100 rooms: bedrooms, two conference rooms, five operations centers, two kitchens, five large bathrooms, a cryptography center, cable television – which I don’t know what it would do in the event of a nuclear attack – and a hospital.
The visit to the bunker is necessarily guided and lasts approximately two hours and, although it is very interesting, so much time ends up being somewhat long – or so it seemed to me -, among other things, due to the guide’s limited command of English (which touched us), who ended up repeating over and over again the only ditty he had learned without entering into other types of explanations.
Getting to Tito’s bunker is somewhat complicated because it is not well signposted and the GPS took us by another route to some military installations where they indicated the correct path.
From the road, you have to take a small, poorly paved road and there is a sign indicating that tickets are purchased at a riverside cafe. Actually, you have to make a reservation because the visit is done in groups, but if there are free places, you can enter to be part of a group. From there, you are driven by car (in your own) to the entrance to the bunker.
There are three passes: at 10:00, at 12:00 and at 2:00 p.m. and admission costs 20 BAM (€10).
When we finished the visit, it started to rain like there was no tomorrow, so we stopped to eat. But the rain stopped when we visited the Bridge over the Neretva River.
The Bridge over the Neretva River in Jablanica
The Bridge over the Neretva River in Jablanica has, over time, become one of the most visited places in Bosnia Herzegovina as a symbol of the battle between the Yugoslav Partisans and the Axis forces during World War II.
The bridge was built in 1888 in Hungary, but by mistake the structure was built 4 meters shorter and had to be taken to Mostar. So a new bridge was built in England.
In the year 1943, the partisans destroyed all the bridges over the Neretva to stop the advance of the German troops, but that same year the Germans built a new railway bridge that was destroyed in 1968 during the filming of the movie “The Battle of the Neretva”. ”.
The director’s justification for demolishing the bridge, rather than shooting it in a studio, was that it would become a tourist attraction. The bridge was thus blown up, but since none of the footage could be used because of the smoke that made it impossible to see anything, it was decided that the bridge should be repaired and destroyed again. The problem with excessive smoke recurred, and the blown-up bridge scenes in the film were shot with a table-sized replica.
The existing truss of the demolished railway bridge, which fell to the left bank of the Neretva, has been maintained to this day with the necessary protection works against further collapse and deterioration. However, there is currently a project to reconstruct the bridge, as a tourist attraction.
By the way, one of the original posters for the English version of the film was made by Pablo Picasso who refused payment, requesting only a box of the best Yugoslav wines.
Next to the Bridge is the “Museum of the Battle of the Wounded on the Neretva River” -which we did not enter- and also, in Jablanica, there are many other historical remains of the epic fight of the Chetniks Yugoslavs, led by Tito, against German forces.
After the stop, we continue towards Mostar along one of the most beautiful road routes that I have enjoyed in all my trips, despite the downpour that ended up almost reaching Mostar and that, after flooding the road, forced us to stop on the shoulder for a good while.