If you have heard of Vis island, then you know why it’s slowly
becoming one of the most popular places to visit: the unique serenity
enveloping the entirety of the island, small villages which seem
stuck in time and countless secluded beaches. It’s a romantic
location indeed, but did you know that the entire island was almost
fully isolated from the outside world for almost 60 years?
That’s right, Vis wasn’t always a travelers dream it is today. Rather, between the 1940s and 1992., the entire island was used as a military base for the Yugoslavian National Army (commonly referred to by its acronym – JNA), and as such, only the military was allowed to be present and no outside visitors were allowed. What about the locals, you might be asking? Of course, if you were a resident of the island you were permitted to continue living there, but even then, there was a special permit needed for this, and not everyone was lucky enough to be granted one.
In the space of
just 90 km2 there are 30 different military objects,
ranging from rocket bases, airfields, submarine caves etc. If you are
a curious tourist, good news: you can still visit all of these
locations and take a peek at the once awesome power of a long-gone
Perhaps the most interesting remnant of these times is a complicated web of underground tunnels, spanning the entire island, commonly referred to as Tito’s Tunnels. Tito was the person in charge of Yugoslavia until his death in 1980. Of course, such position comes with a lot of risks and Tito was ever fearful of possible assassinations. In 1944., he took refuge on Vis, as this was one of the only places not under German occupation, and spent a total of 4 months until the German threat was gone. During this time, Vis was the center of the partisan rule and allied war missions. It only made sense for it to be used further after the war had ended.
Nobody is exactly
sure about the total length of these tunnels due to there being no
surviving documents detailing this, but one thing’s for sure: they
are long, dark, mysterious, labyrinth-like and incredibly inviting to
explore! There are several entrances scattered around the island, and
with zero restrictions, anyone wishing to enter can do so as they
please. Of course, we do not advise you to do this alone, it’s very
easy to lose your way in the belly of the island! Instead, opt for a
tour provided by many tourist agencies whose guides have spent
decades of their life exploring these tunnels. After all, fun facts
and the safety of being led by someone familiar with the layout
sounds like a much better time to me than tapping in the dark, going
in circles and trying to get your battery light to come back to life.
The bunker itself was equipped with everything one might need in case of a prolonged stay, such as medical rooms, a command center, numerous generators, storage rooms for rations etc.
The tunnels used
to be completely invisible, both from the air and from the sea. This
was achieved via tarps simulating rock faces which were draped over
any exit facing the sea. For the emergency exits located on top of
hills, JNA cleverly constructed small stone houses made to look like
regular civilian homes which still stand to this day.
If you walk
around the tunnels today, you will find blast doors still perfectly
in function, scattered army uniforms, many different cases and there
are even 3 cannons to find! Of course, most of the inventory left
behind was looted shortly after JNA left the island, but a large
portion still remains for you to check out yourself.
Tito’s tunnels are not the only construct of its kind on Vis. The
island is littered with numerous underground bunkers, caves used for
hiding war ships and submarines, machine gun nests and many more
various military buildings, but the tunnels are definitely the most
interesting and impressive relic, and one that will continue to
attract visitors for a long time.
https://lastavica.hr/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/island-vis-lastavica-main-1.jpg534800lastadminhttps://lastavica.hr/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/logo.pnglastadmin2020-02-24 13:04:222020-02-24 13:04:23The Secrets of Underground Vis
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