The popular Croatian National Park Paklenica, apart from climbing and mountaineering has recently enriched its offer with walks through its tunnels which were excavated 60 years ago and shrouded in secrecy. At the foot of the neck-breakingly high Velebit cliffs there is an entrance to vast corridors of the tunnel complex which seems to be endless.
These underground tunnels from the past of Paklenica have been turned into the tunnels of the future. The armed forces led by Tito, the president of the former Balkan country of Yugoslavia, started to build the so called ''Bunkers'' in the early 1950s. The artificial cave complex was built during a tense political situation between the former Yugoslavia and USSR in the period from 1950 to 1953. According to information on the National Park's website, these bunkers were supposed to serve as a shelter for the state and military leadership.
The construction of the 'Bunkers' was highly confidential – a company of 500 soldiers and prisoners participated in its completion. The facility was first opened to the public in June of 1991, when the metal door was removed.
So far more than 1,000 square metres of the underground complex from the past have been converted into the centre project with a multipurpose hall, an artificial climbing wall, a gift shop and an information centre.
''This is a unique project which offers a completely new and unusual attraction and programs'', said Slaven Dobrovic, the Croatian Minister of the Environmental and Nature Protection.
The National Park Paklenica is a favourite destination of climbers from all around the world where the tourist season lasts from March to November, this year a record breaking 122,000 visitors are expected to visit the park.