“Take Nothing But Photos, Leave Nothing But Footprints” – that´s what is called an urbex code.
It all started several years ago when 2 complete strangers decided to meet because of a very particular hobby – urban exploration. One thing lead to another ( no, this does not end with a love story ), they became best friends hanging out, traveling, and sharing this special interest … Hm, ok, maybe it sound like a love story.
Urbex spread like a disease among our little group, showing us the world that many of us did not know it existed. The best thing about it – it was everywhere around us.
Did I catch your interest jet? Ok, so let s explain what it is – it is term that combines visiting, exploring, taking photos, documenting and just enjoying the locations ( man-made structure ) that have once been in use but for some reason they just got forgotten about. Unfortunately, but thankfully for us, Croatia is like a gold mine for these kinds of places and because of a very interesting and turbulent history, today we are left with a forgotten heritage that most likely will not be used again.
Abandoned buildings, tunnels, underground bunkers, military bases, factories, hospitals and much more, hidden from plain sight are the places where urban explorers find beauty and significance in the dust and ruins. Think about it – who decides which doors to close and which to open, what will be on the “must see” list and what won´t make it on.
For all of us there is a deep attraction towards these places, but not only because of the place itself, but because of the story behind it. Looking at it from a tour guide’s point of view, I want to tell those stories, because often the beauty of something lays in the secrets it hides.
Here are some of the examples:
- Željava Airbase
Located only 25 minutes of ride from the most popular national park in the Balkan region – Plitvice lakes, the biggest underground airbase in this part of Europe is waiting for some better times. Sadly, I think it is to late, but still visiting it is a special experience. It´s code-named is “Object 505” and it was the largest military airport and base in the former Yugoslavia. Until the Croatian Homeland War in 1991 it was a secret but unfortunately it was destroyed so today it is slowly decaying and standing as a reminder to a now forgotten era of Croatian and East Europe.
- Yugoslavian Monuments
Better known as “Spomeniks”, are abstract anti-fascist monuments scattered all around former Yugoslavia and with many of them destroyed, we still have enough of the to remind us on this part of history. Some of them are a symbol of fight, triumph or memory; some are dedicated to fallen heroes, to people. They each have a story and a very interesting unusual location. Just in the circle of 100km around Zagreb we can find 3 of them: Jasenovac, Podgarić, Petrova Gora
- Goli otok
Yes, we have a deserted island in the North part of Adriatic sea that was used as a political prison complex after the WW 2 where prisoners were forced to do hard physical work regardless of weather conditions. Today this notorious place is abandoned but with leftovers from this, not so good, part of Croatian history open for enthusiasts like us who want to explore more.
I think I could write forever about this topic, so for the sake of leaving you hanging a bit, I am going to stop. I always encourage people to explore more – a different kind of adventure – urbex tour; so we made it sure to organize such tours for people who want to visit this beauty in decay which will maybe be enough to push them out of a comfort zone.
I want to hear your urbex experience so be sure to write.