• Konjic is a small, pleasant city, a half-hour drive south of Sarajevo. Few knew that it concealed one of the greatest secrets in Yugoslavia
    Konjic is a small, pleasant city, a half-hour drive south of Sarajevo. Few knew that it concealed one of the greatest secrets in Yugoslavia
  • The medieval bridge throws its vaults over the Neretva River as further down the valley goes through one of Europe's finest canyons
    The medieval bridge throws its vaults over the Neretva River as further down the valley goes through one of Europe's finest canyons
  • BoCM followed a column of visitors to Tito's Atomic Bullet in Konjic
    BoCM followed a column of visitors to Tito's Atomic Bullet in Konjic
  • An authentic Bosnian policeman gets us into the bunker entrance itself
    An authentic Bosnian policeman gets us into the bunker entrance itself
  • We approached, the entrance was very well camouflaged
    We approached, the entrance was very well camouflaged
  • An apparently plain village house conceals one end of the pressure relief tunnel where the entrance hides
    An apparently plain village house conceals one end of the pressure relief tunnel where the entrance hides
  • Here is the main entrance, perpendicular to the arc tunnel, it leads into the actual living rooms almost 300 meters under the mountain Zlatar
    Here is the main entrance, perpendicular to the arc tunnel, it leads into the actual living rooms almost 300 meters under the mountain Zlatar
  • This map shows the baseline of the bunker
    This map shows the baseline of the bunker
  • The picture shows how the inner rooms have independent structure in distance from the outer walls. In some places, these are placed on huge rubber pads to counteract any shake from explosions
    The picture shows how the inner rooms have independent structure in distance from the outer walls. In some places, these are placed on huge rubber pads to counteract any shake from explosions
  • Diesel tanks supplied aggregates etc. for almost 11 years, before replenishing. Currently, no one knows who will take the costs by keeping the central machinery in operation
    Diesel tanks supplied aggregates etc. for almost 11 years, before replenishing. Currently, no one knows who will take the costs by keeping the central machinery in operation
  • The entrance to the technical room and the "nerves center" itself
    The entrance to the technical room and the "nerves center" itself
  • One of the smaller emergency units
    One of the smaller emergency units
  • The water circulation pump provides clean pressure water throughout the plant
    The water circulation pump provides clean pressure water throughout the plant
  • All air in the system is filtered through several large filters that must also be able to remove radioactive particles
    All air in the system is filtered through several large filters that must also be able to remove radioactive particles
  • Remote Desktop, maybe a dear memory for many of us who remember the time before the computer network and the internet
    Remote Desktop, maybe a dear memory for many of us who remember the time before the computer network and the internet
  • Part of the telecommunications center with telephone lines to all parts of Yugoslavia. On questions, or could not, the current responsible for the bunker say if they were still operational
    Part of the telecommunications center with telephone lines to all parts of Yugoslavia. On questions, or could not, the current responsible for the bunker say if they were still operational
  • The situation room, where data from external sources is gathered and presented to decision makers around the table
    The situation room, where data from external sources is gathered and presented to decision makers around the table
  • Before the PC monitors were the plot that came from here, from the plot room part of the room, now with artistic design
    Before the PC monitors were the plot that came from here, from the plot room part of the room, now with artistic design
  • Tito's private apartment with delicate furniture, wrapped in plastic as if they came from the store yesterday. The Red Phone is in place here too.
    Tito's private apartment with delicate furniture, wrapped in plastic as if they came from the store yesterday. The Red Phone is in place here too.
  • The bedroom in 40 has been ready for use, but nobody could answer if Tito had actually been in the Command Center
    The bedroom in 40 has been ready for use, but nobody could answer if Tito had actually been in the Command Center
  • Tito's work room with desk and of course the red phone
    Tito's work room with desk and of course the red phone
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In the atomic bin: Bjarne Eikefjord
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 4. September 2017

Secret rooms in Europe: BoCM visits top secret, nuclear safe bunker

Atomic weapons created around the middle of the last century a real fear that humanity would fall into a nuclear ragnack. Atomic clouds grew against the sky as more and more countries developed and tested their own nuclear weapons. But some wanted to survive a possible nuclear war.

The nuclear weapons dramatically changed the war's former natural laws to survive by killing their enemies. It became clear to most people that if you tried to use nuclear weapons against their enemies, you would also be guaranteed to go to bed. More specifically, expressed through the MAD strategy, which was not "madness" but for Mutual Assured Destruction. The logic of the terrorist balance was that since all parties could safely destroy each other, no one would use nuclear weapons. Clean except that the globe would be uninhabitable to most living beings, except scorpions and cockroaches found to be immune to radioactive radiation. This worked in some ways for decades.

Huge investments

Several countries spent huge funds on building underground bunker plants that would secure political and military leadership in the event of nuclear war. In the United States there are three famous atomic safe commands. In Norway's neighborhood there is an alleged nuclear-proof bunker plant in northern Germany "somewhere" between Lübeck and Hamburg. The Britons and the French have their own. These are thought to be able to withstand direct hits from nuclear weapons up to a few megatons. Norway has an underground commando for government and defense management in "a mountain somewhere in southern Norway", but this is considered not to be able to withstand direct hits from nuclear weapons. Interior architecture, security systems, supply logistics and other construction are surprisingly similar, almost as you would think it was a common architect who has prepared the basic drawings. The facilities are still top secret and require very high security clearance for access.

The surprise

One day in 2003, a pair of uniforms arrived at a petrol station in the city of Konjic and wanted to buy diesel, a lot of diesel. So much so that the station owner notified the authorities. It led to the discovery of the Top Secret Atomic Command Commander, ARK, (Atomic Ratna Komanda, Atomic War Command) that Josip Broz Tito had built from 1953 and up to 1979. During the construction period of 26 years, approximately 800 billion Norwegian kroner in the plant which is on the entire 6400 square meter below the Zlatar mountain, which extends 280 meters above the bunker itself. The entrances are hidden in two seemingly quite common village houses. Between them, a huge arcuate tunnel, which will cause the pressure wave from a possible atomic bomb attack, goes out before it enters the plant itself through the main entrance which is hidden behind a huge armor door approximately in the middle of the arc tunnel. (The Norwegian bunker lacks this pressure-rejection system and is therefore considered not to be able to withstand direct nuclear weapons attacks).

Yugoslavia's biggest secret

With the code name "Istanbul", the Konkic atomic binoculars until 2003 were so secret that not once the authorities in Bosnia knew about it. The construction workers got their eyes closed when they were transported to the building site. When the bunker was finished in 1979, only 16 people knew about it: 3 generals and 13 soldiers who were going to keep the plant running, all subject to the strictest duty of confidentiality that lasted until the stocks of diesel were about to go empty and threatened the other infrastructure with destruction. The authorities in Bosnia spent the next decade to find out what to do with the bunker. Finally, it was decided that it should never be part of military action, but it should be opened to the public. The 5 Biennale in 2019, with participants from both Russia and the United States; will mark the symbolic end of the military phase of the bunker, while opening it for a unique art project.

A time capsule

The atomic bin in Konjic, a small town around 40 km. south of Sarajevo, appears today as a time capsule, a place where time has stood still since 1979. BoCM was given the opportunity to attend a tour. A long and crooked road led from Konjic, via a military settlement, to the entrance, which was hidden by a typical village house. From there, an arcuate pressure relief tunnel enters the mountain to the main entrance behind a huge armored door. Once closed, the pressure from a possible atomic explosion outside would be led to and fro into the open air again. Inside, we first come to some submarine submarine engines that could produce all the power needed to operate the ventilation systems, light, heating and moisture removal from the more than 100 rooms where 350 military and political leaders could stay for six months without supplies outside.

Telecommunications

All technical equipment works, although the latest is almost three decades old. The remote center was previously the center of nerves in all communications. From the telecommunications center, telephone lines go out to all of the former Yugoslavia, and from there, Tito and his military leaders could stand the warfare directly. If there was anything left to war. We also know what is now referred to as "situation room" and "briefing room", which is also found in Norway. At that time, the plot was applicable, today the plots have been replaced with huge TV screens that can capture images from satellites, fixed cameras, or even a soldier's helmet camera while participating in the battle's heat on the other side of the globe.

Remote

A central secret commander is considered to be crucial for political and military leadership in a war situation. It can also be used for purposes other than a nuclear war. Central to crisis management is to take care of the information. From these command centers it is therefore possible to remotely control TV and radio transmitters so that what comes out is the information that government and defense management believes is important in support of a possible crisis management in, for example, a war situation. And at the same time cut off the counterparty's ability to drive impact, confusion and undermining through the spread of false news and propaganda.

nerve Centers

The medical centers are considered to be the centers of nerve in any command center of this type, something that Tito's atomic bombs testify to. It was the best of 1980's telecommunications equipment we could see, although this equipment is for the longest time museum objects in relation to the equipment found in still operational commands in a number of other countries. In areas such as architecture, content and structure, the Tito Command Center in Konjic does not distinguish itself from other similar centers, such as Norway, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. It's almost so one can wonder if they are made from common groundings ... ..

Comfort

Josip Tito's private mate looked like they were decorated yesterday. Tasteful wood, sofa, chairs, quilts, pillows, bedding and other wrapped in plastic looked as if it came from the store yesterday. He had two command points, one in the actual room, and one in the private apartment, both with a red phone within reach. The bathroom was made of exquisite materials and beautiful colors. At all, Tito could lead the war from a very comfortable command center.

supplies

A huge sister gets water from underground intake from the river Neretva that flows close by. Here there were pumping plants and treatment plants to ensure clean and safe drinking water and sufficient water for cleaning. Two huge diesel tanks managed to keep the aggregates running for 11 years, from the war began in 1992 and up to 2003. The bedrooms were made bright and cozy, obviously that those who had to stay there should have the most comfort. Nevertheless, the idea is: What would these have had if the cold war had become hot, and the nuclear weapons had left the earth as a smoking, lifeless desert where only scorpions and cockroaches would survive.

How to get there?

Konjic is located on the main road between Mostar and Sarajevo. The road itself is a destination with one of Europe's finest canyons. Easiest is the highway from Zagreb via Split to Caplina, and then up the Neretva Valley to Sarajevo. Great campsites in Jablanica, just south of Konjic, and in Sarajevo itself.

Traffic rules: Mostly "Norwegian" speed limits, much more radar control than in Norway. The traffic environment in Bosnia has been greatly improved in the last decade. Main roads are of a good standard.

Price level: Between fourth and third of corresponding in Norway.

Bunker visit: Arranged by Visit Konjic, www.visitkonjic.com

Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays: Three times a day. Sundays twice daily.

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