Hidden in the Velika Paklenica canyon, there are underground tunnels, popularly called “Bunkers”. They were built by the Yugoslav Army between 1950 and 1953, amid tense political climate between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union (USSR). What was hidden behind the bricked shafts of the Velika Paklenica canyon was a well-kept secret until the beginning of the Homeland War in 1991, when the Croatian army started to use the 1,500 m2 facility as a storage. After the end of the Homeland War, Public Institution “Paklenica National Park” was given the right to permanently use the Bunkers. Having recognised the great potential of the facility, back in 2000, the Park Administration commenced with the works of reconstructing it into a presentation centre. In August 2016, the presentation centre “Underground Secrets of Paklenica” officially opened its doors to visitors, who were given the opportunity to see the fruits of years-long labour.
Multifunctional hall “Little Climbing Centre”
Visitors can enjoy the “Little Climbing Centre”, situated in the multifunctional hall that also houses an artificial climbing wall inviting them to make their first climbing steps. Visitors can also learn about climbing in a fun and interactive way, by means of screens on the walls of the hall, which include the presentations “Short Dictionary of Climbing”, “Short History of Climbing” and “School of Knot Tying”.
Artificial climbing wall
Interactive “School of Knot Tying” and “School of Climbing”
In the second part of the centre, the visitors can learn more about the first climbers in Paklenica, and find out the details from the life of Dragutin Brahm, who is known as the first climber in Paklenica. In addition, visitors are given the opportunity to learn about the work of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service by listening to interesting stories of its members. Premises of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service are located nearby as they care about the safety of visitors during the season. In the last part of the centre, the “Backpack” exhibition provides visitors with information on how to prepare for climbing and how to make sure they have all the necessary equipment before they start exploring the hiking trails.
For those wishing to take home a souvenir to remind them of their visit to the Centre, a new souvenir shop is going to be opened in the spring of 2017, as well as the coffee shop “Bunker”.
Coffee shop Bunker
Permanent museum exhibitions titled “Velebit Mountain” and “Man and Velebit” will be displayed in the last two halls whose adaptation has not been finished yet. Their completion requires securing of EU funding.