The underground information centre for visitors to the Paklenica National Park was formally inaugurated on Sunday, and this multipurpose visitor centre is situated in the underground tunnels called the "Bunkers" which the armed forces of the Tito-led Yugoslavia started building in the early 1950s.
The centre project, worth over 30 million kuna, has resulted in the multipurpose hall, an artificial climbing wall, a gift shop and information centre as well as some other amenities for visitors in this national park.
Environment Protection Minister Slaven Dobrovic, who attended today's inauguration ceremony, said the underground visitor centre was one of the most important projects that would facilitate good management of the park.
The karst river canyon area of Velika and Mala Paklenica, located on the southern slopes of Mount Velebit in the hinterland of Zadar, was proclaimed a national park in 1949 thanks to its unique scenery and magnificent forests.
"The 'Bunkers' artificial cave complex had been built during a tense political situation between the former Yugoslavia and USSR from 1950 to 1953.
They were were supposed to serve as a shelter for the state and military leadership," according to information on the national park's web site.
The construction of the 'Bunkers' was highly confidential – a company of 500 soldiers and prisoners participated in its completion. The facility was first open to the public in June of 1991, when the metal door was removed.