While in Bosnia & Herzegovina this summer I was fortunate enough to visit Tito’s Bunker, located in the mountains outside the town of Konjic. I had done some research beforehand and had a general idea of what I was getting into, but to say that it exceeded my expectations would be a gross understatement. The bunker was created in the 1950s under Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, so I had originally (and unimaginatively) pictured a small, reinforced tunnel (or cave, or literally anywhere inside a mountain) that would house and protect a handful of important people for a few months should that be necessary.
Needless to say when what I found instead was essentially an underground city I was bewildered. Throw in the artwork featured in the 3rd edition of the Biennial Project, and, to say the least, I was more than blown away.
The bunker’s physical appearance and functional capacity astounded me- aside from the chill I didn’t feel like I was beneath hundreds of meters of rock and couldn’t believe how efficient every detail seemed to be.
Though it wasn’t the reason for our visit, I feel it important to pay tribute to the art installations- on one hand I enjoyed the installations of Project Biennial which were dispersed throughout the bunker (and honestly wish that we had time to wander through them). On the other hand, I felt somewhat distracted from the history of the bunker and feel that I could have benefitted from fewer distractions (either the art pieces themselves or our group being excited about them). Regardless, the installations created a haunted feeling throughout the space.
At one point one of our professors, a Serb himself, said to me that if something like Tito’s Bunker exists in former Yugoslavia what exists in the United States must be even more advanced. I was somewhat taken aback: not only was it something I had never considered before, but it made perfect sense. To my knowledge, there isn’t any site (ie. a once secret bunker now open to the public) that parallels Tito’s Bunker in the US.
Regardless, the bunker remains safely on the list of my top five places I’ve visited. Learn more here.