Before visiting Željava airbase, it is good to know something about the history of this place. Željava airbase was a Yugoslavian top secret underground military facility. It's official codename was Objekat 505. It was one of the largest underground military airports in Europe. The primary purpose of the base was to establish a long-term radar early warning system and to provide the strategy defense center for the defense of the Yugoslavia.
The base was constructed between 1948 and 1968. The construction was kept in upmost secrecy. The budged exceeded 6 billion dollars, which made it one of the most expensive military project in Europe. Željava airport was situated in the center of the whole military network of airports, radar outposts and other military facilities. This pair of Yugoslavia was set to play crucial part in the defence of the country.
The base was constructed to sustain a direct hit by a nuclear missile with the power of the Nagasaki bomb (20-kt). The population of the base was 1000 men. The whole size of the underground is around 3.5 square kilometres which makes the Željava the largest underground military airbase in former Yugoslavia and one of the largest in Europe.
The base was designed to protect country against foreign invasion. Its designer does not take to account the possibility of civil war. During the retreat of Yugoslavian National Army from this region, commanders decided that this secret facility could not fall to hand of any military fraction fighting in civil war. They have followed an old order issued by Marshal Tito himself to completely destroy the base before abandoning it. The massive amount of charges was deployed. Even such huge destruction power was not able to destroy the base completely. The base tunnels stayed standing, but the underground burned from the inside, destroying its functionality. Now the base lies there silently as a remnant of the former greatness of Yugoslavia, one of the most powerful countries in Europe, which was brutally torn apart in a bloody civil war.
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