Big Concrete Bunker "A-4"

Poljana Dragutina Domjanića, Zadar, Zadar County, Croatia
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Year of build:
Original name:
Past and Present Ownership of the Building/Site:

Past: Italian army; Present: City of Zadar

Typology and Style

Military object – bunker.

Degree of preservation and status of protection

The bunker is in a quite solid condition, but it is full of rubbish and drawn by graffiti. Lots of parts like doors etc. are missing. It is not under any protection.

Architectural Description

The bunker was built following Italian Circular 15000 from the 1939. It was probably built between August 1940 and September 1943. Its purpose was to cover the valley to the west with the village of Diklo, formal border between Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Italy and to the narrow valley north of the bunker. The entire bunker is built of concrete. The side walls are at least meter thick and the roof is over two meters thick. Apart from the position for the two FIAT Mod 14/35 8 mm heavy machine guns, these bunkers also have the protection for the blind spots. Thus, two light machine guns were located in the front semicircular compartment, the so-called "Caponir", between two heavy machine guns, and three more light machine guns were in the rear semicircular compartment, to the side of the front door. Also, blind spots were equipped with barrels for dropping hand grenades that would fall directly adjacent to the bunker walls in case enemy infantry is outside the reach of firearms. In total, six bunkers of this type have been built in the Zadar area and all of them are almost identical, except in some details. This type of bunker is entered through a steel door equipped with a small loophole in a short corridor in the shape of the letter "L". Corridor leads to the central part of the bunker or above-ground room-shelter. The hallway on the inside is protected by a small loophole embedded in the inner partition wall. To the right of the room are circular concrete steps leading to an underground level that was also intended for shelter and storage. On the left side of the above-ground room is a narrow corridor leading to the rear capon, and in the centre of the room, four steps are leading to two main positions for heavy machine guns and the front capon. It should be noted that these bunkers were equipped with a general ystem for the protection against poisons, so the soldiers could connect the pipes of their protective masks to a common filter whose pipes were in the walls of the bunkers.

History and Historical Context

With the end of the First World War and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Zadar belonged to the Kingdom of Italy. However, encircled with the territory of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia Zadar represented the enclave on the eastern Adriatic coast. Learned from the end of the war and growing mistrust, all European countries began defining borders and building bunkers. Italy starts off construction of the fortifications in 1931, shortly after the issuance of circular no. 200. Zadar gained particular importance as an enclave in addition to the defensive functions it also served as a springboard for new conquests.

It was used by the Italian Army during short so-called April war (attack of the Axis powers on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 6th April 1941 till 17th April 1941) and probably by the German Army in years 1943 – 1944. After the end of World War II, the bunker was abandoned and left to decay and devastation.

Values of the Building

It is a state-of-the-art military architecture and most sophisticated type of bunker built before the capitulation of Italy. There is historical and architectural value as part of the Italian fortification ring that developed around Zadar in the period between the two world wars.

Description of the Urban Context and Development

In the suburban village of Diklo, popular tourist destination, at the height of 22 m above sea level, there is a bunker around which modern housing is skillfully integrated. In addition to being very accessible, there is a beautiful view of the of the sea, green fields and pine trees from the position.

New Cultural Tourist Offer Focused on Selected Building/Site

Since this bunker is located near several apartments and hotel complex and has good access and parking possibilities, in the future can become a tourist destination or can be converted into other civilian purposes.