Fortification Trsat

Part of the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat overlooking Katarina, Rijeka, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia
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Year of build:
after 1941
Original name:
Fortification Tersatto
Military architecture
Past and Present Ownership of the Building/Site:

Private (Franciscan Monastery Trsat)

Typology and Style

The construction of this World War II military fortification facility began after 1941 (after Sušak fell under Italian rule). It is to be assumed that construction of the fortification on Trsat was started by the Italians and continued by the Germans. Although, according to the guidelines for the construction of fortifications from 1938 (Circular 7000), they were supposed to be simpler and more economical, this tunnel also has the characteristics of the above-mentioned tunnels on Drenova. It cannot be stated with certainty whether this fortification was primarily of a combat nature or served as a civilian shelter or as a warehouse for weapons.

Degree of preservation and status of protection

The bunker is unfinished but well preserved. The environment is arranged on the part of the entrance, which is located to the side of the sanctuary, and the outside entrance is blocked. All entrances are closed and locked, therefore no waste was found in the interior. Since 2010. following a decision by the Ministry of Culture, c.l. 2867 has the property of a cultural heritage. It is probable that this only applies to the sacral object in the immediate vicinity.

Architectural Description

The fortification consists of underground tunnels and above ground bunkers of a different type than those found in the western part of the city. Reinforced concrete bunkers are not directly connected to the underground corridors but are located close to the entrances. Their floorplan is square shaped and they have a concrete staircase leading to a second room with a circular hole in the roof where weapon was mounted. This leads one to think that the purpose of the tunnel was different from that of the west, and that the bunkers were used to protect the entrance (people or goods within), or that their construction began later (at the end of the war). The central room connecting all the tunnels is extremely large, approximately 140 m2, with square concrete boards on the vault. The part of the tunnel where the observatory probably was, has collapsed and earth material is blocking the junction towards one of the entrances.

History and Historical Context

Treaties of Rome dated 1941. redefine the border of Rijeka and its surroundings once again. According to mentioned treaties, Italy gained possession over the parts of Croatian littoral (including Sušak), parts of Gorski kotar, as well as parts of Dalmatia.

"From the moment of the Italian occupation of the town of Sušak, and its formal annexation to Rijeka within the “Provincia di Fiume”, this town was included among the Italian fortification plans. Authorities from former Yugoslavia did not build any significant fortifications in the town of Sušak, since the main stronghold in the so-called Sector II of the “Rupnik Line” (Yugoslav Defence System of the Western Borders) was Kamenjak above the Grobnik Field, and therefore only a few smaller machine bunkers were built in Sušak.

Unlike the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Italian army envisaged the construction of underground and above ground fortifications in different locations like Trsat and the Sveti Križ hill above Vežica, as well as on the western slopes of Martinšćica Bay.”


"Rimski ugovori". Hrvatska enciklopedija digital edition (Croatian encyclopedia) (in Croatian). Miroslav Krleža Institute in Zagreb.

TONIĆ V., Tragom „Alpskog bedema“ u Rijeci i Hrvatskoj, Rijeka: Slobodna Država Rijeka, 2011

Values of the Building

Cultural-historical and architectural.


The archival documentation for the construction of tunnels and bunkers was not found in the State Archives, which is logical given the fact that the construction of these facilities was a very well-kept secret at the time. It is not possible to exclude the possibility of archival documentation on the Rijeka fortifications in the military archive in Rome.

Trsat Approximate Floor Plan