Underground Fort (Shelter) "Enrico Totti",

Franjo Tuđman Street, Zadar, Zadar County, Croatia
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Underground military fort
Year of build:
Original name:
Past and Present Ownership of the Building/Site:

Past: Italian Army, Boris Kidrič factory and public; Present: part private (Lignum Company) part public

Typology and Style

Underground military fort – shelter.

Degree of preservation and status of protection

The fort is in the quite solid condition, but it is full of garbage, and lots of parts like doors etc. are missing. It is not under protection.

Architectural Description

The building is an underground military fort, and during the construction of the fort, in the 1930s, the existing terrain features were well utilized. Between the north stone wall of the French rampart and the road was a few meters deep and wide canal (buried) in which the fort was built. The interiors were first covered with metal beams and then covered with concrete and buried several meters high with stones and soil. The fort has four entrances (Ingreso A, B, C and D), two of which are at the level of the surrounding terrain and two on the roof of the fortress. Inside are two large staff accommodation rooms, each with one separate smaller room. Inside there is also a toilet with a squat (Latrina) and a separate room with a manually operated air purifier (Aereatore). The entrances, at the level of the surrounding terrain, are protected by a machine gun loop. The fort was not intended for combat purposes, but as a shelter for senior Italian officers in the Zadar Defense Command.

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 war, the fort was probably used as a shelter in case of the war for the workers of a nearby factory.

Values of the Building

In the architectural sense, the building is very valuable because it represents a blend of military construction from the 19th and 20th century. It is also of historical 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

Near the city centre, in the defensive ditch of the French rampart from the time of the Napoleonic Wars, is a shelter intended for the Zadar Defense Command built in the first half of the 20th century. Skilfully masked with a layer of soil and grass and in the shade of pine trees, it is very difficult to detect and therefore unknown to the local population.

New Cultural Tourist Offer Focused on Selected Building/Site

Although the fort is not currently operational, there is great potential for its revitalization for civilian purposes, especially since its location is near the old city centre. This building can become the hot spot for all the people who would like to find out something about bunkers around Zadar and discover their location. Also, this place is suitable for exhibitions, seminars, etc.