Underground fortress "C-47"

Ulica Hrvatskog sabora, 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, Republic of Croatia and Parish of St. Simeone

Typology and Style

Underground military fort.

Degree of preservation and status of protection

The bunker is in a quite solid condition. The walls have retained their white colour which, probably, was restored after 1945. The rooms are not filled with rubbish. During socialist Yugoslavia, one steel dome was prepared for excavation, and one entrance (entrance B) was buried. The fort is not under any protection.

Architectural Description

The exact time of construction of the fort is unknown, but it probably began in the late 1930s following Circular no. 200. However, it is possible that construction was not completed until August 1940 because this is not visible on the Italian military map from that time. With its two cupolas, it covered the valley between the hill on which the village of Bokanjac is located and elevation 114 Čubrijan. The fort was built by the method of surface excavation so that the interior of the fortress was covered with metal beams that were poured with concrete and covered with 2-3 m of stone and soil. It has two combat positions in steel cupolas (Mod. 3 weighing 10 tons). The walls of the cupolas are 80 mm thick and made of steel cast. The body of the dome is made in one piece by the method of casting steel with an access shaft at the bottom. (the cupolas were made in the Ilva steel mill in Genoa). The cupolas were fixed to the concrete foundation by steel screws and then poured to the level of the loopholes with concrete for better protection. Each cupola had four protruding embrasures protected with 320 kg ball-shaped steel shields, each providing a 100 ° field of fire. Two FIAT Mod 14/35 calibre 8 mm machine guns could be used in one dome but opposed loopholes. Loopholes that were not occupied by a weapon could be closed by turning the sphere 90 °. The interior of the fort consisted of two large crew accommodation rooms (Dormitorio Truppa) and is accessible through the three entrance (Uscita A, B and C) led from the surface. From accommodation rooms, long corridors led to the combat positions (Postazioni N. 1 and 2). For the crew, the fort had a sanitary facility with two squats (Latrina), one tank with water (Serbatoio Aqua) and a food storage room. Air purifier (Aereatore) was located in another separate room and operated manually. This underground fortress is the shallowest underground fortress in the area of ​​Zadar. Its entrance "C" differs from all other entrances in similar forts.

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.

The fort was used by the Italian Army during the short so-called April war (attack of the Axis powers on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia from 6th April 1941 to 17th April 1941) and probably by the German Army in the years 1943 – 1944. During the Homeland War in Croatia from 1991 to 1995, it was extensively used by the Croatian Army.

Values of the Building

The fort is very valuable as a monument of military architecture. 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

Apart from the fact that the fort itself is interesting because of its underground rooms, its geographical location gives it a special charm, with a view of the city of Zadar and the surrounding islands.

New Cultural Tourist Offer Focused on Selected Building/Site

Although the fort is currently not in use as it serves as a storage for a private person, there is great potential for revitalization, mostly because it is very well preserved and there is the possibility of easy access and accommodation of even larger passenger vehicles. The whole area is interesting because of the lookout point with a beautiful view of the Velebit mountain, the sea and the city of Zadar.