Spring is the ideal time to visit the Plitvice region and it was just a weekend before Easter that we headed north to do some exploring. One of the places we wanted to see for a while now was Tito’s villa Izvor within Plitvice National Park.
Reaching the Villa
Following the signs to the newly built hotel “Fenomen Plitvice” and then continuing around 10 minutes to the end of the road will take you to the villa. It was a heavily guarded place although Tito stayed here only three times. There is a set of supporting buildings nearby which were according to some sources, connected by an 80 meters long underground tunel to the villa in the case of an attack. We did not look for the tunel this time as the villa itself is still stunning and well worth visiting.
Several hundred prisoners of WWII built the villa between 1948. and 1953.
An alternative name to this building is “Object 99” deriving from the presumed 99 people who died while construction lasted, but there is no supporting evidence. Other sources are claiming that it was the 99 workers who built it. The truth remains unknown.
The architects responsible were Rikard Marasović and Zvonimir Marohnić.
Apparently, even before WWII, in 1928., the government of the Kingdom of SHS, had plans to build 3-4 castles in the area imitating Swiss and local architecture.
As mentioned, Tito rarely visited the residence. He was more present at the Brijuni National Park and hunting in Bosnia and Baranja region. This object served as a government building to be used by local politicians all the way until the 1980s when it was taken over by Plitvice National Park.
Here are some images from the official NP Plitvice web site:
The Yugoslav Wars begun in the early 1990s. The area of Plitvice Lakes was one of the first areas to be hit by the military actions of rebel Serbs even using this villa as their headquarters.
The destruction came after the war.
Most of the items were looted after the war as the villa was not guarded, similarly to hundreds of other objects left from Yugoslavia. Almost all abandoned military installations were scrapped by the Romani people or locals.
I had a few similar stories in the past and here is one of them:
Nothing was considered sacred and nothing was left untouched. No one can understand why the government left all these valuable objects to get destroyed. After all, it belongs to the Croatian people and can be put to great use.
Villa is great for us who love abandoned buildings and it is easy to explore. However, one has to be careful as some parts of the building are collapsing.
Someone even tried to remove the stone steps…
Rooms were also scrapped of everything valuable a long time ago and even some wooden material was taken. Complete devastation.
I also went to see the kitchen installations on the ground floor that were the most interesting parts of the building for me.
Afterwards, we stepped outside to check out the inner courtyard. There are A LOT of brown mice running around hiding in the ruin.
One can get to the wonderful panorama point overlooking a stream way bellow the cliff. Woods are everywhere around.
This villa is just another example of Croatian negligence for its heritage. Apparently, Chinese investors have purchased the villa and will turn it into a 5 star hotel. When, we don’t know, but there is someone who does.