Petrova Gora and the numerous monuments found there has a special place in Croatia’s collective, national memory. After all, it was the place where last of Croatian kings was killed in the battle with Hungarians back in 1097. Ok, he was not really the king but just a feudal lord with pretensions to be the king but powerful Hungarian king Coloman the Learned (or Coloman the Book Lover) stood in his way.
But, it is also a place where a famous, now abandoned, partisan hospital from WW2 is still hidden. Video is at the end of the article.
The hospital is famous for being in operation from 1941. – 1945. without being discovered despite the continuous efforts of Nazis and their Ustashe allies. The hospital grew to up to 30 buildings at the end of the war. About 5000 patients passed through it. Both partisan fighters and local villagers from Kordun area. The hospital was abandoned in May 1945. when everything moved to liberated Karlovac. Besides the buildings, there were numerous subterranean structures/bunkers for hiding the ill.
Hospital after the WW2
The hospital was in poor shape when someone decided to restore everything in memory of the heroic struggle and the hardships. The huts were restored in the 1960s and with updated equipment it soon became a popular destination for school children and people just interested in exploring outdoors. Yugoslavia had a series of school trips designed for school children to keep the memory of heroic WW2 struggle and the unity of its nations. As we all know, it did not work. Back after the 1990s War for Independence. The hospital was abandoned again.
Unfortunately, the hospital was devastated and left without any care. We, all of a sudden, had different historic priorities and narratives. Now we worship different places and send school children to hear different stories. Of course, it will be the same result when the change comes as people who don’t respect their past are destined to repeat it to quote a smart man.
Abandoned Hospital Today
But, for now. This makes a great day trip! It is just about 1 hour from Zagreb or about 2,5 hours from Zadar (add an hour from Split). We chose a gloomy and foggy November day for the atmosphere. I cannot imagine visiting in nice weather 🙂
There are usually no visitors and one can park almost all the way to the start of the trail. The parking is big and spacious as it was built for big groups. To get there, it is best to follow Google Maps. It is a short drive out of Vojnić and there are signs by the road.
All buildings are completely empty except the operations room. There are medical artifacts still standing and it is completely eerie!
Unfortunately, about 1000 people have died of their wounds and they are buried in a nearby hospital cemetery. Another very interesting spot to visit!
All in all, the abandoned partisan hospital of Petrova gora makes a great trip. It is easily combined with nearby massive monument to the Uprising of People of Kordun and Banija and other historic spots.
Hopefully, the hospital will get a treatment that it deserves and will be added to UNESCO World Heritage list as it was nominated few years back.
Here you can learn more and here is my video of this special place:
More links to sites in Croatian: