Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

A BIZARRE new tourist attraction which used to house a fleet of Soviet fighter jets underground could open to the public soon.

Carved into a stunning mountainside, the James Bond-style Zeljava Underground Airbase in the Balkans has been abandoned for decades.

AFPThe eerie entrance is seemingly frozen in time[/caption]

AFPThe incredible Zeljava Air Base was built to survive the third world war[/caption]

AFPMassive rusting fuel tanks litter the tunnels[/caption]

AFPAn American war plane has been abandoned by the entrance to the base[/caption]

Situated on the border of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the airbase was one of the largest military complexes in Europe.

The incredible base was built to withstand a massive 20-kilotonne nuclear blast during the height of Cold War tensions.

During the wars that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990s, however, the facility was destroyed using powerful explosives.

Stunning photos show the remains of mangled metal reinforcements and cavernous ceilings deep underground.

With more than two miles of underground tunnels and room to house 1,000 Soviet troops, the sprawling base was a sight to behold.

It also had five runways and could hold 60 fighter jets, but was blown up during the wars in the 1990s.

Mirsad Fazlic, a former pilot who worked in the base for a decade said: “All the systems were state of the art at the time. It was the then best military and civilian technology.”

But in 2016, decades after the base was abandoned for good, public interest began to rise in the mysterious location.

The massive concrete doors which used to serve as the entrance are now reduced to rubble and mangled metal.

With flashlights and coats, many dare to venture inside to see the rusted remnants of fuel tanks, former soldiers quarters and more.

Authorities in the area have high hopes that with the right marketing, the base could attract many more, notably some of the 1.7 million tourists that visit the nearby Plitvice Lakes national park every year.

Locals have estimated more than 150,000 people already make the trek to see the base each year – and soon, official tours could begin.

The mayor of the area said: “By revitalising Zeljava, we would create additional content for the national park enabling tourists to stay a day longer.”

But others believe the mysterious Soviet base should remain in its current abandoned state.

Maria Morena said: “You don’t have signs where you have to go and what to see, it’s more like a discovery place. This is why I liked it.

“Turning it into a tourist attraction would lose its charm.”

AFPThe old energy infrastructure is still standing inside[/caption]

AFPMake sure you pack a flashlight if you dare to enter[/caption]

AFPAbandoned soldier schedules can still be found inside[/caption]

AFPThe two miles of tunnels create a labyrinth[/caption]

AFPRubble and mangled metal are found throughout the base[/caption]

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