Svetlana

Tourist complex Punta Skala, postcard from 1974. The Šepurine military zone is not to be seen in the background.

 / 

Military and tourist space. Sketch by Antonia Dika, 2018.

 / 

Antonia Dika in conversation with Svetlana Janković.
Svetlana is a former officer at the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA). She worked as a second lieutenant at the traffic services command of Šepurine military barracks.

excerpt from the interview
SJ: I remember well, the barracks had solar panels, for water heating and other things. In terms of construction quality, these objects were good. I don’t know when they were built, I think it might be at some time between the 70s and the 80s. There were large hangars, where the equipment was stored. All the facilities were relatively new. Back then, in the happy times of peace, there were approximately a thousand and a half soldiers.

AD: In Šepurine only?

SJ: Yes, in Šepurine. Zadar was a military town. Around two thirds of the population was military. I think they had thirteen barracks there. You had Zemunik, you had two military school centres, huge ones… A large part of the city’s population was military. So it’s completely understandable why Zadar never liked the military. As much as it can bring prosperity, in terms of economy, I believe people didn’t feel comfortable being around it.  

AD: Could you feel the tourism back then?

SJ: Oh, yes, the place was full in summertime. The soldiers loved it when they got an evening off to go downtown, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. But they had to be back by 10 PM, which they weren’t happy about, because that was the best hour on the hotel terraces, with live music… And the tourists didn’t mind having military around, especially younger tourists. Zadar was full of tourists back then. All the hotels were packed, literally.

AD: Have you seen what has happened with Šepurine today? Have you ever returned there?

SJ: As far as I know, the conquered tanks from Varaždin were transported to the barracks right after we left. Also, the barracks were bombed by the air force from Zemunik. I don’t know what was happening after that. I’ve never returned there. But I would like to.

AD: An airstrip was built there afterwards. It didn’t exist while you were there, right?

SJ: No, it didn’t, but the barracks were huge. Picture me, as a second lieutenant with seven observation posts, all of which needed to be checked during a watch. I used to walk at least twenty kilometres in one round. I don’t know if those observation posts are still there.

AD: But there already was a tourist resort right next to the barracks, Punta Skala, right?

SJ: Yes, yes, Punta Skala, I know, we used to go there. I have very nice memories of the place.

AD: You used to go to the beach there?

SJ: I am not allowed to say, it’s a military secret. (laughs)

AD: So you were not supposed to go to such places?

SJ: Well, you were certainly not allowed to go there in uniform. But there was changing in the woods, then bathing, then coming back, and so on and so forth. The regular soldiers were not allowed to do that at all. I'm talking about the active military personnel.

AD: The holiday resort was really close to Šepurine.

SJ: Yes, it was close, but you couldn’t get to the resort right from the barracks, you had to go back to the main road and enter from there.

AD: It’s interesting, how the military zones were kept secret, retouched in aerial photos, when Šepurine military barracks were right next to the place where foreign tourists were spending their vacation.

SJ: Yes, but you couldn’t see the barracks from Punta Skala resort. Because you had that thick forest and shrubbery in between. Tourists had no idea that barracks were there, apart from those who stumbled into the gate by chance.

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!

Have you served military service at the military zone Šepurine or something else connects you to this location? Get in touch with us! Share with us your memories and experiences!