School of Moss - Croatia, July 2021

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School of Moss #03
by Broken Window Theory

This decaying structure stands as one of the most unique abandoned buildings we've ever explored. Once, it served as a hub for ideological education and political discourse. With its design, this is an impressive example of Yugoslav architecture. The interior of the complex is dominated by sharp angles of bare concrete contrasted with expansive wood-paneled walls and ceilings. Stretching over four floors and spanning a length of more than 170 meters, this massive boarding school provided accommodation for hundreds of students. There were over 150 rooms, including classrooms and offices, a library, a theater and a sports hall - even a restaurant and a bar. Long straight corridors looked down on huge communal zones. Still today, this modernist building is appreciated by architects and lovers of brutalism. Even in decay, we were captivated by its atmosphere.


School of Moss #02
by Broken Window Theory

This school opened in 1981 and was the vision of Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia's president for life. He was concerned about weaknesses in Marxist-Leninist ideology within his Communist party. So, leading scientists and professors from all six constituent republics were recruited to train the next generation of politicians here. The educational facility was constructed in the Croatian village of Kumrovec - a symbolic location since this was the birthplace of Tito. For more than 25 years, he was the dictator of Yugoslavia and the supreme commander of the military. He rose from the son of a farming family to a pivotal figure in European history as he and his troops successfully repelled the attacks by Nazi Germany during World War Two. His partisans earned the reputation as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe. During his regime, Tito unified Yugoslavia and maintained the peaceful coexistence of the many republics of the Yugoslav federation. Ten years after his death, however, socialism collapsed, and his league of nations descended into civil war, leaving behind complete devastation.


School of Moss #06
by Broken Window Theory

As the Yugoslav War ravaged the region in the early 1990s, the facility was forced to close its doors. After, the structure served as a temporary shelter for war refugees from the Croatian city of Vukovar. Situated on the border with Serbia, Vukovar was the site of one of the most devastating battles of the war. Families sought refuge here until 2003, leaving behind traces of their lives. Posters still adorn the walls of the rooms they once occupied. Since their departure, this historical place lies dormant, consumed by time.


School of Moss #15
by Broken Window Theory

The facility's architectural design was integrated into the natural contours of the surrounding hillside, aiming to create a harmonious blend with its environment. Despite its historical significance, the property has struggled to find a new purpose. It's now owned by the Republic of Croatia whose previous attempts to turn it into a tourist complex dedicated to Tito have been unsuccessful. Interestingly, although the school was intended as a tribute to Tito, the former leader never visited it, as it was inaugurated one year after his death. Many locals attribute the neglect of the building to government officials' disapproval of its socialist symbolism. Yet, preserving relics from former Yugoslavia is crucial for their immense historical, cultural, and architectural value. By safeguarding such places in general, future generations will have the opportunity to explore and learn from the rich tapestry of our collective history.


School of Moss #21
by Broken Window Theory

See more of this place and learn the full story in our urbex documentary on YouTube: https://youtu.be/wKRdvihFnfg
 
"During his regime, Tito unified Yugoslavia and maintained the peaceful coexistence of the many republics of the Yugoslav federation. Ten years after his death, however, socialism collapsed, and his league of nations descended into civil war, leaving behind complete devastation."

During my childhood and through all the time Tito was in charge of Yugoslavia, he came across to me as a benign dictator, keen to distance the country from the Moscow-led USSR. Yugoslavia was a popular holiday destination for British travellers to the continent. And look at what happened and is still happening with the break-up of the country. While here we have Scotland and Wales on a similar course.
 
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