On the southern entrances to the city of Karlovac, between the Karlovac-Slunj-Plitvice-Split state road and the Korana River, in the suburb of Turanj, lie the remnants of Austrian army barracks, a witness to the interesting and abundant military past of the city of Karlovac.
The history of Turanj
The history of Turanj is tied to the construction of the Karlovac fort. It was erected at the same time as the fort, as its advance guard and protection with bridges over the Korana and Mrežnica rivers. The construction of the wooden watchtower was completed in 1582. The first “turan” (tower) was erected on the plateau in the vicinity of the bridge across the Korana River, and was named Križanić Turanj in the 18th century, after the commanders of the border watch – Križanić brothers. By then, a number of facilities had been constructed, as demonstrated by the ground-plan by Martin Klaus, a Karlovac gunsmith from 1712.
With the moving of the border, after the 1699 Peace Treaty of Srijemski Karlovci, Turanj lost its significance as the advance guard, but was still in the possession of the Karlovac general command. In 1746, it became the headquarters of the Turanj Military Border District, and after the implemented reforms, was included in the Slunj regiment.
At the end of the 18th century, various manufactures were built in Turanj for the needs of the Military Border army. Subsequently, a mathematics school was founded there for officers from the Ogulin and Slunj regiments. Turanj remained in military possession both in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The events in the Homeland War once again proved the importance of Turanj as an advance guard for Karlovac. In Turanj, the Croatian defenders halted and forestalled the enemy’s attempts to seize the city. This place also bore witness to numerous negotiations on truce, exchange of war prisoners, and admission of refugees and displaced persons. For the citizens of Karlovac, Turanj is a symbol of victory and return, of new life emerging in war-torn areas. On the army barracks site, today one can find remnants of the facilities damaged by combat activities in the Homeland War, subsequently further devastated. The area around the facilities is the location of means of combat from the collection of weapons and army vehicles of the Homeland War.
In the future, Turanj should become a place of research and communication of the insights into the role of the city of Karlovac and the Karlovac region in the history of Croatia and Europe. The first step is to refurbish the area for the Karlovac 1991-1995 exhibition, in the building that was popularly called Hotel California by the defenders in the Homeland War.