Secrets make us believe that we belong to a small circle of the select few, that we are more important than ordinary people. Secrets serve to differentiate individuals or groups of people from their larger community. The greater the secret, the greater the distance from the rest of the society. Top secrets belong only to select few.
Six people knew about the secret called ARK (Atomic War Command): four generals, the Prime Minister, and Josip Broz Tito. This exclusive club represented a sort of a Praetorian guard charged with defense of our entire country – its achievements, its ideology and its values, our fates and our lives – from an impending catastrophe.
The facility was under construction for 26 years, from 1953 until 1979. The construction cost about 4.6 billion U.S. dollars. The facility spreads over 6,500 square feet. It consists of 12 inter-connected blocks.
Even top military and state secrets are eventually revealed. Thus, in the beginning of this century, ARK too opened its doors to the world. Ordinary people rushed inside to see this wonder hidden in the bowls of the Mountain Zlatar. And any visitor who had meandered through its labyrinth, made of cement and stone and built to withstand a 25 KT atomic bomb, had to wonder: how did the people who constructed this amazing structure envision the day after the cataclysm?
What would await them after they exit from ARK?
And yet, we should not judge them too harshly. Throughout history, rulers have built castles, towers, forts, and various other defense objects to protect themselves rather than anyone else.
Construction of defense facilities is not specific to particular geographic locations, time periods, economic powers or political regimes. Just as medieval architects built massive stone forts on hills, Cold War architects built nuclear shelters. The difference is only that the existence of forts was not a secret. Quite the contrary, the forts were visible from afar in order to alert enemies to their defensive capabilities.
In any case, our common civilizational heritage looks like a bequest from a gallery of characters who had once ruled over the world and who had never, once, thought that their castles and portraits, uniforms and service ware, would cease to be secrets, become public goods and end up on lists of historical and cultural heritage for some new civilizations.
Solitude is a part of every secret.
And that is what I felt when I fist walked i Reed More