Not far from the centre of Skopje, North Macedonia, I came across a concrete pipe jutting out of the ground unnaturally. It was out of place, so I had to peek over the rim to investigate. As I clambered up the harsh concrete, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next. Neither mentally nor practically- I didn’t imagine I’d find a ladder leading into the depths of the earth, steps down into an infinity hole whose end I couldn’t see. Practically I didn’t have a torch, or a clue what I’d find at the bottom.
I began climbing down, after thirty seconds or so the light began fading. I was climbing down blind, with no idea how much further I had to go. As I approached the bottom, I clung onto the last few rungs with one hand and reached for my phone torch with the other. I wanted to have some idea what I was stepping off onto.
A cluster of concrete rubble and a small hole. I tentatively left the relative safety of the ladder and found myself on solid ground, a thick metal blast door staring me in the face. I crept onwards, unable to see more than a couple of metres ahead in the immense darkness.
As I worked my way through the bunker system I came across multiple chambers, a few separated from the previous with blast doors or gates. With each corner I had no idea what I’d find or where I’d end up. The bunker itself was a shell, seemingly incomplete, abandoned before it saw any use or any interior amenities added. The finish and concrete work both inside and out suggested that it was a fairly recent project.
On the way back up, with trembling hands, I counted the number of rungs. Half out of curiosity for the depth, half to take my mind off the certain death if anything went wrong. I counted over 80 steps, and with the distance between each I estimate the shaft to be somewhere between 30m and 40m.
In terms of the beauty of the location, and considering the lack of any good pictures, this may not look like an amazing explore. However, heading deep down into the unknown was an experience like no other- adrenaline was pumping, my heart was racing, and an exploration that raises more questions than answers is always thrilling. Why was the bunker constructed? Why was it not complete? Exactly how deep is it?
Last Updated on 2 November 2022 by Michael