Made in Croatia

Epic Imagination! How Converted Mines Below Labin Istria Will Look

By 13 December 2020
Big plans for the mines below Labin Istria
Big plans for the mines below Labin Istria Labin Tourist Board, adapted TCN

December 13, 2020 – An incredible reimagining of the mines that run deep below the centre of Labin Istria – the two-kilometre long complex will be accessed spectacularly via a see-through elevator

French writer Jules Verne liked to venture deep. The second most-translated author ever to have lived (between number one, Agatha Christie and number three, William Shakespeare – both British), his stories were quite often regarded as fantasy tales for children, owing to the poor, early transference of his French text into English. When read in his native tongue, he fantastical imagination, perhaps the roots of all science fiction, are better expressed. This is plainly evidenced in two of his most famous books, 20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.


Jules Verne's inspiration can be found in physical form on the streets of Zagreb, where the 20, 000 Milja bar entertains with its submarine-themed décor. Though without any formal attribution, the project about to be undertaken by the town of Labin Istria could just as well be inspired by his other bestseller. Because, just as Jules Verne's journey to the centre of the earth was like no fantasy previously expressed, a limitless imagination seems to have gone into how the mines below Labin Istria will look once converted.


Newly revealed images display a visitor's space like nowhere else in Croatia. Though not quite at the centre of the earth, the new attraction lies some 166 metres below ground. The thrilling experience of a visit is set to begin before you even reach its entrance – access will be gained by a see-through elevator (lift).


The attraction is set to be divided into five modules – entrance and information area, an art gallery for exhibitions and multimedia installations, an escape room entertainment area, an education zone with 360° projections, a gastro module, centring a wine cellar ( featuring local wines from Istria, which are among the most-prized of those produced in Europe – the mine conditions being perfect for their storage) and a gift shop where souvenirs from local producers, arts & craftsmen will be available.


The sprawling complex is set to extend some two kilometres into the former mines of Labin Istria. That's no short walk! But, part of the route is being designed as a train ride, although the last section must be done on foot, due to the specific conditions of the tunnel.


The town of Labin Istria was once the centre of mining endeavours in Croatia. At the height of its operations, some four mines operated in Labin Istria. In early 1921, the town was the scene of a miners' strike which quickly grew into an anti-fascist rebellion, a movement essential to securing Croatia's future independent state. It was the first of its kind and resulted in the declaration of the short-lived Labin Republic (also known as the Albona Republic). This particular mine, located in downtown Labin, was the last to close and did so in 1989. 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the Labin Republic, an anti-fascist struggle for which the town is extremely proud. It is hoped that works on the mine conversion will begin then.

All images © Level 52 / 3DX Studio / City of Labin