Saturday, February 14, 2004

Valentines Day Blow Out

Valentines Day 2004 in Split is going to be remembered for reasons that don't have much to do with romance. Jugoplastika, once the pride of Split industry, was going to end its existence today.

Jugoplastika began as clothes/apparel factory in 1950s. It used to produce great variety of products from plastic and other synthetic materials produced in Jugovinil, another socialist-era giant in nearby Kaštela (Kastela). Both factories were part of Tito era industrialisation and also served to bring rural (and in Communist eyes "backward and reactionary") masses from Dalmatian hinterland and Bosnia to be re-educated by living in urban, class-conscious and "red" Split. The plan backfired –instead of becoming urbanised, those rural masses only managed to destroy urban identity of Split through the years. In the meantime, everyone – urban or rural – enjoyed good living because of Jugosplastika. The company had tens of thousands of workers on their payroll and sponsored Split's legenadary basketball team from Split. Toni Kukoč (Toni Kukoc) and Dino Rajda – two NBA giants – began their careers in Jugoplastika Split.

The end of Communism, war and the loss of former Yugoslav markets brought slow but inevitable demise of Jugoplastika. The company, which had changed name into Diokom in order to satisfy Croatian nationalist sentiments, vanished bit by bit (and today exists only as miniature shoe factory). In the process of its decomposition its left factory halls and offices were left to rot on the very boundary of residential and industrial zones.

With jobs, especially manufacturing jobs, gone and with Split under enormous demographic pressure, this area, known as Brodarica, was bound to be re-zoned into residential area. In the past couple of weeks series of controlled explosions were demolishing buildings, paving the way for future housing project.

According to some rumours I have heard, today's explosion wasn't as successful as previous ones. One of the walls was left standing.


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