An abandoned resort in Croatia is decaying and haunting. The authorities have a plan to “revive” it

An abandoned resort in Croatia is decaying and haunting.  The authorities have a plan to "revive" it

A few kilometers from Dubrovnik there is a gloomy reminder of the times of the Balkan wars. The bay of dead hotels is full of decaying facilities that now only scare people. However, the authorities want to revive this place and hope that tourists will come here again.

Croatia is undoubtedly one of the favorite holiday countries in Europe. However, there are also places within its territory that are not particularly encouraging to visit. One of them is the bay of dead hotels, which is located in Kupari, 8 km (or about 15 minutes' drive) from Dubrovnik. The closed and decaying tourist resort is full of abandoned hotels. No wonder it is also called the Croatian ghost town. Fortunately, the authorities are thinking hard about how to restore it to its former glory. What is the grim history of this place and what plans does the Croatian administration have for it?

Bay of dead hotels. A resort that was teeming with life

Before the Balkan War, Kupari was a fairy-tale resort that was considered the most luxurious in Yugoslavia at that time. Impressive hotels were built here for the needs of the Yugoslav authorities, members of the Yugoslav army, their families and loved ones. The complex consisted of six unique hotels that could accommodate a total of 2,000 people. people. As much as $1 billion was spent to build it. Unfortunately, the history of this place turned out differently than expected. After the times of prosperity came the war crisis. In 1991, the resort was shelled from the sea, and then it was taken over by Serbian and Montenegrin troops, who destroyed the area.

The grim story of a holiday destination

The first hotel in this area was built in the 1920s. At that time, investors from Czechoslovakia invested in it. Previously, they ran a ceramic tile factory here, but they noticed the tourist potential of the area. Over time, they began to expand the complex. A total of 6 hotels have been built here since the 1960s: Mladost, Grand, Goričina, Pelegrin, Kupari and Galeb. Each of them offered a view of the fairy-tale Adriatic Sea. The main pearl of the entire complex was Hotel Pelegrin, a vast modernist building with over 400 rooms, built in 1963. It was created based on the plans of the promising 32-year-old Bosnian architect David Finci.

“The Pelegrin Hotel appeared on the covers of architectural magazines when it was built,” said architectural historian Boris Vidakovic in an interview with “At the time, it surprised both experts and the public. The building is one of the pioneers that ushered in a new generation, a new type of coastal design. It was amazing to see such a young architect create such an original and iconic hotel with such confidence. Thanks to this, it still attracts attention today – even in its current state of destruction, it still looks monumental, still iconic and recognizable.”

What happened to these hotels? Unfortunately, the 1990s brought a huge crisis. War broke out, during which in 1991 the center was first shelled from the sea by a missile frigate, and then taken over by Serbian forces. Despite the destruction immediately after the war, it was still used by the Croatian army, but in the early 2000s it was abandoned.

Furniture was taken out of the hotels, windows were broken, and some of it was also consumed by vegetation. There are traces of arrows in the walls of the buildings. Urbex lovers have fun here, but it's all sad to look at. The Croatian authorities have made many attempts to restore the resort's former glory, but so far to no avail. A few years ago, they came up with the idea to launch a tender for this place. They are looking for an investor who would decide to spend money on it.

Will the Croatian swimming pool come to life?

In the area there is not only the unique Dubrovnik, but also parks rich in palm trees, oleanders and plane trees. There are also beaches where you can relax. In its heyday, you could find campsites, apartments for families, restaurants, pubs, cafes and places to practice sports nearby. There is still great potential to recreate a resort in this place.

The competition for the land development design lasts until August 25, 2015. The authorities' idea shows that a complex of 4- and 5-star hotels with a total number of 1,500 beds would be built on the area covering 13 square meters. The estimated value of the investment is to be as much as EUR 100 million. And although this is a huge amount, as many as 6 investors expressed interest in the project.

In May 2022, the reconstruction project carried out with the support of a Russian billionaire was taken over by a Singaporean hotel company that manages several dozen luxury hotels around the world. According to local officials, the new plan is to rebuild and open a new resort by 2025.

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