Kupari Bay of Abandoned HotelsMay 21, 2016 in Croatia
On one of our evening runs up a local hill, we spotted a deserted bay. From the top, we could see at least 3 large hotels that had been clearly built to capitalise on this beautiful bay, but where were all the people? We found a disused path that was now overgrown with plants and ventured closer towards the building closest to the hill. From this path, we came close enough to peer into the rooms through the broken windows. There were no signs of the hotel being in service for a long time.
Our curiosity piqued, we jogged to the bottom of the hill which opened up into a large space which probably served as foyers for the hotels. With the sun setting over the Adriatic Sea, we went back to our accommodation and did some research before exploring any further.
Today, we returned after a day out in Dubrovnik Old Town to cool off in the quiet bay. There was still a road to these hotels, although it wouldn’t see much use these days. There were a few people on the pebbled beach, saved from throngs of tourists probably because it is only accessible by car, some distance away from Dubrovnik Old Town, and it’s little known. The water was refreshing and exactly what we needed after a full day on our feet. Although it was peaceful, it felt somewhat unnerving knowing that people were likely injured or even killed in these hotels during the Croatian War of Independence.
Our research revealed that this abandoned bay was called Kupari and it was known to have one of the best beaches in the country. In the 1960s, Kupari was revamped to include a luxury holiday resort for the military elite of the Yugoslav People’s Army and their families. It was made up of 5 luxury hotels and, once their doors opened to tourists, became desirable as a European summer hotspot in the 1980s. The rich from around Europe visited each year right up until 1991, when the war broke out. Artillery was aimed at the hotels, blowing out windows, walls and roofs. In the years after the war, looting and plundering of valuable furniture and fittings were rife.
What’s left today are mere shells of the hotels’ glorious past. Artillery damage on the hotel walls is still evident, a reminder of the time when hell visited this slice of paradise. One hotel in particular had an entire section of roof collapse into its second floor. Trees and climbers had taken root in some places, turning this once luxurious hotel into a literal concrete jungle. Some rooms still had carpet on its floors and wallpapers peeling off the walls. There were also inevitable signs of vagrant settlement in some areas, although no one was home when we walked through the hotels.
The damage was clearly too much for any investor to commit to restoring the hotels to their former glory. It would be more economical to bowl the buildings over and start again. In the meantime, this little bay is safe from tourists for a little longer.Read more