Just outside Dubrovnik, on Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatian Coast, there is an unlikely attraction that draws in curious visitors from all over the world. Kupari is an abandoned Yugoslav resort, that was badly damaged by war in the 1990s… these days, it’s better known as the ‘Bay of Abandoned Hotels.’
The Kupari resort began its life in 1919. The Grand Hotel was the first to be built, on a sandy stretch of land at Župa Bay. Later, in the 1960s, the Yugoslav leaders decided that this was the perfect place to send their army officers on holiday… so they built five more hotels (the Pelegrin, the Kupari Hotel, the Mladost Hotel, plus the Goričina I and II) as well as holiday villas and camp sites.
Kupari became a highly fashionable beach destination for high-ranking officers with the Yugoslav People’s Army. Even President Josip Broz Tito had his own holiday home here.
The Kupari resort cost the equivalent of half a billion euros to build, and these six hotels had enough beds for 1,600 guests at a time. The place was so popular, it became difficult to get reservations… in fact, it was almost impossible to get into Kupari if you weren’t ‘connected.’
So how did this glamorous resort become the ‘Bay of Abandoned Hotels’? Sadly, the luxurious Kupari resort was destroyed during the Croatian War for Independence.
In 1991, the Yugoslav People’s Army sent ships to capture Dubrovnik. They passed by Kupari on the way, where Croatian fighters had taken shelter inside the army’s former holiday resort. These Yugoslav ships opened fire at Kupari on 4th October 1991.
They launched shells at the hotels for 20 days without stopping, and by the time they captured Kupari from the Croatian freedom fighters, there was not a lot left.
Afterwards, the soldiers looted these hotels – dragging expensive furniture, metal and marble, back to their Yugoslav warships.
All that’s left now is what you see here, and there are plans to knock these hotels down eventually. Instead of a Bay of Abandoned Hotels, developers want to build a new five-star resort here… and make the most of this beautiful stretch of coastline. For now at least, however, these sad abandoned hotels are left to tell their story.
All the photos on this page were taken by Darmon Richter. You can see more photos from his visit to the ‘Bay of Abandoned Hotels’ on The Bohemian Blog.