You never know what you'll stumble upon in your wanderings. While I expected to see ruins in Rome or Athens, I was not expecting to find more recent evidence of decay in sunny Dubrovnik, Croatia.
When I thought of Croatia, I thought of clear water, beautiful islands, and Game of Thrones (for those of you who aren't fans, a significant part of the show is filmed in Dubrovnik!). My grandmother made one comment before I left for the trip ("Is it safe?!") but I did not put much thought into it at the time. I guess I hadn't been exposed that part of history as a child...In fact, Croatia's tourist industry has very much recovered from the political strife of the 90s. The country joined the EU in 2003 &, walking around, its unlikely I would have even noticed anything out of the ordinary.
There is one remnant, however, that looms on the coast not far from Dubrovnik's popular old town. My friends and I heard rumors of an abandoned five star luxury hotel not far from our hostel, the former Hotel Belvedere. In operation for just six years before a 1991 attack by Serbian forces, the hotel is still very much in tact, all things considered. It's been looming empty for over twenty five years, but there is still much to see. I've always been intrigued by abandoned places and this excursion was no exception!
After just a short walk along the coast, it was easy to spot the massive hotel ruin. We entered through the creepy gate reminiscent of Disney's Haunted Mansion (anyone else into that as a kid??).
Just inside, the evidence that this was once a fully functioning luxury resort becomes clearer.
A bellman's jacket hangs in disarray.
The former daycare stands in ruin. To me, this image was the eeriest.
Server's order pads lay scattered over the kitchen floor. Evidence that this place was quickly abandoned in the midst of chaos.
What was once a pool with a fabulous view out to the ocean, now stands empty aside from rubble and graffiti.
The complex is truly massive, and there are no shortage of interesting scenes. The grand restaurant and night club are still there to explore.
A few more striking images...
Staircase to nowhere.
Bathtubs gathered and abandoned for no explicable reason.
Entire strips of wall paper peeling in-tact.
I'm already not a fan of elevators...this one was especially concerning.
With such incredible views out to the old city, its easy to imagine this restaurant as a gathering spot for wealthy tourists.
If you do make it out to visit Hotel Belvedere, be sure to wander down to the cliffs below. Its a local hangout spot for casual parties and football matches as well as a great place to explore the cliffs (carefully, of course!). If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you may even recognize the stadium as the filming location of the famous fight to the death scene!
You never know what you'll find if you're willing to stray from the beaten path. In this case, we found pure beauty in the decay. Take the contrast of looking through broken windows out to the vast sea. This place is sure to amaze.
If you're interested in other abandoned places, consider checking out the "Beautiful Decay Tour" in Bucharest (details here) or visit the restricted disaster zone in Chernobyl (details here). UnearthAway will help design and customize YOUR dream itinerary. Contact us today to get started!
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