Quantcast

In the lobby of our hostel within the walls of old Dubronik, we sat with new friends over wine. One backpacker whispered of an abandoned hotel where a traveler he met had found an intact wine cellar and undetonated grenades. It was decided that the next day, a few intrepid would go search for it. Nobody knew where it was–all we knew was that outside the city walls, we needed to follow the main road along the harbor.

About halfway there, we could see the ruins across the bay. The Hotel Belvedere was a 5-star luxury hotel destroyed in 1991 during an attack by Serbian forces on the city of Dubrovnik during the Croatian War of Independence. The hotel was only six years old–the cornerstone we found had the year 1985 etched in. During the course of the multi-month siege, significant damage was done to the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old city, which was cut off from electricity and water, was host to 55,000 Croatian refugees while dozens had taken shelter inside the Hotel Belvedere. The siege of Dubrovnik is regarded as the turning point of international opinion against Serbia.

Not much has been done with this grand luxury complex since then. It is sometimes used for large unofficial raves and more often used for graffiti and dog-walking. Nonetheless, a  noose and the large amount of neo-Nazi/White Power graffiti made for some creepy exploration.

The mixed paint, debris, rock graffiti spelled “BALKANIC,” making use one of the side pools

Whimsical Banksy-ish graffiti on the walls

There are several distinct sections to the hotel and it takes hours to explore. In photographs, it’s difficult to convey the sheer size of the complex.

Note the cruise ship peeking in from behind the building–I bet most of the cruisers don’t even notice this immense ruin

The further you go up into the hotel rooms, the darker it gets. Most of the rooms are filled with debris and shattered glass, but standing on the balconies with the Mediterranean sun and the views of the turquoise sea, you could still get a sense of the once luxurious accommodations.

Abandoned Hotel Belvedere-Dubrovnik-Croaita-Untapped Cities-2

In the depths, we found china embossed with the Hotel Belvedere logo, unopened packs of notepad paper and laundry bags. What we didn’t find were the grenades and wine cellar, likely the stuff of urban legends.

Hotel Belvedere notepads, intact and in their original packaging

Laundry bags

Bills with the hotel logo. Note that they are in dinara, the old Yugoslavian currency. And for some reason they’re dated 1938/85.

China with hotel insignia found in the hallway

It amazed us that the packages and notepads had remained so intact after twenty years

Whole walls had fallen over and there was a mix of stuff everywhere

Whole walls had fallen over and there was a mix of stuff everywhere

looks like an old water/power facility for the resort!

On the backside of the resort, an old water or power facility was built into the rocky coastline. Everything inside was incredibly corroded.

This dock once serviced the resort and next to it is an exterior, glass elevator which gave people a view of the water as they moved from the water’s edge up to the main resort.

 

We guessed that the wine cellar might be below this potential cafe/restaurant area but we came up empty. The circular area was turned into an arena for a combat battle in Season 4 of Game of Thrones (see photos from after the shoot)

To get to the Hotel Belvedere, walk southeast from the old city of Dubrovnik along the coast. Be sure to explore some of the winding staircases that take you down to the water as a detour:

You can get a glimpse of the Hotel Belvedere just around this bend

Follow Untapped Cities on Twitter and Facebook. Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.

5 Comments

  1. Don says:

    As a visitor from the US Department of State, I stayed there during two magical weekends in 1987. The views of the old town from the balcony room were unparalleled beauty, and my heart breaks too, to imagine the hell that the hotel and its occupants went through. Perhaps someday, it become the Hotel Phoenix, rising again from its ruins, to welcome more guests to magical stays.

  2. Alex M says:

    Great article, wonderful pictures. I visited there myself about a month ago and wrote an article, and also found your photos. It is a wonderful place. I wish I got as deep as you, Michelle.

  3. Rizzo says:

    I used to vacation at Hotel Belvedere every summer and even learned how to swim in their indoor pool shown in one of the above photos and my mother used to be a seasonal singer at the resort and entertain the guests in the amphitheater every night. It is heart breaking to see this once beautiful hotel in such ruins. This was one of the most impressive hotels I can remember, with sweetest staff I have ever met. such a shame!

  4. […] post by Michelle Young originally appeared on Untapped Cities, a Flavorwire partner […]

  5. Ajalstude says:

    An uncanny experience, I can imagine. This article should form the basis of a series – “Postmodern ruins”? “Post-Cold War Ruins”?

Leave a Comment