The Dark Side of Croatia’s Tourism Boom

Hotel Pelegrin

Hotel Pelegrin was designed by the young Sarajevo-based architect David Finci in 1963. The hotel’s architecture drew considerable acclaim in the 1960s, netting him several awards, but the design holds some fascination for contemporary critics as well. In the Croatian architectural magazine Oris, contributor Darko Latin noted that Finci’s style demonstrated “a certain detachment from the tradition of modernism.”

“Hotel Pelegrin is especially outstanding,” he added.

The 419-bed hotel was originally part of the Kupari holiday resort for the military elite of the JNA, but began welcoming foreign tourists, mainly from Northern Europe, in the early 1980s. During the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991, the JNA shelled Hotel Pelegrin repeatedly, and the damage is still very visible today. After the attack, the hotel was used as a temporary shelter for serviceman in the Croatian Army.

Hotel Pelegrin, along with Hotel Kupari, Hotel Grand, and Hotel Gorcina, are all part of the state’s Kupari-Srebreno project, an estimated 200 million euro package investment in “high-end tourism development”. As Zeljka Krhac, senior advisor at the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness told Balkanist, “It’s a real estate project that includes a combination of land sale and right to build”. And while the land is premium, located just seven kilometers from Dubrovnik’s Old Town, there has been little interest over the years.

Next Page: Hotel Kupari

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Lily Lynch

Lily is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia. https://www.instagram.com/lynch.lily/