The Dark Side of Croatia’s Tourism Boom

Hotel Kupari

With six floors and 554 beds, Hotel Kupari was the largest of the Kupari hotels. It opened in 1978, making it one of the last additions to the resort.

The hotel also had an impressive swimming pool, which professional swimmers from around Europe would visit during their trips to Yugoslavia. Shortly after the hotel opened, members of the Danish Swimming Federation wrote about the new hotel’s facilities in glowing terms. “They had a 33.3 meter pool with eight lanes and a water depth of two meters… We couldn’t spend as much time there as we would have liked,” one swimmer lamented.

Hotel Kupari was also the hotel that sustained the most damage in the JNA attack, as the enormous building caught fire and became completely engulfed in flames. The ensuing fire reduced the hotel to a charred, skeletal structure. Some say the fire started after the hotel was hit with a shell, while others, such as a reporter for Croatian daily Jutarnji List, recall that “It was burned with phosphorous bombs systematically, floor-by-floor.”

Of what remains, only the marble floors still have some material value, and thieves have since attempted to remove large slabs and carry them out of the hotel, though they rarely succeed due to the weight. And the professional eight-lane swimming pool is empty, save for some graffiti and debris.

Next Page: Hotel Goricina

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Lily Lynch

Lily is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Balkanist Magazine. She lives in Belgrade, Serbia.