Why are abandoned buildings so endlessly fascinating? From war-scarred resorts to derelict hotels, they're hauntingly beautiful. Do the ruins memorialise a time gone by, when things looked and seemed different, or do they also point forwards, towards the apocalyptic future we’re always being told to worry about but try to ignore as we're sipping our breakfast coffee? Nela Laptoš is a photographer captivated by ruins and the stories that they tell. In her recent series of photographs, she explores the gutted interiors of the once grand Türk-Mažuranić mansion.
Located deep in Gornje Pokupje, Karlovac County, a few feet from the Kupa river is Türk-Mažuranić. The building originates from the days of Napoleon’s Illyrian provinces and was upgraded to its present size in the early 20th Century. In its heyday, the mansion contained a roundtable fit for 36 guests and all the furnishings you would expect in a fancy pad like this: think candlesticks, mirrors, reproductions of Renoir and Goya paintings, grand coats of arms and huge family portraits. Over time though, the mansion has fallen into disrepair. Seeing wars come and go, it has been completely abandoned since 1990.
The story behind these walls is a sad one. The estate was nationalised in Yugoslavia and out of the three brothers who had inherited the property, Josip Franjo and Božidar Vatroslav fled the country because of their Second World War allegiances to the Independent State of Croatia, whilst the oldest brother Vladimir was arrested by partisans in 1945. Since then it was used as a footwear factory and is now completely vacant.
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