Abandoned Croatia: Türk-Mažuranić mansion
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 Vladi
Abandoned Croatia: Kupari, a war-scarred luxury resort
No-one has stayed in luxury holiday resort Kupari for 20 years. Just a couple of miles away from the Old City of Dubrovnik, the resort boasts five architecturally magnificent hotels, and the beach is laid out at its doorstep. But after the War of Independence ravaged the country, Kupari was left bomb-scarred, broken and permanently closed. It’s been sitting idle for the past two decades, its bullet holes telling the story of its decline. Now plans are in place for the old hotels to be spruced up and reopened. The complex will once again be a luxury haven, with one difference: the eldest of the buildings, the hotel Grand, will be kept the way it is. In its glory days, it was known as one of the finest hotels along the Adriatic coast. Dating from 1920, it was one of the first hotels in the area, and in 1924 it already offered a restaurant, electric lighting, a tennis court, and a football pitch (as well as, intriguingly, its own ambulance). When the rest of the resort welcomes guests again, the hotel Grand will stand as a keepsake from bygone times. If you’d like to see all five abandoned hotels as they are now, you’d better get down to Kupari soon. It’s a short trip from Dubrovnik, and it’s well worth the journey – decadence never looked so hauntingly beautiful.
Abandoned Croatia: Bozdari Mansion, Dubrovnik
It’s little wonder that Dubrovnik has been labelled ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’. One of Croatia’s tourist hot-spots, it seduces swarms of summer visitors each year with its age-old city walls and glorious coastal conditions. But there’s a lot more to this Dalmatian settlement than medieval wine-bars and optimum tanning weather. Hidden beneath imposing cliffs, by the banks of the Ombla river, is an awe-inspiring mansion. Built between 1706 and 1715, it used to be the summer residence of the Bozdari family. Once upon a time, the pleasure-seeking aristocrats would holiday here; you can almost hear the echoes from its hedonistic heyday bounding between its shabby walls. A venetian architect by the name of Marino Gropelli created the grand structure during an especially beautiful chapter in Croatia’s cultural history, which saw gothic-renaissance and baroque architecture cropping up all over the country. Like many of Dubrovnik’s mansions, the Bozdari house was built right on the waterfront, the river lapping up at its façade. In the 18th century, visitors would have had to arrive by boat. But river became road in the early 1900s, and a little part of the mansion’s magic disappeared. River or no river, water will always be at the heart of this enchanting place. The centrepiece of its garden was a majestic stone feature, which spouted water from its rocky surface into a shallow pool. Four paintings decorate the capacious entrance hall: one depicts Zeus’s three
Abandoned Croatia: Haludovo hotel
Haludovo Palace Hotel: no vacancies. In the past, this resort was advertised as 'a complete island paradise in Europe'. It was a beautiful property. Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) In 2016, I’m not a hotel guest, but someone trying to capture a glimpse of its previous glory. The Haludovo Palace Hotel is an abandoned resort hotel located on the Croatian island of Krk, built in the early seventies. The opening of this new complex caused excitement in the media . A year after it opened, Bob Guccione, the founder of the Penthouse magazine, invested 45 million dollars in the project and opened a swanky new casino in the hotel. Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Lots of fancy guests visited Haludovo: presidents, ministers, famous actors, politicians… This was a time when Krk airport was buzzing with people from all around the world, each one of them seeking fun and relaxation in a prestigious resort. Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Nela Laptoš (Abandoned Croatia) Haludovo was a synonym for the best of tourism in the Adriatic. This hotel, once packed with gentlemen and ladies of leisure, now lies in decay. From broken glass to beds riddled with mould, this abandoned hotel is a world away from its luxurious past. Nela Laptoš (Abandon