To be frank, Hotel Evropa has seen better days.
On the shores of Lake Prespa in North Macedonia in the village of Oteševo is the ravaged shell of what was once a symbol of post-communist optimism. That’s not to say it is abandoned, arguably far from it as it’s on most urbex hunters bucket list (urbex=urban explorer). Places like Hotel Evropa feed the growing fascination with the lost and left behind., especially if it offers a bridge from the soviet or socialist era to today. This spot ticks all the boxes with its combination of striking architecture and distinctive signage and a national monument just up the road.
While the hotel was built after the collapse of the communist system arguably its creation and fate are intrinsically linked. It is not located in the heart of the tourist hub, instead, looming large in the area is an important spot where pivotal decisions about the redrawing of the Balkan region and South-Eastern Europe in the aftermath of WW2, were agreed. Those decisions, made in the village of Oteševo in 1943 by partisan fighters and their aligned groups, paved the way for the drawing of the post-war map of the Balkans that remained broadly in place until the collapse of communism. The consequences of what happened in the aftermath reverberate to this day. The Prespa Party Conference was considered of sufficient magnitude by Tito that it was honoured by the creation of a spomenik in the village of Oteševo which was erected in 1973. An excellent spot to read about the conference in more detail is provided by the Spomenik Database here
There’s a lot of whispers and folklore surrounding how the hotel burnt down in the mid-2000s and who owns it now, so perhaps its days are numbered as an urbex hotspot.
The photos of the hotel were taken by Sam Leijenhorst who has taken his urban exploration to the next level. He’s creating ‘video documentation’ of his mammoth journey from the Netherlands to Tokyo.
As we all turn out back on 2020, he’s in Albania. The video series, Long Way to Tokyo is uploaded weekly to YouTube and is addictive viewing, with Sam’s taking us with him every step of the way.
He notes about Hotel Evropa
‘To me, the most interesting feature is the two giant concrete hands that form the entrance, but the hotel has more to explore; the abandoned bowling alley, the rooms with amazing views and an old ballroom, so many mirrors’
All images are the copyright of Sam Leijenhorst.