The Watch

Lopud Franciscan Monastery

Lopud Island, near Dubrovnik, Croatia

1996 World Monuments Watch

The islands dotting the Dalmatian shoreline form one of the most beautiful scenic areas of the Adriatic coast. Inhabited since Roman times, this picturesque region is now largely abandoned. With Croatia's economy in shambles, these islands hold an immediate potential for economic growth. Lopud Monastery is an example of the many fine structures throughout the area that could be reused as tourist destinations. The Republic of Dubrovnik purchased Lopud in the eleventh century. The monastery still has a functioning church amidst ruined buildings, former gardens, an unused fortress and vacant land. Because of the island's prominent strategic siting, it became a seat for the republic's governor in 1459, and many noble families built summer estates there. Earthquakes, fire, and abandonment – plus the recent war – have undermined the site's survival. Conservation and adaptive reuse would provide a valuable demonstration project.

Since the Watch

Following the 1996 Watch, the Save Dalmatia Foundation organized a conference highlighting the plight of Lopud and other islands on the southern Dalmatian coast, with the support of WMF. Attended by the Prince of Wales and Croatia's prime minister, the conference focused attention on the sensitive development of the historic buildings of the area. In 1997, a private owner agreed to restore the monastery in exchange for a long-term concession, but many years later only minor repairs had taken place. February 2011

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