Today, Lake Prespa is a place of almost perplexing tranquility, with nothing of the tourism that reaches the shores of nearby Lake Ohrid. But this hasn’t always been the case. The abandoned Hotel Evropa, on Prespa’s western shore, is proof that this was once a major tourist destination.
The Hotel Evropa hearkens from the same era as the nearby Lakeview Hotel, where we were spending our nights in Prespa. But unlike the Lakeview, which is once again welcoming guests, the Evropa has remained abandoned. A modern ruin, its rooms have been pillaged, its windows shattered, and its furniture robbed.
We spotted the Evropa while driving along the coastal road. It would have been impossible not to, because the building is monstrous. At least for us, it was irresistible. When I say this place has been “forgotten,” I mean it. The Evropa is not “under new management” or “scheduled for demolition” or under any sort of protection, private or governmental. It’s simply there, completely deserted.
With no signs prohibiting us from doing so, we explored. The Evropa has been totally ransacked, everything of value stripped and stolen. We went up to the upper floors, into the hotel rooms, out onto the balconies, down to the lounge, and into the basement. I’m not given to panic, but while exploring this hotel, I felt the clammy hand of terror on my heart. Every time I turned a corner, I did so half-expecting to discover something gruesome. If I had been captured and subsequently tortured by some disfigured Macedonian maniac… it would have been awful, of course, but not all that surprising. It’s not like I’d be dangling from the meat hook, thinking, “Well, I just can’t believe this.”
The Hotel Evropa is not, in any way, a tourism sight. But those fascinated by dilapidated Communist-era architecture will be in heaven. Hurry though, because it’s only a matter of time (or money) before somebody demolishes this unintentional, mesmerizing museum to a bygone era.