This building is really high on my "favorites of the balkan"- list! From the first time I saw the building in pictures I was fascinated by its shape. So you can immagine how I was exited when I travelled from Prizren to Gnjilane following the way through Bresovica (a ski region in the Shar-Mountains) and I stood in front of this impressing building! Location Strpce (serbian: Штрпце, albanian: Shtërpcë) is a little town in the south of Kosovo and Metohija, on the northern side of the Sar Planina (Sar Mountains) on the border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It lays 3km from Brezovica, one of the most important ski-center from former Yugoslavia. Strpce has a majority of serbian population so that it's considered a serbian enclave (the only one in the southern part of Kosovo) however there is a big albanian minority (population is 13'600, 9'100 serbs, 4'500 albanians, 300 roma). The place is controlled by ukranian KFOR. The village of Strpce We're here 40km from Pristina, at around 1'000 meter above sealevel, Strpce is a rather sleepy place. The winning side of Strpce is the location settled in a wonderful eco-region, with fresh air, a rich flora and fauna, delicious food and a ski resort that can be easily reached by tourists from Prizren, Skopje, Tetovo, Belgrade, Pristina, Vranje .... But reality in Strpce (and the region) doesn't look that bright: The ski resort is run down, hotels (also Hotel Narcis) had to close down and the town looks empty all year round. Why? What was really good fonctioning in the former Yugoslavia was of course interupted when the Kosovo war broke out. But why could this attractive place not find its way back to prosperity? Many Serbs struggle to stay in business until the ski season brings in roughly 100,000 middle-class Kosovar Albanians, who patronize Serbian-run restaurants, hotels and shops. Then both sides are forced to put aside ethnic and political differences, if only temporarily.
But since the unilateral declaration of independence of the Kosovo Province many Serbian-owned restaurants and hotels sit empty during ski season because Albanian tourists are under pressure to boycott Serbian establishments. If this situation doesn't normalize it will cost some of Brezovica’s 15,000 Serbs their jobs. Jovica Budovic, director of Hotel Narcis, lamented that it limped along with only 5 percent occupancy. He said the creaking infrastructure at the resort, which can accommodate 5,000 skiers an hour on 10 ski lifts, was in dire need of investment.
But few Serbs are willing to invest in a resort that could fall into Albanian hands. “This used to be a four-star hotel, but now because of the politics here, we are empty and everything is frozen,” Mr. Budovic said. “Making money is more important than divisions. It is the politicians who are making the problems.” Hotel Narcis was a A-class hotel and offered 200 beds in 124 rooms, soprtfacilities for summer and winter and halls for meetings and celebrations. The ski facilities have been kept going since 1999 only by international organization stationated in the Kosovo region, for their own purpose. Also they used the hotels for semiraries and meetings. But not in the recent time anymore. Now there were some atempts by Kosovo Trust Agency, KTA to privatize the Hotel complexes in the Bresovica area (Belgarde oposes this, as "privatize" would mean it would fall into Kosovo-albanian hands and coulderase the serbian enclave in other words it's still considered a very delicate question. That means also that no Serbian firm (nor international) is willing to invest in a business in a province where its status is so unclear like the temporary status of Kosovo and Metohija province. And to be honest, where is the fun of skiying where KFOR peacekeepers in camouflage patrol the slopes and there is barbwire everywhere?