May 3, 2018 - The demolition of Hotel Durmitor on Žabljak, a valuable architectural facility, has started against all efforts of the experts from the Center for Sustainable Spatial Development Expeditio from Kotor, who have been trying to protect and preserve this object since 2013. Expeditio is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in Montenegro with an international reputation in the domain of sustainable development, the use of public spaces, and the protection of the architectural heritage. Although their fight for the Durmitor hotel has lasted for over five years, they have failed to ensure that the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property, which is responsible for this, to put the facility under protection to ensure this valuable example of 20th-century architectural heritage in Montenegro to be saved.
On April 17, 2013, EXPEDITIO submitted an initiative to establish Hotel Durmitor's protection. Based on a letter from the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property of 6 September 2013, this initiative was accepted and conditions for implementation of Articles 19, 23 and 24 of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property were established, establishing the cultural value for this good. However, more than five years after the adoption of the initiative, Expeditio never received information as to whether the process of cultural value determination had been completed and whether the facility was protected.
Following the information that the demolition of Hotel Durmitor is about to start, by the Free Access to Information Act, on 19 April 2018, Expedito requested information from the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property Request regarding the process of determining the cultural value for Hotel Durmitor. Also, pursuant to Article 20 of the Law on the Protection of Cultural Goods to the Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Property on the same day, an urgent initiative was established for the previous protection of Hotel Durmitor in Žabljak, since it is an immovable good for which it is believed to have cultural value and was threatened with destruction. According to Expeditio, the demolition of this facility represents an invaluable loss to the area in which it is located, but also for the entire Montenegrin legacy. With this initiative, they once again tried to keep the hotel from being demolished.
On 30 April 2018, when the media circulated information about the beginning of the destruction of Hotel Durmitor, Expeditio sent the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property a repeated emergency initiative for the establishment of previous protection, requesting that, as an institution that is responsible for establishing protection under the Cultural Property Protection Act, responds urgently to ensure the public of Montenegro is aware of the activities undertaken with regard to the submission of the initiative. According to Aleksandra Kapetanović, Expeditio has still not received any feedback from the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property regarding these contributions. The conservative architect explains that the argument the building is statically endangered is considered unmistakable for the destruction of a valuable cultural asset.
"Many of the Bokelian palaces and churches were statically endangered after the 1979 earthquake, but there are constructive and technical solutions that can be culturally well-protected and deterred," Kapetanović explained.
According to the Law on Free Access to Information, the deadline for the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property to respond to the Request for Information regarding the process of determining the cultural value for Hotel Durmitor is today, which Expeditio delivered on April 19th.