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Island fortress where ‘prisoners were starved and tortured’ is set to become a five star hotel

A FORMER prison fortress is set to be transformed into a luxury resort in Montenegro.

Situated on the island of Lastavica, the compound once housed over 2,000 prisoners who were said to have been tortured and killed.

Mamula Fortress before the development

But now however, after a €15 million (£12.78million) investment from Swiss company OHM Mamula Montenegro, the island fortress will have a new lease of life, according to The Telegraph.

The plans are to turn the abandoned WWII fortress into an island resort that will feature a beach club with two beaches, a water sports centre, restaurants and bars, a spa and three swimming pools.

There will be a marina for guests to sail into, which will be overlooked by some of the outdoor dining areas.

For guests for are staying on the island, it's expected that there will be 33 rooms available.

One of the new restaurants at the resort

According to the island's website, the resort will have a party atmosphere, with DJs and a dance floor at its heart.

But in tribute to its past, it will also feature a gallery museum on the events that took place on the island.

Mamula, originally built by an Austro-Hungarian admiral as a sea fortress, has a dark past.

According to The Irish Independent, around 2,000 prisoners were jailed there during WWII, under the reign of Mussolini, with an estimated 130 of those having been killed or starved to death.

There will be 33 rooms at the resort for guests to stay in
First photos of what the rooms might look like reveal an incredibly spacious sitting area
Each of the rooms are open plan

It has sporadically been a tourist attraction, but was abandoned for some time.

The project, originally approved in 2016, has long had objections from families of those who were imprisoned there, as well as heritage group Bokobran Initiative.

The group is said to have written to the Montenegrin government to accuse the developers of "devastating" the fortress, which they have denied.

There are also worries that the island will be closed to the public, which the developers have also denied.

The development company expects to maintain the local flora and fauna
A model of the planned resort

A spokesperson for OHM Mamula Montenegro told Sun Online Travel: "All works on the reconstruction and adaptation of the Mamula fortress on the Island of Lastavica are in accordance with planning, building, and conservation conditions and under the supervision of relevant experts.

"The historical value of the island will be recognized and honored through the establishment of a memorial gallery which Orascom is obliged to develop as part of its lease agreement with the Montenegrin government."

They added: "Furthermore, the revitalisation design encompasses maximum efforts to protect the environment and aquarium, with all waste waters collected and treated, and modern reconstruction techniques used to reduce the heating and cooling needs.

"The entire autochthonous plant life of the island will be preserved and further improved, so that Mamula will still be specific for its numerous agave trees and slender Mediterranean herbs, including its characteristic big pinewood that has been growing for decades on the south-eastern end of the fortress rampart.

Alamy Mamula had been abandoned for some time before the project was approved
Alamy The developers are said to have invested millions into the project
OHM Mamula Montenegro The fortress once housed political prisoners

"All the wells and reservoirs on the island will be preserved, while on the west side of the tower, hidden by natural relief and vegetation, there will be the most modern desalination plant for seawater, which will provide the supply of all facilities with potable and technical water.

"A sewage treatment plant will be installed, which will then be used for irrigation of greenery and other needs that can be satisfied with this technical water. OHM Mamula Montenegro Company is planning to deploy a submarine cable that will supply Mamula with electricity."

It's hoped the island resort will be open to the public from the middle of 2021.


It's not the first hotel with a dark past.

Sun Online Travel previously revealed the UK hotels that used to be prisons.

And there's a hotel in Margate where guests get to experience what life behind bars is like, without having to commit a crime.

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