Croatian Beauty & 35.5m Lopud Transmitter Beast: Seriously?

By 26 January 2022

January 26, 2022 - One of Croatia's most gorgeous islands, a film set for Bliss starring Own Wilson and Salma Hayek, and the 35.5m Lopud transmitter that is enraging local residents, tourists, and foreign investors. 

Bliss. I can't think of a better word to explain my state of mind when I visit the island of Lopud, a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik. 

The 2021 sci-fi movie of the same name, starring Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek, showcases this unique slice of Dalmatian island heaven to the world, and you can learn more from my first visit in Lopud: Carless, Timeless, Carefree Dalmatian Sunset Heaven.

But a change in the Lopud skyline is causing considerable local anger, the renovation, and expansion of a transmitter tower from its current size of 13 metres to a whopping 35.5 m. 


While it may look like a prop from the Bliss film set, the tower is real - and perfectly legal. 

The existing complex is being renovated and many people assumed that this would mean a renovated tower at the same height. And when construction began a few months ago, the local backlash was swift and vocal, including from globally-recognised names who have invested on Lopud. 

Baroness Francesca von Thyssen-Bornemisza, formerly Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen, is an art collector and owner of the renovated monastery, which has become one of Croatia's leading boutique hotels


"This is exactly the kind of thing that gives Croatia a bad name. Over the years I have seen foreign investors come and go, because of the chronic application of double standards on multiple levels. The whole group of us have not only transformed the Northside of Lopud over the last decades, but have also actively contributed to the revitalization of the island in numerous ways, and we continue to do so. All restoration of monuments and buildings have been executed according to the strictest standards imposed by the Institute of conservation, and we feel profoundly betrayed by them allowing a monstrosity of this size to be built in such close vicinity of so many heritage buildings. It's not possible to forbid adaptations to these properties that are in keeping with modern living, and tourism requirements, with great attention to aesthetics, on the basis that it's "not in keeping" with the historical fabric of a place when this obscenity is allowed to overshadow all the authenticity that we have all fought so hard to preserve.


"I am sure that Mr. Bače, the newly appointed Head of the conservation institute is intimately familiar with the urban regulation rules of the City of Dubrovnik, which is also valid for Lopud, that no antenna and similar infrastructure should be built in the vicinity of the listed cultural monuments and protected natural areas, so how he allowed this to happen is seriously problematic.  In this regard, Toto Bergamo Rossi and  I are in touch with UNESCO where we both have very good relations because of our good standing in the cultural field, and we are taking this dispute up to the highest authorities, otherwise, nothing will ever improve here.  For my part, this is the drop that makes the vase overflow."


A press release from the residents of Lopud has more:

Residents of Lopud are asking investors, the Odašiljači i veze company, to suspend work on the construction of a 35.5 meter high new transmitter, which is planned to be located in the immediate vicinity of the most densely populated part of the island and legally protected monumental heritage.


Residents of Lopud are unpleasantly surprised by the plans that inside residential area, which until recently was uninhabited and neglected, and now abounds with renovated houses and holiday villas, as well as protected historical buildings and cultural monuments that are under special protection of the Republic of Croatia, and are an attractive backdrop for film and television hits, a new transmitter is being built, which, due to its monumentality, will completely disturb the view of that part of Lopud.


Residents of Lopud initially thought that the started work was related to the reconstruction of the existing transmitter, but it soon became clear that instead of a simple renovation, an even three times larger facility is being built.

"Particularly problematic, we estimate, is the fact that the new tower will be 35.5 m high, and even 2.73 times larger than the existing transmitter that needs to be replaced. Given its size, it is to be expected that additional antenna system equipment will come to it, so it is logical to conclude that this will lead to more electromagnetic radiation, about which no one has informed us so far," said Ivo Mihajlovic, a resident of Lopud.


Residents of Lopud are therefore asking the investor, the Odašiljači i veze company, the provider of national strategic communication infrastructure for transmitting and transmitting signals, to suspend work on the existing location until another suitable solution is found, ie to move the tower outside the residential area where it will have less impact on the health of residents and will not permanently disturb not only the view of zero category monuments, but also the tourist valorization of facilities located in the area.

An online petition has also been set up (you can sign it here)

As residents, visitors and admirers of Lopud, its unique harmony of nature and living historical sites, we would like to hereby express our opposition to the replacement of the existing  13 m antenna in Lopud with a new antenna of 35.5 m.Such a drastically greater change directly next to the inhabited, oldest urban part of the place (moreover, outside the prescribed construction zone!) imposes a strong industrial impression on the whole village which is contrary to the touristic idea of Lopud and its image as a natural and historically and culturally significant destination. As one of the most visited day trip areas for guests of the city of Dubrovnik, Lopud is important for the overall image of the city and how it wants to present itself as a tourist destination.The health impact of such a powerful antenna on us islanders, within the edge of the settlement, is also questionable. 90% of the island's inhabitants live exclusively from tourism, so it is of the utmost importance for all of us to preserve and further develop the right image of Lopud and to be transparently informed and involved in such invasive and other, positive projects that may affect the quality of the island.

Appeals to the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, to intervene, have been heeded, with Mayor Frankovic writing to the company, requesting them to stop.


More on this story as we get it, with no further comment from our side required. 

To learn more about the incredible and (so far) unspoiled Elaphite islands of Lopud, Kolocep and Sipan, check out the dedicated Total Croatia guide.

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