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Sveti Stefan: once an island fishing village, now connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Sadly Sveti Stefan is now also a private holiday resort, officially renamed "Aman Sveti Stefan". Even the beach is privately-owned and an admission charge is levied, although when we were there in October, there were few people about and no-one collecting money.

Formerly an island, a fortified village was built in the 16th century to defend against the Turks. Initially, the island with its fortress had 12 families. In the 1800s, the village expanded with a population of about 400 people. In the 1960s the villagers were moved to the mainland, and all the buildings were acquired by the Yugoslav government and turned into an exclusive hotel during the Tito regime. Not what you'd expect from your average Communist. One of the four churches on Sveti Stefan was even turned into a casino. I know Communism disapproves of organised religion; I thought they also disapproved of capitalism! The place was visited during the '70s and early '80s by many celebrities, including Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Princess Margaret, Carlo Ponti, Ingemar Stenmark and Kirk Douglas. Paid-up Communist Party members one and all!

With the popularity of the resort declining, the Government of the new state of Montenegro proposed to recreate the old charm of the island. Action was initiated by inviting international bids for the revitalization project. The contract was awarded to Aman Resorts in 2007. The refurbished resort, completed in 2009, retains the old world charm of its exterior view, with interior facilities to contemporary modern standards. But I'm not rich enough to verify that!

Click here for the larger Beta TrekEarth version.

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Additional Photos by Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1064 W: 303 N: 2951] (13572)
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