Only Walls Remain – Mountain Lodge “Breza”, near Veles, Robbed and Covered with Snow
Only walls remain from the once Veles mountain lodge “Breza”. The picture of the place where until twenty years ago mountain climbers from all around the country used to stay, and before that mountain climbers from Yugoslavia and the whole Balkans as well, is quite sad. A group of recreational mountain climbers stayed there last weekend. They had decided to visit the lodge and spend the day in the idyllic snowy white landscape of Breza mountain.
But what they saw was not even close to the lodge they once knew. The object was destroyed, without windows, without a roof, and almost whole covered with snow. Even the board of the lodge, where the name “Breza” was written, was fallen and turned on the other side. It sadly depicts the destiny of this once popular picnic place.
-It is sad, only the walls of the once mountain lodge remain. At the time, it had about fifty beds, a regular caretaker, and it was the favourite vacation place of the people of Veles because there is only a half an hour car drive to it. There was electricity, water; now there is nothing. The roof has fallen down, and the lodge is now under the open sky – say the Veles mountain climbers.
The problems with the lodge began after the war conflict in 2001, when there were shootouts in this part, and there are visible bullet holes in the building, so the lodge suddenly became unpopular.
-There was a caretaker until 2004, but, during the week, when he was absent, burglars would devastate the lodge. Then the caretaker left, so there was nobody to guard and visit the place. And so, it has been desolate and constantly damaged for 13 years. During the years, as days went by, the inventory was going missing – says Jovan Pavlov from the “Solunska Glava” Mountaineering Association, which managed the lodge until 2004.
As the people left, not only the lodge, but the mountain as well was devastated. The illegal lumberjacks rule there, and they have made bare the whole area around the lodge. Nowadays, instead of oaks for shadows, there are only roots from the trees, and bare and empty meadows.
Eight years ago, during a storm, the roof of the building flew away, and thus the condition of the interior became desperate. Nobody came to put a new roof.
-When there is no owner, everybody is a landlord – is the comment that can be often heard when the people from Veles start a conversation about the state that this mountain place is in.
The view from the mountain lodge, at 1,200m above sea level, is breathtaking. You can see Bulgaria and Serbia from there, the Skopje airport, Ovcepole, Aracinovo, “Okta” refinery, Izvor, Lozovo, part of Veles, Mladost Lake. It is a view that leaves nobody indifferent.
The idyllic picture is ruined with the ugly looks of the home, which is almost wrecked.
How popular the lodge was confirms the last graffiti made on the walls, in 2000, when there was a youth eco-camp for volunteers, with guests from all around the Balkans, organized by the “Vila Zora” Ecological Society.
During the summer, there were so many guests in the lodge that, after being full, some people would sleep in tents on the nearby meadows. There were also mountain climbers from Slovenia, Croatia, Vojvodina. The present lovers of the mountain hope and expect that somebody will show interest in restoring the lodge, for everybody’s sake.
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