Running along the Kosovo/North Macedonia border, the Šar Mountains offer the best opportunities for skiing in Kosovo. The Brezovica ski resort has been the most prominent center for winter sports in this area since 1954, but infrastructures supporting winter tourism have been neglected over the past 20 years—some would claim for much longer. A glimmer of hope that the area may undergo re-development work surfaced in 2014, but it quickly evaporated due to lack of funds.
The high expectations undergirding the establishment of the Brezovica ski resort and the uncertainty around its future are two vastly divergent sets of ideas that intersect in the empty corridors of abandoned hotels in and around Brezovica. Narcis Hotel is by far the most conspicuous example of this state of affairs. With its imposing center block and two sloping wings evoking ski runs, Narcis Hotel is still the unmissable landmark that it was in 1973, when it first opened its doors to Yugoslavian skiers. However, unlike the polished image that Narcis Hotel once had, nowadays its exterior is neglected, and its iconic sign is in ruin. No one but the guards are to be seen on site, which explains why all the doors and windows are intact, and the hotel has not been broken in.
If the situation for many a hotel in the area is grim, Narcis Hotel faces an additional difficulty, namely being located in the village of Strpce. In fact, the majority of inhabitants in Strpce are of Serbian origins, while the remaining population is made up of Kosovars. This resulted in businesses in the hands of ethnic Serbs being boycotted by tourists of Kosovar ethnicity. Following Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008 the situation worsened, and Narcis Hotel’s rate of occupancy fell to 5 percent. This was an untenable situation, and the managers had to make the drastic but inevitable decision to close down. Future prospects are equally bleak, as the ethnic makeup of the village makes the location highly volatile and unlikely to attract investors.