The Mamula island fortress, once a Second World War concentration camp, will soon be transformed into a luxury beach resort with a night club and a spa. Although the move has witnessed strong protests, especially from the family members of those who were imprisoned at the fort, the Montenegro government has approved the project.
Mamula island is a 19th century Austro-Hungarian fortress which is now in ruins. Around 2,000 prisoners were held at the camp site and more than 130 were killed or were starved to death, while it was occupied by Italian forces under the rule of fascist leader Benito Mussolini in 1942.
The Montenegro government gave its nod to the project stating that the conversion will preserve the fortress and boost local economy, as tourism is the Balkan country's biggest attraction.
The ruling coalition has specified that the development include a museum in memory of the victims, however, the company developing the Lustica Bay Resort has made no mention of Mamula fort's dark history on its website.
A statement on Orascom's site read: "The project will be sympathetic to the local architecture and will completely preserve the historical value of the island. The project will also be completely eco friendly by using renewable energy sources, and energy efficient materials."
Located near Montenegro's border with Croatia, the island is in the Adriatic Sea at the entrance of the Bay of Kotor. The island is called Lastavica, but is popularly known as Mamula. It is dominated by a fort that was built in 1853 under Austro-Hungarian rule to ward off a naval attack.
The island is currently uninhabited but is visited by tourists who can reach the fortress by boat.