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Villa Sheherezada

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Villa Sheherezada is the most unusual building in Dubrovnik. It is also known as the Taj Mahal of the Mediterranean as it is the only building built in the eastern style.


Its construction was completed in 1929, commsisioned by the wealthy Russian Jew, Vilim Zimdin who was its first owner and resident. Zimdin at  the time had a mysterious lover, Maurka dark complexion, called Sherehezada, who he wished to build a special oriental style palace for, like the one described in the book 1,001 nights. The villa gets its name from her nickname.


The wealthy Zimdin brought Viennese architect Alfred Keller to Dubrovnik and dictated his megalomaniac idea, left him a tonne of money and gave him a period of two years. The bathroom wass transported by boat from America and the organ from St. Petersburg.


Keller was able to finish the building with colourful terraces and elements of oriental architecture that completely stand out from traditional Dubrovnik stone construction. Zimdin, however, did not want to stop at Dubrovnik's Taj Mahal. He wanted to turn the Church in St. Jacob into a casino, from the old port he tried to make a promenade by the sea and even build a bridge to the island of Lokrum to develop commercial facilities...The city authorities did not allow him to.


With the outbreak of World War Two, the dreams of this wealthy banker ended and the communist regime that came into power, nationalised the villa after executing General Belaj. Zimdin had left the villa in the Rusian general's care after heading to America with his wife (it was said that his lover followed him). It's interesting that neither the Italian, nor German fascists never set foot in the mansion during the war.


With the creation of Yugoslavia, the communists wished to turn the villa into Tito's palace but he didn't like the idea so he didn't stasy there (his villa was built in Lapad). Zimdin's descendants wanted the villa back but instead they signed it over to state ownership under the Hotel Argentina as its upkeep was too expensive. 


During the 1960s it became a strip club and at the start of the new century changed its role again, becominga  villa for the wealthy. Hollywood couple Elizabeth Taylor and Ricahrd Burton spent two months there, transforming Zimdin's lovenest into their own. Tito even visited them during their stay.


Today it has been renovated as an elite residence costing sevral thousand euros per night to stay. The residence is decorated with designer furniture, jacuzzis in every bedroom, a private beach, a personal butler adn breathtaking views of the sea from every room.


Russian millionaire Viktor Vekselberg and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbajev.


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