Once home to the richest and most affluent people in Europe, now merely derelict mansions with no occupants in sight; this astonishing project by Croatian photographer Mirna Pavlovic highlights the scars of the political and social upheaval of the 18th & 19th century and is a stark reminder how fragile societies really are.
The social revolutions of the 18th century served to change the world indefinitely. The toppling of the aristocracy was one of the most significant moments in social history for redressing the balance of wealth accross Europe. Aristocrats were forced to flee their homes to find safer places away from violence and that left these extraordinary properties, once occupied and buzzing with life, completely derelict.
It has to be said, despite HEKKTA‘s knowledge of this defining time being pretty decent (if we do say so ourselves), we were unaware of what Mirna Pavlovic has to share. These vast mansions still untouched to this day and the echoes of the past being so apparent in the furnishings and the furniture left remaining. It remarkable to think that nobody has knocked them down or claimed them. But in a strange way, we are glad they didn’t. They are living, breathing history and a stark reminder of how significant the fall of the aristocracy and affluent was.
Mirna explained: “The World Wars left many scars, and in terms of abandoned villas of wealthy families, most of them are concentrated in countries which held a precarious political position in the wars.
“Most of these homes were abandoned, appropriated by the regime and then reappropriated by the surviving members of the families after the conflict ended, only to once again be abandoned when the world entered post-war economic fluctuations. The crumbling economies and high emigration rates sealed their fate.”
They lived in such splendour and luxury for so long and the gap in wealth and living conditions between the common man or woman and these arisocrats was truly shocking. The speed of decline just goes to show that the common conception of the stability and safety of wealth is merely a facade.
A very powerful project by a talented photographer.