Meet the smallest Slavic state, Montenegro

roemi62 (CC0), Pixabay

”Wild beauty “is the tourism slogan used to describe one small country in the Balkans, which is still unknown to many. It is the youngest and the smallest Slavic state, Montenegro. Montenegro became an independent state by separating from Serbia in a referendum in 2006. Over the centuries the people of Montenegro was attacked by invaders from the East and the West. Despite all the difficulties they managed to preserve their culture and language. An interesting fact is that even the Ottoman Empire at the peak of their strength failed to conquer the mountain region of Montenegro in the vicinity of the former Montenegrin capital Cetinje.
Proud Montenegrins were forced to struggle constantly with local Turkish troops to preserve their freedom. Financially and militarily weaker they found their strenth in the glorious past. They remembered the strong Serbian medieval states, Emperor Dusan, Marko Kraljevic and above all Milos Obilic. Folk tradition and the memory allowed to the people of Montenegro to withstand Ottoman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian occupation. Modern Montenegrin state occurs at the Berlin Congress in 1878, after long slavery Montenegro and Serbia finally become an internationally recognized state. Later during almost whole XX century Montengro will be part of South Slavic state that changed a lot of names but most famous was Yugoslavia.
The main reason why I am writing about Montenegro, it isn’t history or its mutable identity, but because of something else. I want to show what actually means slogan ”wild beauty”. Maybe you heard of Mount Durmitor and its clear blue lakes called ,,mountain eyes”. The dense evergreen forests that are still inhabited by wolves and bears. This mountain is a paradise for hikers, botanists and other lovers of nature. Also for great will not be deprived even lovers of good food. In the foothills of Durmitor is the town of Zabljak, where there are numerous restaurants that offer excellent local dishes such as kačamak (polenta), lamb in sauce, cheese. Durmitor is located only 70 km from the capital Podgorica and takes about 2 hours by car to go there.

Grand Canyon is breathtaking phenomenon, this masterpiece of nature is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. No less astonishing miracle of nature is located in Montenegro, in the vicinity of Mount Durmitor. Tara river canyon with a maximum depth of 1333 meters is the deepest European and the second in the world canyon. This place is home to numerous endemic species of animals and plants. Yet the Tara canyon is known for rafting, going down the wild river is an unforgettable experience. According to a worldwide ratings in the field of river, rafting Tara river is designated as III-IV level. What exactly does it mean that Tara alongside Colorado and Zambezi is the most attractive river for rafting.

If we go south, we come across the largest lake in the Balkans, Skadar Lake. This lake is home to over 280 species of birds, among which there are rare species such as the Dalmatian pelican. Rich fauna complement many mammals and over 50 species of fish most notably Skadar carp and bleak. On the shores of Lake Skadar there are a number of small fishing villages which provide the opportunity for visitors to get to know how people once lived here. Particularly interesting are the towns of Rijeka Crnojevića and capital of Montenegro from the 15th century Zabljak Crnojevica. On the islands in the Skadar Lake, you can see the picturesque medieval monasteries,in some of them monks are still living. As in other parts of Montenegro here you can sample delicious specialties such as dried salted bleak and carp, as well as the very quality homemade wine Crmnica.

In the notes of many travel writers this district occupied a special place, many poets dedicated beautiful verses to this area. I’m talking about the Bay of Kotor(Boka Bay), the only fjord in the South Seas, a unique jewel of nature. Tops of Orjen and Lovcen rise above the crystal blue sea. At the foot of these mountains, there are towns such as Kotor, Perast, Herceg Novi and Tivat. Each of them has a rich historical and cultural heritage. City of Kotor is surrounded with medieval walls, inside you can visit the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon from the IX and the Orthodox church of St. Luke from the XI century. In the city there are many buildings from the Venetian and Austro-Hungarian period. In this municipality you can see prehistoric cave paintings near the village Lipci, while in the town of Risan is the only so far discovered Roman mosaic dedicated to the Roman god of sleep-Hypnos.

The first Russian naval got their knowledge about maritime affairs in the naval school in Perast, late XVII century. In front to this small town there are two islands St. George and Lady of Škrpijela, where they raised two churches. The church of Our Lady of Škripjela has many religious and art objects of exceptional importance, including tapestry decorated with women’s hair. Waiting for her husband to return from the ship one Perast’s woman 25 years was making tapestry with the figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary and angels also using her tresses for certain parts of tapestries. On the other side the island of St. George hides a tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet Boka. On the basis of all written is not surprising that the city of Kotor under the protection of UNESCO.

In order to fully understand the meaning of “wild beauty “must come to Montenegro. It is not just what is heard or read about it here, its nature and culture to be experienced. Despite being a smallest Slavic state over and over it can you delight with its mountains, rivers, canyons, sea. Its real ,,wild” beauty.

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