The ride from the airport in Podgorica

Beauty of Montenegro

CetinjeWithin the general area one can always find “out of the way” areas that defy convention and stick out from the rest. The old capital of Cetinje is one such magical place, located high in the mountains above Kotor where it rests on a small plateau with breathtaking views. A trip to Cetinje will confirm that few places in the world are similar. Additionally, you can travel higher from Cetinje until you reach a height of more than 1.5 kilometers (2.1 miles) above sea level. At this extraordinary height you will reach the mausoleum and final resting place of the poet, philosopher and benevolent Montenegrin ruler Petar II Petrović Njegoš. This awe-inspiring monument certainly has no comparison in Europe due to its dramatic setting between mountain and sky.Njegosev Mauzolej
As in the case of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, the practice of forging a single persona from multiple desirable characteristics of governor, poet and a philosopher is a unique historical practice and has few comparisons throughout ancient and modern history; however, this type of melding personal characteristics between the practical and the artistic now seems everyday in Montenegro and helps define this special country. Skadarsko jezeroPetar II also contributed greatly to the tradition of prominent poets that have called Montenegro their home. Montenegro’s poetry shows us the country’s unique soul in its true embodiment – one that is meant to inspire contemplation and inner peace. To better understand the soul of this great country, it is necessary to visit its historic treasures, to climb Mount Lovcen and gaze out for as far as the eye can see, finding Montenegro’s highest mountain peaks where they rest before you.
Skadarsko jezeroMontenegro’s mountains can often provide you an entire panorama of vistas as you gaze down on Old Montenegro at your feet. These awe-inspiring natural monuments include the mountain Njeguši, the patron mount of the Petrović dynasty. From mount Njeguši you will see the city of Cetinje, one of the region’s ancient capitals. If you continue your gaze down the mountain, below you lays “Boka Bay” where the city of Kotor rests on its nea r bank. In the opposite direction the Zeta River valley stretches serenely before you. Finally, to your left you will also see Lake Skadar, one of Europe’s prominent nature reserves and cultural heritage sites. On a truly clear day, the coast of Italy is also visible on the horizon! Here we have mentioned the idea of “Old Montenegro”. The mountains in the region represent a kind of “Old Montenegro”. Crno JezeroThe mountains are a type of breeding ground, a cradle for the ongoing veins of Montenegrin independence that run throughout this country’s history. This is because Skadarsko jezerofor Montenegro’s people, freedom has always been more important than life’s other necessities and that is why difficulties and deprivations of life in the mountains, living among the rough-hewn stones, was more preferable then being made a slave in the wake of invading nations that often overtook Montenegro. If you were to consider the relief map of Montenegro which is kept in the ancient Montenegrin capital of Cetinje, you would immediately see that the country has practically no flat surfaces, except for a large plain called Zetsko and of course the equally immense flat surface of Lake Skadar. In fact, Zabljakall of Montenegro’s territory consists of a diverse array of mountains and canyons that spring to life with pure mountain rivers that punch-drunkenly move their way down towards the Adriatic sea, with the occasional straggler moving its way in the opposite direction towards the Black Sea.

Additionally, Montenegro is occasionally the butt of a regional joke because of its relatively small size when compared to other Balkan states. The joke often involves a man or woman you carries a "full-scale map of Montenegro" in their pocket. However, a joke often reveal another truth: Montenegro is manageable in size for a traveller with a week or more to explore several of its sites – however one can also pass a lifetime in Montenegro and never see everything that the country offers visitors.Biogradsko Jezero

One of the best ways to gain an authentic feeling for Montenegro involves rafting down the Tara river that flows between Sinjavina and Durmitor mountains to your left and Bjelasica, Ljubishne, and Zlatny Bor mountains to your right. Because of its legendary clarity, the Tara River is named "the tear of Europe ", and travelling its waters is an enjoyable activity that is accessible even to beginners. Other true delights along the Tara include the ancient relic woodlands that dot its banks, waterfalls and to follow the flight of an eagle held aloft above you as you gaze from the bottom of Europe’s deepest canyon. Durmitor mountain is the centre of Montenegrin mountain tourism. The tourist facilities for Durmitor Kolasin centarMountain are concentrated around the town of Žabljak. During the winter, the main activities on Durmitor include skiing and snowboarding. However, in the summer activities shift to mountaineering and recreational tourism. One of the most prominent attractions on or near Durmitor mountain include its 18 glacial lakes, best known of which is Black Lake. Although it is the smallest of the four principal National Parks in Montenegro, Biogradska Gora near the Kolashin area, is the oldest of the four and contains a Rijeka Taradiversity of flora and fauna unlike anywhere else. There are 26 different plant Skadarsko jezero 3habitats making a home for 220 different plant species, 150 kinds of birds, and 10 kinds of mammals. In the Park’s forests alone there are 86 kinds of trees and shrubs. Finally, in the waters of the Park there exist three kinds of trout and many other aquatic species. Basic elements of Biogradska Gora include: untouched forests with trees over five hundred years old, large mountain slopes and glacial lakes found at altitudes as high as 1820m (nearly 6000 feet).

It is also possible to visit Skadar Lake, which many millennia ago was a part of the sea but after some impressive geological history is now considered one of the most attractive freshwater lakes in the world. Skadar Lake includes uncounted opportunities for boating and fishing or you can simply observe the lives of rare birds living in the Lake’s many protected bird habitats. For example, the rare Dalmatian Pelican (pelecanus crispus) Skadarsko jezero 3has become the symbol of Lake Skadar and the need to preserve this unique area.

Like Ancient Greece or the past stories surrounding Celtic culture, Montenegro is surrounded by myths and legends. The need to form and absorb myths, Kotor Budva passing them from one generation to the next by incorporating them into cultural life is perhaps one of the basic features of the Montenegrin psyche. For those who live to share and partake in myths, the events of ages past at times have a greater urgency to be relived than what has in fact occurred today.The medieval town of Kotor is located at the very tip of the Boka Bay. It is unknown when the first urban settlement was established in this area. During the ancient period, somewhere in this area was the ancient town called Acruvium which was mentioned by the ancient historians Livius, Pliny the Elder and Ptolomeo. From the 7th century onward...

Written: Igor Kossich, Translate: Helena Popović

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