2020 / 05 / 20
Montenegro the pearl of the Balkans and the Adriatic
Montenegro is a country of blue sea, dark gray rocks, green canyons, white peaks and red roofs. Unhurried and peaceful. A country where you lose the usual state of bustle and the need to hurry somewhere. Life in Montenegro is as measured as the lapping of the surf at sunset. Evening, the stone walls of ancient fortresses, colorful pebbles on the beach, the red gold of the sunset dissolved in the water, yachts on the horizon and — silence.
Our first visit to Montenegro was in early may, our second in February, and our third in June. And each time the country met us with a surprisingly soft warmth, the scent of flowers (Yes, even in February!), and some unusual comfort. The locals are very good to the Russians and are willing to help if necessary. The store or cafe must have a Russian-speaking employee. And if you get into the Outback by renting a car, where there are almost no tourists, then people will try with friendly patience to understand an unfamiliar speech and will do their best to make the stranger understand them.
On our first visit to the country, when none of us knew a single word of Serbian, our company set up tents on the Bank of the Moraca river in the village of Dragovice Polje. By the end of the day, the hostess of the neighboring house called us to drink coffee, the owner himself came to us in the evening with a bottle of slivovitsa to sit around the fire. And despite not knowing each other's languages, we communicated well, asking each other about life, everyday life, and family. However, Serbian, which is spoken in Montenegro and neighboring countries, can not be so clearly called a foreign language. This language has common roots with Russian, and if you get used to its peculiar intonation and stress mainly on the first syllable, you can easily understand the interlocutor.
- Dobar Dan! Dobrodosli have Crna the Mountain! What is it?
The good itself. Praise!
And all this with a constant smile.
There are two international airports in Montenegro: in the capital of the country Podgorica and on the shore of the Boko Kotor Bay in the town of Tivat. For those arriving at the sea, of course, it is more popular in Tivat, because renting a car in this city will allow you to quickly get to any of the resort towns and travel around the country on your own. When you first see this airport, you are amazed — it is quite tiny, no bigger than a train station in some provincial city of Russia. However, the number of planes and passengers that he discusses is no less surprising. How?
However, there are no crazy crowds or huge queues. Everything about it is somehow at home, in its own way. The Russian-speaking staff calmly does their job, helps solve any questions that arise. Passport control, personal inspection — everything is so unobtrusive and seemingly casual that there is absolutely no sense of something strict and important, as in many major airports. The airport in Podgorica is larger, of course, but it also has the same uniform slowness and calm.
On the approach to Tivat, when the plane descends, it passes over the famous Budva Riviera and, turning over the sea, gives you the opportunity to view the entire beauty of the coast through the window. Take a ticket near the right window — you will not regret it! And on the way back on the starboard side there will be a beautiful view of the Skadar lake and the panorama of the Montenegrin peaks all the way to Albania!
The descent over the sea, the approach, the soft touch of the runway, and here we are. Because Tivat is located at the junction of the sea and mountains, it has a rather complex wind rose. And so only highly qualified pilots fly there, which is undoubtedly nice. You understand that a master of his craft is at the helm.
Landed. There are no corridors or buses: the plane is taxiing almost to the entrance to the airport and descending from the ramp you are instantly immersed in a plume of sun, warm, sea-scented air, the smell of flowers and the elusive, but quite distinct feeling of the resort. Prepare your sunglasses in advance so that you don't have to look for them in your bag while blinking in the bright light. A short queue at passport control, a stamp in the passport and - welcome to Montenegro!
Montenegro is a visa-free country for Russians and therefore the road there is comparable to a trip to another city in Russia: I took a ticket and flew. Direct flights take just over three hours to fly. So when you fly out of Moscow in the morning, you can have coffee in a cozy Montenegrin restaurant with a view of the mountains by lunchtime.
In Montenegro, you can find something to do in both winter and summer. The 293-kilometer-long Adriatic coast with its many beaches combines with almost seventy mountain peaks of various heights, reaching more than 2000 meters above sea level and in winter substituting their slopes for the edges of skis.
Roads in Montenegro are a separate topic. Smooth — smooth - such want to race, enjoying the power of the car and speed. But no! For three visits to the country and a fair ride on it, we did not see a single relatively long section that did not have a sharp turn, tunnel, cliff or sheer rock wall right at the curb. Montenegro is a mountainous country with narrow winding roads and there is simply no place to drive fast. The average speed is 50 km/h. For Russians who are used to 100 and above, it may seem like a longing to crawl so slowly along the road. But the steep serpentines will not let you relax, and the views from the Windows will not let you get bored. Montenegro is very beautiful! In addition, the cities are close to each other and you can not be afraid of many hours of traffic.
Distances range from 20 to 200 km, which, you will agree, is quite a bit. And all this either along the sea with its endless turquoise landscapes, or in the mountains, where every minute you want to get a camera. Well, at least at first, until you get used to it.
On the Bank of the Moracha river stands a small and very cozy Orthodox monastery, built in 1252. It is named after the river on the Bank of which it is located. Built in the tradition of the rash school, the monastery complex as a whole looks surprisingly harmonious and picturesque. Next to the monastery there is a garden with a waterfall at the bottom of it, and a little further on, directly on the Bank of the Moracha river, there is a campsite. Tourists who want to explore in detail all the surroundings of this remarkable place and kayakers who ride along a small section of the river to its confluence with the Dress canyon stop here.
There are two ways to get from Tivat to genovici: a short ferry ride or a detour around the Boko Kotor Bay, which will add about 30 kilometers. If you have time and desire to see local attractions, then you need to go along the Bay. At every turn, there are more beautiful views: a rock wall rising into the sky, the ancient walls of a small monastery, the mirror surface of the water, which reflects the surrounding mountains, small villages with red tile roofs, lighthouses, towers, churches on Islands, cruise liners. Yes, all and not to list! Boko Kotor Bay has a depth of about 77 meters at the entrance and 45 meters in the Bay. The width of the narrowest place — the Verige-is about 300 meters.
The second way is through the ferry-for those who have repeatedly seen all the beauty of the Bay and want to get there as soon as possible. This is how the vast majority of local residents go. The ferry runs between the villages of Kamenari and Babbling at the narrowest part of the Bay. Crossing it costs 4 euros for a car. Free for pedestrians. From the water, you can see very photogenic views, and you can see fish splashing over the side. Nice!
The first time, of course, we went along the Bay. But in Tivat, we could not miss the beautiful and respectable district of Porto Montenegro with its streets, shops, fountains, a Maritime Museum and — how without it — white yachts reflected in the blue water, with a forest of masts against the background of mountains. Marina! Those who often visit Montenegro know that "Marina" is not a woman's name, but a Parking lot for yachts and this word sounds like a song for romantics. Porto Montenegro is a city within a city — a fashionable area for yachtsmen with a large yacht Parking lot and complete infrastructure: apartments, restaurants, shops.
After leaving Tivat, we drove through several villages, past Lepetanje, where the ferry goes to the other side of the Bay and very soon we saw the famous Kotor-an ancient city that is a UNESCO protected site. A city that has many legends. The Most interesting thing about it, of course, is the old City surrounded by powerful walls.
There are several gates leading to it: Sea, South (Gate Kurdica) and North (River). The Central sea gate is decorated with the city's coat of arms and a Gothic bas-relief of the Madonna and Christ, flanked by saints Tryphon and Bernard. Tryphon is considered the patron Saint of the city and not for nothing is the most memorable building of the Old City — the majestic Cathedral of St. Tryphon.
Such old Montenegrin towns always evoke a sense of detachment from reality. These narrow stone-paved streets, ancient walls that have seen so much over the centuries of their lives, openwork balconies, coats of arms on the walls… A table in one of the street cafes, a Cup of coffee beloved by Montenegrins — and the everyday world imperceptibly fades into the background. There is an aura of comfort and tranquility in these tiny stone squares, despite the fact that they have survived many battles and troubled times.
Old Kotor is quite small, but the narrow streets in it are so winding that when walking around the city for the first time, you can wind more than one or two kilometers, realizing that you are circling around the same places, coming out to the familiar squares from different sides. I was shown a large ficus tree in one of the tiny courtyards, which can only be accessed by passing through several inconspicuous corridors. The same as grows in our homes. Only here, in the Mediterranean climate, it is a full-fledged tree. And next to it is an old stone well. It is good when there is a local guide nearby, because walking around Kotor on your own, you can not stumble upon this amazing courtyard, resembling a room without a roof, even by accident.
The patron Saint of Kotor is considered to be St.Tryphon. In the early twelfth century, a magnificent Cathedral was built in the city in his honor. It was consecrated in the summer of 1166. But after the earthquakes, part of the Cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt. In the Cathedral a collection of paintings by such painters as Tripa Cocoli, Jerome Santa Croce, marine Lower Dobrosevic. In addition, the temple contains rare gold and silver products made by local craftsmen in the XIV – XVIII centuries.
Again the coastal road leads past waving feathery leaves of palm trees and villages with amazing names: Kindness, Ljuta, Orahovac, STF, Morinj, Bijela. There is also the city of sailors Perast, opposite which there are two famous Islands: the natural one with the Benedictine monastery of St. George on it, and a man-made reef in the form of a Galleon with the temple of Gospa od skrpel built on it in 1630, dedicated to the intercessor-our lady.
The town of Risan is also ready to surprise. In it, archaeologists found the remains of an ancient Roman Villa, which dates back to the II century. The walls, of course, have not been preserved, but the mosaic pictures of the floors are intact and open to tourists.
The narrowest point of the Bay — Verige — in the middle ages was blocked by a chain to prevent enemy ships from entering the city. Now on one side of the Strait guards the lighthouse, and on the other-the ruins of the Church of Gospa od Angela over the door, which can be seen the date 1585. This Cape offers a beautiful view of Perast and the Islands.
Perast is the hometown of Mathia Shmaevich (in Russia it was called by Matvei Khristoforovich) — Montenegrin Admiral in the Russian service. He graduated from the navigation school and became a captain of the Venetian fleet at the age of 18. In 1712, he arrived in St. Petersburg, became a captain in the galley fleet, helped Peter I create the Baltic fleet, distinguished himself in the battles of the Northern war, was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Russian Navy, was in charge of the construction of the galley Harbor in St. Petersburg, took final exams at the Naval Academy. Zmayevich is buried in the Roman Catholic Church of St. Petersburg. Louis in Moscow, and a monument to him stands in his hometown of Perast on Admirals square.
Here Djenovici is a very small quiet town. There is nothing in it that attracts crowds of tourists. Therefore, it is pleasant to live in it. And if you want something more noisy, then five kilometers away is a crowded and bright Herceg Novi. Moreover, although it is one of the attractions of the country, but unlike Budva, which is completely occupied by tourists, Herceg Novi is not so popular and remains, as it is called, itself — a City of stairs and fortresses.
Dawn in the neighborhood shook. From behind the Lovcena mountains, somewhere above Tivat, the sun's rays appeared, which through the haze poured the most delicate watercolors over genovici, the water of the Bay, and the clouds over the Lustica Peninsula. The view from the balcony was so fascinating that my friends and I just stood there and watched and couldn't get enough of it. In our life full of travelling, meeting a variety of sunrises and sunsets and I must admit that this morning in the neighborhood has risen in one number with the most memorable.
In General, Montenegro has a lot of things that remain in the heart for many years. And we really fell in love with this country and understand those who spend their holidays only here.
For the first time we came to Montenegro as a group of water tourists, and our goal was to go on catamarans on the Moraca river. It was a very strenuous rafting on a complex unfamiliar river. But the views that opened up to us in The morachi canyon-the second deepest after Tara — still excite the soul. Beautiful gorge, unspoilt nature, rock walls going up, powerful river… You can't see any of this from the road. But from above you can see the scale of the canyon. And the hands themselves reach for the camera. And now, after more than five years, we are still happy to review the photos from that trip. Then there were Bar, Budva and Rafailovici, repeated trips along the coast, a visit to Serbia and the way back. Perhaps only photos can convey all the variety of impressions.
The second deepest in Europe — after Tara — is the canyon of the Moraca river, one of the largest rivers in Montenegro. The Moracha flows through the entire country in a gorge, the depth of which in some places exceeds a kilometer. In several places where the mountains part and bridges span the river, you can see the stormy rapids of Morachi at close range. But the most beautiful parts of the canyon are hidden from the eyes of most travelers. From the road that runs along the canyon, you can sometimes see deep below the individual rapids of this river, interspersed with stone rubble.
The Adriatic sea in Montenegro is clean and friendly. This is noted by everyone who was there. No wonder in tourist places, beaches in the season are literally Packed with vacationers. But experts on the coast can show such coves, which are not even heard of in hotels. And there comes a moment of unity with nature: the rustle of waves, nice coarse sand or small colored stones rolled by water, the sun and silence. On one of our visits to Montenegro, we went on a yacht along the coast from Bar to Sutomore and anchored in such a Bay. Below us was the purest green water, into which we dived from the side. At a depth of several meters, you could see the rocks on the bottom.
The Montenegrin coast offers a similar pastime. There is a very beautiful coastline, an amazing variety of Islands from tiny cliffs to very large ones, such as the island of St. George. Nicholas, which is opposite Budva, or guarding the entrance to the Boko Kotor Bay island of Mamula with an abandoned fortress on it.
And the Boko Kotor Bay itself is a separate reason to go swimming, because it opens up best from the water. By the way, walks can be arranged not only on the water, but also under water. Divers are happy to explore sunken ships. And instructors of dive centers know exactly what interesting things the sea hides and where to look for them.
Skadar lake is the largest lake in the Balkans. It contains about 40 Islands. The lake is home to more than 270 species of birds. In some places, the bottom of the lake is up to 30 meters below the level of the Adriatic sea. Acne from Skadar lake to spawn in the Sargasso leaving the lake, and those born there are young individuals 3 years sailing back.
The presence of the sea is reflected in the activities of local residents. Many people are engaged in fishing and mussel farming. For example, we regularly buy mussels in the same place right next to the road leading from Tivat in the direction of the ferry. There is a small farm there, and the freshest clams come to the table literally immediately from the sea. And it was there that we first saw them in such numbers — in Montenegro, a huge Cup of mussels on the table appears quite regularly. But, of course, the local sea food is not limited to shellfish. All kinds of fish can be found in any coastal restaurant. There are also those that specialize in seafood. Some are even known all over the world, such as the famous restaurant "Three ribarya" in Rafailovichi, owned by a fishing family.
The Adriatic is a Paradise for divers. There are caves in the rocks, springs gush from the bottom, fish abound, and ancient amphorae can be found. At the bottom are the wrecks of sunken ships. This is the "Saint Istvan", lying at the entrance to the Bay of Boko Kotor, a two-masted ship at Cape Platamuni, a destroyer of the second world war, the yacht of king Nikola and many others.
And here is evening, the sun descends for sea. You sit in silence on the balcony. Or at a restaurant on the waterfront. There is a steady hum of voices, original and very pleasant local music, a General atmosphere of calm and friendliness — and you forget about time, about business, about everything. You just start living. Live in Montenegro.