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Montenegro – Wild Beauty

There are three colors present in the Montenegrin landscape: blue, emerald green and iron gray, amazingly combined and interwoven, because of its priceless natural beauty, Montenegro was proclaimed an ecological state through a special declaration.

The fabulously jagged coastline of the Adriatic sea offers you the variety of beaches, coves, bays and islets that you have been dreaming of. The reality is even more exotic then the promises found in tourist brochures. The world’s southernmost and probably the most celebrated fjord in verse, beautiful Mediterranean Kotor Bay, as well as the whole seacoast, is sheltered and shielded by the karstic mountains: Rumija, Sutomoran, Orjen, and Lovcen. In these picturesque karstic areas and in the cultivated Zeta and Bjelopavlici valleys, you will get the essence of Montenegrin mountains. The high mountains like Durmitor, Bjelasica, Komovi, and Visitor can offer you an unforgettable experience with their hidden lakes, numerous pastures, forests, pointed peaks, diverse flora and fauna, fast mountain rivers and imposing canyons.

Generous and miserly, cruel and graceful, fascinating nature of this country has always aroused excitement and inspiration.

“The most beautiful meeting of land and sea at the time of the birth of our planet” (J. G. Byron) has created many small bays and a large Bay of Kotor, hidden wild beaches and a thirteen kilometers long Velika plaža with healing powers.

White and gray waste land of limestone area rises above the coastline. “Sea of rocks” is only one segment of the sumptuous mosaic. In the central region there are the fertile Zetska and Bjelopavlićka plains and a bird paradise – Skadar Lake. Then there is a wreath of mountain ranges over 2,000 meters high. Apart from the peaks, they are adorned by woods, spacious pastures, forty lakes, impetuous and clean rivers, deep and mysterious canyons. The worlds of beauty are under water and underground – in many caves whose exploration has only begun.

Montenegro has five national parks. Durmitor with the Tara River Canyon is part of the world natural heritage. The Tara River Canyon is on the list of international biosphere reserves. As a rare wetland habitat Skadar Lake is included on the Ramsar List.

In 1991 Montenegro was proclaimed ecological state.

Sea and the Bay of Kotor

The Adriatic Sea is one of the warmest seas and is one of the cleanest and clearest seas rich in marine flora and fauna.

Through the Strait of Otranto it is connected with the central part of the Mediterranean Sea. Its width is greatest between Montenegro and Southern Italy (about 200 kilometers).

Contrast of enchanting waters of the Adriatic and gigantic Montenegrin mountains is softened by sandy beaches, sunsets and bays, Mediterranean and tropical plants, pine trees and olive groves and white towns along the coast. The contrast is apparent when you take the road from Kotor up the Lovćen serpentines. Each curve reveals a new, more magnificent, exciting and somewhat frightening view of the Bay of Kotor, “the beauty of beauties”, created according to the legend by the will of the god of the sea Poseidon himself.

National parks in Montenegro

Five areas in Montenegro have the status of national parks: Lovćen, Durmitor, Biogradska gora, Lake Skadar and Prokletije.

Their natural and cultural values are presented in visitors centers, and opportunities for active recreation are numerous. Besides the marked walking, hiking and biking trails, in the parks you can find thematic, educational and wine paths. There is also sports fishing, cruising, camping, adventure park, rent-a-bungalow…

Conquering peaks, viewing platforms, richness of flora and fauna, healing powers of water wells, herbs, national cuisine … There are many reasons to visit the national parks of Montenegro.

Mountains

They add to a small state a lot of space, height and width, depth and shape. Each mountain is a story for itself. Bjelasica is tame, Durmitor is unpredictable, Prokletije is the most beautiful mosaic, Sinjajevina is mystical, Orjen is porous, Komovi is proud, Moračke planine are demanding …
There are springs, streams, rivers, glacier lakes, cliffs and peaks to which clouds are rushing, caves, vast forests, pastures, villages and high mountain summer cottages, herds that graze freely, areas that no one has ever passed through … And all this in four variants, because seasons on the mountain are clearly distinguished. It is also true that snow remains on some mountains in the warmest days of August and then at about 2000 meters above sea level you can swim in the lake – and throw snowballs.

Lakes and rivers

Mountain lakes are mostly glacier lakes, doomed to slow disappearance.

The largest are Crno jezero (the Black Lake), Plavsko and Biogradsko, and as for their beauty the following single out Hridsko, Zabojsko, Zminje, Škrčko, Trnovačko, Pešića Lake … Whether they embraced by coniferous trees or grass, their water is clean and pleasant for swimming in summer, and is always interesting to anglers. There are many legends about emergence of these lakes.

Skadar Lake collects water from the mountains intended for the Adriatic Sea. They are brought to the lake by the rivers Zeta, Cijevna and Morača and conveyed by Bojana to the sea. All others rivers rush to the Black Sea: Tara, Piva, Lim with a wide network of tributaries and streams. Waters are a great wealth of Montenegro: clean, fresh, mostly wild and impetuous, stronger than rock. They etch deep canyons, roll snow and trees, hide big fish, refresh and inspire…

Lakes and rivers

Mountain lakes are mostly glacier lakes, doomed to slow disappearance. The largest are Crno jezero (the Black Lake), Plavsko and Biogradsko, and as for their beauty the following single out Hridsko, Zabojsko, Zminje, Škrčko, Trnovačko, Pešića Lake … Whether they embraced by coniferous trees or grass, their water is clean and pleasant for swimming in summer, and is always interesting to anglers. There are many legends about emergence of these lakes.

Skadar Lake collects water from the mountains intended for the Adriatic Sea. They are brought to the lake by the rivers Zeta, Cijevna and Morača and conveyed by Bojana to the sea. All others rivers rush to the Black Sea: Tara, Piva, Lim with a wide network of tributaries and streams. Waters are a great wealth of Montenegro: clean, fresh, mostly wild and impetuous, stronger than rock. They etch deep canyons, roll snow and trees, hide big fish, refresh and inspire…

Canyons

The fact that the deepest canyon in Europe is in Montenegro is not accidental at all.This whole area of high mountains is intersected by canyons whose grandeur is breathtaking. Roads pass through some of these and their verticals are well known (Morača, Cijevna, Piva and Ibar). You can discover others like the Tara River Canyon and canyon of the river Lim if you give yourself up to the wild waters, roaring rapids and waterfalls and emerald whirlpools while rafting or kayaking. A little more courage is needed for canyoning.

Synonym for canyoning in Montenegro is the canyon Nevidio, but even more difficult (the coldest and darkest) challenge is the canyon Grlje (Prokletije). Attractive are the canyons Škudre (Kotor) and Trebješice and Bogutovski potok (flows into the river Morača). However, these are only parts of the manuscript of water in the rocks and many have not been seen yet.

Flora and fauna

Interweaving of climate types, permanent rotation of southern and northern air currents make these areas suitable habitat for over three thousand plant species, including many endemic and relict species.

Especially significant is the wealth of medicinal and aromatic herbs, wild fruits and edible fungi. Dark conifer forest (spruce, pine, fir) are credited for the name of the country – Montenegro. This is the home of one of the two European virgin forests – Biogradska gora.

You can find over three hundred animal species, including some that are rare elsewhere. Apart from wolves, bears, chamois, doe, marten and lynx you can find otter, griffon vulture, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, hawk, tufted duck; Apollo butterfly, rocky mole, alpine shrew mouse, common Goldeneye … There are also significant species of amphibians, snakes, lizards, and most interesting is the triton – alpine newt.

Culture and art

Cultures that exist in today’s Montenegro contain traces and influences of Mediterranean, Central European, Eastern European and Oriental civilizations from various times. In the village Lipci near Risan, in a cave, prehistoric man had painted a deer hunt and a ship. In the opposite part of Montenegro, high in the mountain Prokletije, prehistoric man had drawn himself and wolf on a stone plate. At the prehistoric site Crvena stijena (Red Rock) near the village of Petrovići, 30 km from Nikšić, a 31 cultural layer was discovered.

In some parts of the country, in unpopulated areas, you can find large tombstone, standing tomb-stones, altars and foundations of pagan temples. In villages you can still hear many old traditions. Legends say that those who rescued from Atlantis settled in the Bay of Kotor. Some believe that Homer’s Troy once flourished near Skadar Lake. Some claim that the Celts named major mountains and rivers…

The Illyrians, Hellenes, Romans, Slavs, Turks … they all tended to leave traces of their homeland on these new shores incorporating pieces of their own traditions in Montenegro’s wildness – in stone, language, image, sound, respect for God … Archaeological sites and museums keep their traces. The remains of old Roman temples have been standing here for two thousand years as well as aqueducts, cities, bridges (Risan, Budva, Akruvium, Ulcinj, Doclea, Municipium)…

Perhaps this eternal interweaving of cultures and artistic influences is the thing that is most beautiful in Montenegro, what has resulted from continuous movement and touching of tribes and nations. Interweaving of East and West, paganism and Christianity, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Christianity and Islam, Byzantine and Romanesque postulates, traditions and modern times … they have all influenced on the development of artists.

The cult of beauty of the word lives even today. Through the centuries of the struggle for the preservation or gaining freedom, through the centuries of poverty and hunger, word managed to preserve its dignity and strength and it is the one which gave meaning to life. That is why it was cherished with special care. Art is also typical to this area. Frescoes and icons of known and unknown artists, ornaments in stone, silver and gold and engraving kept in temples have great value. The new age is marked by painters and other artists who are highly respected in Europe and worldwide.

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