I was always an adventurous kid. When in the coastal town of Herceg Novi, Montenegro, I used to arrange expeditions.
For real, I used to gather a group of like-minded kids and persuade them to go deep into the forest and look for ancient ruins. They followed me, and often we got in trouble.
Once we got lost in the deep mountainous wood s— the entire town went looking for us.
My parents banned me from seeing my friends for over a month. That was before I started playing Tomb Raider and imagining myself to be Lara Croft.
It was impossible not to go wild there. The mountain village where I spent summer holiday was elevated at 200 meters above sea level, with astonishing views of the sea and surrounded in natural forest, embodying many mysteries.
There was no way, for someone as curious as me, to stay away from treasure hunts.
As I am already planning my next trip I hope to discover places which haven’t been written about yet, and trust me in Montenegro, there are plenty.
Fortress of Herceg Novi
The largest of the city’s fortresses is Kanli Kula or the Bloody Tower. It was long used as a prison by the Turks.
Many prisoners bided their time by carving into walls of their cells whilst awaiting their torture and inevitable execution. Dark history aside, the fortress also served as one of the most picturesque amphitheaters and performance venues anywhere on the Adriatic.
The Sea Fortress is perched dramatically atop a rocky outcrop just above the sea. In the 19th century, the Austrians transformed the fortress into its ultimate form. It is believed that they built many secret passages and manholes in this fortress. Nowadays, the place is used as one of the venues for film festivals and concerts.
The Spanish Fortress is located on top of the town of Herceg Novi. The Turks also built it in the 15th centuries with participation of the Spanish. Getting to this fortress is quite a challenge, so I advise having a reliable guide, as the roads leading to the fortress are very narrow, steep and treacherous.
But if you take on this adventure, then you will be rewarded by an awe-inspiring panorama of the city below and the bay.
The Cursed Islet
Mamula is on my shortlist to explore, as it is very fascinating.
During both World Wars they used the fortress as a prison. In World War II it was taken over by the forces of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini who converted the island into the concentration camp famous for torture and cruelty to prisoners.
This historic island is located at the entrance to the Bay, between Lustica and Herceg Novi. About 90% of the island occupies a fortress which was built in the mid-19th century by Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula, Mamula continues to be an abandoned island completely untouched and raw.
Lately it has been announced that an approved plan has been set out to convert the site of this former concentration camp into a luxury beach resort. Better hurry, before the visitations become off limits.
Now, it is important to understand that Montenegro is a home to some of the oldest urban settlements on the Adriatic coastline. And due to it’s yet untouched land, there are many ruins, churches, tombs and graveyards to be discovered. If one is to set off for an exciting expedition from the town of Herceg Novi, then I would suggest following the Mount Orjen.
Mount Orjen at 1,894 meters is the highest mountain on the Adriatic coastline. The earliest historic confirmations can be found in the village of Lipci (rock paintings) dating in the Bronze Age. These events are connected with the Illyrians.
There is said to be also plenty of Austro-Hungarian remnants littered along the paths, and god know what else. There are more than 60km of tracks on the mountain- so plenty of exercise.
Another must visit is Subra Mount, which has various claims to fame: its summit is the best viewpoint in the whole range, amphitheater, is believed to be the most interesting feature of the coastal Dinaric Alps, and the plateaus on Subra are one of the most striking examples of karst micro-relief in the world. The vicinity of the sea creates an extremely rich floral world on Orjen.
There are a lot of interesting facts surrounding this range, such as :
Mount Orjen is a Water-less Mountain
The village of Crkvice is the rainiest place in Europe. The amount of rain, if found somewhere else, would cause terrible floods and destruction, but not on Orjen Mountain.Not a drop of water can be found there.
You Can Find Rare Species Of Pine (Munika)
Thanks to this endemic species, Orjen received the status of a protected area. Specimens of Munika here reach the age of 650 years.
There Are Many Secrets Scattered All Over This Mountain
The most drastic examples of outwitting the Orjen Mount are the so-called cape waters and snow pits. We can find all of them scattered all over the mountain, and surely they carry their interesting stories.
The above is merely a sneak peek of adventure that Montenegro offers. I have realized that there is so much out there to see, discover, enjoy and fulfill.
Hopefully, I will make the trip to Montenegro very soon and will share more.
Thank you for reading.