Thursday, 26 April 2012

Montenegro

View to Skadar Lake - 44 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide. The Balkans largest lake which Montenegro shares with Albania.
Montenegro sits at the far southern point of what was Yugoslavia. It is a tiny country with just over half a million inhabitants. Our impression was that they are a struggling economy, and several locals voiced the view that in retrospect life under Tito was better. They are in the euro, unlike their neighbours Croatia. From our visit to Croatia, we feel that Croatia is more prosperous.
Tito was an authoritarian leader, but Yugoslavia was an economically successful country from which all Yugoslavians benefited.
The Montenegrin male is born "tired", and spends his life recovering!!! They are perfectly happy for Serbians and Croatians to come to their country and do the work. This information was given to us by a local Historian. Most Montenegrin's are Orthodox Christians, but resent the fact that their church is known as the Serbian Orthodox church because of the Serbians controlling influence on it. Along with the southern Croatians they are the tallest people in the Balkans, many are well over 6ft 6inches. This is in contrast to their near neighbours, the Albanian's, who are very short.
View of Budva from postcard dated 1900 
via wikipedia
We stayed just outside the old town of Budva with a history spanning two and a half millennium, making it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic.
Legend tells that a banished Phoenician prince called Cadmus originally founded the city. Budva can trace it heritage back to the Bronze Age when it was a simple illyrian settlement before becoming a Greek trade centre during the classical age and then a fortified Roman town. 
They suffered a devastating earthquake in 1979 which was especially destructive in Budva. However, during the rebuilding period which followed, many wonderful archaeological artifacts were discovered.
 
Illyrian- Greek helmet from the beginning of the 5th Century BC.
4th and 3rd century BC ceramic vessels discovered in an Hellenistic necropolis.
Glass vessels from the Roman period I - III century AD.
The old town of Budva is surrounded by fortified Venetian walls with four large entrance doorways. Much of the interior architecture is of Venetian design. The oldest surviving church is the one on the right of this photo said to date from AD840. The other church located on the left, and partly incorporated into the city walls is St. Sava. The apse being of Romanesque style. During Napoleon's occupation of the region, the church served as a stable.
Once a small fishing village, Seveti Stefan is now one of Montenegro's most iconic sights. A popular resort for the rich and famous. The small peninsula linked by a causeway is out of bounds to the general public. 
The coastline
Skadar lake 
We experienced some lovely weather, but also some extraordinary weather. There was a lot of rain during the first couple of days, although we were still able to make visits and avoided getting wet. However, on the second evening we had an almighty electric storm which lasted for 8 hours. One part of the hotel was flooded out, but our side remained alright. Where we had looked out on grass from our terrace window, we had a lake, which happily vanished during the day.
View from our terrace.
postcard wikipedia

20 comments:

  1. Rosemary, the image of the green boat is frame worthy. What a lovely place, filled with history. The pottery is interesting too. Glad you had a good trip. hugs, olive

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    1. Dear Olive - glad you enjoyed seeing a little of Montenegro, and thank you for the lovely comment regarding the green boat♥

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  2. Hello Rosemary:
    You have, in this post, inspired us to go and we shall certainly add this beautiful, interesting and rather strange country to our list of places to be visited.

    With regard to what you say about Tito, in a recent poll 60% of Hungarians said that they preferred life under the previous regime, i.e the Communists. Living here we can, in part, understand why.

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    1. Dear Jane & Lance - that is a very interesting comment regarding the recent poll in Hungary. However, the same is not true of the Albanians, who are not only relishing their freedom, but are also making very big strides forward.

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  3. Dear Rosemary - Thank you for introducing me to Montenegro, which, from your photographs, seems to be very beautiful! Isn't it amazing that all those Roman glass bottles remained intact? I'm guessing they were all found in the same general area.

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    1. Hello Mark - I am not exactly sure where they were found, but I think that they are very beautiful. As you say it is amazing that they are still intact, and such lovely colours too. I am always astonished at the incredible accomplishments of the Greek and Roman craftsmen.

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  4. Dear Rosemary: Beautiful pictures of Montenegro. Of course the country's name is familiar to me but I must admit I have never seen pictures of it. It looks like a wonderful and green country. What you are writing about it's history is very interesting too. I was laughing about the tired males... Europe is such a fascinating and manifold area - I should really have more time for travelling! Your photo report about Sicily is still on my mind and I am trying to persuade my husband to go there next autumn although we had planned a long hike from Switzerland to Trieste. Now there has come another idea from you...

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    1. Dear Christa - the tired males made us laugh too. Earlier in the day before we were made aware of the phenomenon by the Historian, we had noticed many young men hanging around the town, and sitting playing chess in the cafes. We had assumed that it was caused by lack of work. You are right about Europe, we are so fortunate to have so many different cultures, and countries on our doorstep. A hike from Switzerland to Trieste sounds a wonderful idea, however, do also keep Sicily in mind for a visit one day.

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  5. Dear Rosemary,
    Montenegro , was on my list of "M's" .. Recently here on our tv adverts ..they have started promoting Montenegro as your next holiday destination.
    A smile on my face about the men "being born tired"..sounds a little like the "Alentejanos"! ):
    Now i look forward to adding Montenegro to my list. However Sicily still takes my breath away.
    Skadar lake looks beautiful.
    Such interesting history from that part of the world.
    Your photos are superb and as always such a joy to read your posts.
    Glad that you enjoyed your holiday. Too bad the weather was not so good.
    have a great day..and thank you
    val

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    1. Dear Val - yes, I think Sicily is definitely a place you would enjoy to visit. Glad you liked the photos and the history. The weather was fine most of the time, it was just that huge storm in the night that was rather exciting.

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  6. Thanks Rosemary for showing the beautiful landscapes of Montenegro.

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  7. I love the vieuw and story's. Thanks for sharing Rosemary.
    gr. marijke

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the photos and stories Marijke. Thank you for your visit.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,

    We have lots of photos of Montenegro, together with memories of the time my father spent over there. There is a photo of him in Seveti Stefan, where he looks particularly gorgeous with a fantastic view behind.

    Croatia used to be part of Italy, till the end of WW2, I'm sure you know, and it tends to be very touristy, hence the prosperity, I think. The whole area must be fantastic!

    Ciao!

    ANNA

    xx

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    1. Dear Anna - lovely that you have a photo of your father in Seveti Stefan, I presume that was in the days of Yugoslavia. Years ago we visited Pula in the north which as you know meets the border with Italy, and we travelled over from there to Venice. It is a very close neighbour of your country.
      Ciao

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  9. Dear Roscmary
    Very beautiful photos. I am sure that in such a place with history and architectural landmark you pass beautifully. Thank you very much for the historical information.
    Have a beautiful weekend
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - glad that you enjoyed the background and photos to Montenegro. Hope you have a chance to make a dinner and use your lovely candlesticks this weekend.

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  10. Rosemary, I instantly want to see Budva for myself. What a history, and what a beautiful place. That helmet! How old is the man who first wore that, and what combat might he have seen?

    Just magical post. Beautiful pictures. Thank you.

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    1. Dear Kate - It is difficult to envision the sophistication involved in producing that beautiful bronze helmet. The history in that area is remarkable. Glad that you enjoyed the post.

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