FocratesPhotography

Travel photography: Montenegro 2019 - Part 1

July 9, 2019

Introduction

The more of Europe I have seen the harder it is to find new and unique places to go. I must say that I was struggling a bit with this years holiday planning until I had the idea to look up some holiday destinations that are a bit untypical. I found several countries that are currently on the rise to become major tourist destinations but are in general rather unknown as of yet.

The one that specifically caught my eye was a very small country in the Balkans. A place where the ocean, the mountains, lakes, woodlands flowery meadows, and everything else a photographer can wish for, meet. This tiny Republic is aptly named after its black mountains - Montenegro.

I was able to spend three weeks there which gave me plenty of time to explore the coastal regions as well as the much lesser known back country. But before I entered Montenegro I spent a few days in the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik, which is located only about 35 km from the Montenegrin border. For simplicity's sake I'm including Dubrovnik in this Montenegro article although it is obviously a Croatian city.

A quick stop in Dubrovnik

Already a popular destination for visitors since at least the early 20th century, the former city state has acclaimed recent fame especially due to being one of the major filming locations of the popular TV show Game of Thrones. Especially since the airing of the show the visitor numbers have skyrocketed and the small Old Town is being flooded with tourists on a daily basis.

View on the walled Old Town from the Srđ.
Especially prominent are the city walls that origin from the 7th century and are the best preserved fortifications in all of Europe.
Houses of the Old Town. Although the city suffered major destruction during the Yugoslav wars in 1991 the medieval character is very well preserved.
The Stradun is the main road through the city.
Views of the city streets before the crowds rush in.
The Lovrijenac fortress is situated west of the Old Town on a 40 meters high cliff. It used to be a major fortification to defend against attacks from the land and sea.
The Pile gate is a perfectly preserved medieval structure that greets visitors entering the city from the west.
Detail from the Rector's Palace.
The Old Town from above. I think this shot captures the city's character quite nicely.

The Bay of Kotor

After crossing into Montenegro from Croatia one is immediately greeted by one of the signature landmarks of the country - the Bay of Kotor. A truly unique landscape in combination with many very well preserved medieval towns makes it one of the highlights of every visit to Montenegro.

This is an establishing shot over the whole bay from the Adriatic Sea (top left) to the Town of Kotor (center right).
View over Kotor on a very foggy morning.
Right above the Old Town a small path leads up to the ruins of the Castle of San Giovanni. Along this trail the Church of Our Lady of Remedy is situated.
Views from the castle.
Fog in the bay.
One of my favorite shots from the trip. After suffering from some rainy weather the days before, this morning provided some perfect photographic opportunities.
An abandoned vessel in the bay.
The bay offers countless opportunities for hiking with amazing views. This panorama was taken from the hills above Perast and is looking towards Kotor.
Perast after sunset.
Savina Monastery in Herceg Novi.
View from the Luštica Peninsula over the outer part of the bay with the majestic Lovćen mountain range in the background.

After exploring the many paths and views of the Bay of Kotor I continued my trip a little further upstate to the Lovćen National Park. Down from the bay an approximately one hour drive leads up to Cetinje in the heart of the National Park.

The road up to the mountain range is very winding and narrow, but nowadays pretty well secured. Countless vehicle remains like this one, in the crevices below the road, bear witness to the fact that this was not always the case.

Lovćen National Park

Various Landscapes of Lovćen. Especially the flowery meadows filled with insect life were beautiful to behold. I have memories of my childhood that we had a similar abundance of flowers and insects once. This made me realize for the first time how quiet and lifeless the meadows of my home country have become just in a few short decades.
On top of the Jezerski Vrh, the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegosis (a Montenegrin poet and ruler) is located. Cetinje, the country's former capital can be seen to the left.
I normally don't do selfies but this image just looks much better with a person on it.
FUN FACT: What you can see here is the exact maximum distance I can sprint within the 10 second self-timer timeframe.
The rolling wooded hills and rocky mountain slopes are characteristic of the National Park.
Some impressions of the vegetation in the park. I'm not a big flower photographer - if you are, this is an amazing place for you.
Late afternoon in Lovćen.

The second part of this series will be about the coastal regions around Budva, various interesting places in the back country and especially the spectacular Durmitor National Park region. I'll publish it here shortly!


Thanks for reading!


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