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Zabljak Culture

Municipality Zabljak is rich with culturally historical monuments and localities of greatest archeological importance. Next to Riblje Lake (FISH LAKE) and in Bare Zugica (PUDDLES OF ZUGICI) especially interesting are tombstones almost 8 centuries old. Above Lever Tara the remains of Pirlitor raise, a medieval town from XIV century. This town was the most significant connection between medieval Dubrovnik and interiors of Balkans, in the vicinity of the town Zabljak itself there are remains of old tombstones with “stecak”  (UPRIGHT TOMBSTONES). Piva monastery, build from 1573 to 1586 is of great artistic value because it preserves 4 manuscript gospels, and frescoes are if great artistic values.

In the immediate vicinity of the Municipality Zabljak there is a range of other culturally historical monuments such as roman stone bridge on Bukovica near Savnik Ljeticak – the place where Smail – aga Cengic was killed, the house of Novica Cerovic the famous Montenegrin hero etc. As it took part in the liberating war and revolution for along time there are numerous historical monuments and landmark commemorations. By its interior and outer relief especially interesting is the mausoleum to fallen fighters and victims of fascism. Also very interesting is Tito’s cave near Crno jezero (BLACK LAKE) in which Josip Broz Tito has made some very important decisions related to the actions of partisan squads.

National park Durmitor, on the other hand, does not have only natural but also culturally – historical richness, starting from the antique period up to today the culture and civilization in this area have left monuments – from necropolis, old towns, and fortifications, tombstones, monastery complexes, up to the monuments to our contemporaries.

For a visitor, especially the one coming from far away, a village house – “savardak”, water mill, and summer pasture lodgment will be strangely attractive. Specific architecture in which stone and wood are dominant, as well as the very form of the construction are characteristic only for this area.

National park Durmitor is listed in the list of World cultural and natural heritage in Paris in 1980. Tara and its canyon are listed in the World ecological reserves of biosphere, under the UNESCO’s program Human and biosphere, 1977. The Parliament of Montenegro in September 1991 on Zabljak, holding this town and the very Durmitor for the capital of ecology in Montenegro, has brought a Declaration of Montenegro as an ecological state:


We, members of the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro, are aware that, in view of the threat to nature, protection of the identity of the land in which we live and work has become our most immediate and pressing task.
Bearing in mind our debt to nature, a source of health and our inspiration for freedom and culture, we are devoting ourselves to its protection for the sake of our survival and the future of our posterity. We recognize that all our differences are less important than the changes in the environment we live in. Regardless of our national, religious, political and other sentiments and convictions we are fully aware that dignity and blessedness of a human being are intrinsically connected with blessedness and purity of nature.
Man and creation in him and around him are one in their depths, their meaning and denotation. Thus the abuse of man has always entailed the abuse of nature. And being committed to the struggle for the dignity of man, we are also called upon to struggle for the dignity of nature.
By adopting this Declaration, Montenegro defines its attitude towards nature as a state policy and calls upon all the people to show wisdom and prevent an impending ecological catastrophe.

Zabijak, 20 September 1991 the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro

The area of Durmitor is maybe the best example of Montenegrin culture. Here, on a small space, you will be able to meet with specific architecture and with numerous elements of Montenegrin ethnographic richness such as clothing items, utensils, items for everyday use, stone, and especially wood who are dominant in construction, while the majority of items in household is made of wood, and it is especially beautiful, often with carved elements, traditional ornaments. People from Durmitor knit sweaters, and socks of wool, which is dominant here in clothing items. These clothing items are dyed and colored with which one can freely say you get much more than a clothing item, so we recommend that as a souvenir from this area you take some of those clothing items.

When we are talking about the cultural richness of this area you will meet several interesting constructions and facilities.  The bridge over Bukovica dates from the Roman period, with 16 meter stone arch. Not far from the bridge there is a carved figure of Veda god Mitra which is incised in the sacrifice altar. On the stone there is an inscription In victus augustus. As a part of the national park there are numerous necropolis and “tumul”.  With their beauty tombstones also stand out – Greek and Roman graveyards. By all means most representative in this area are monasteries and churches. In the places called Novakovici and Bare Zugica there is a large number of “stecak” (Tombstones) which testify about the rich historical base of this area. Of churches especially beautiful are the Church of Sveto Preobrazenje (HOLY CONVERTING) in Zabljak, as well as the one which has the same name in Krs. The Church of Sveti Spas (HOLY SALVATION) in Mala Crna Gora  (SMALL MONTENEGRO) and the Church of Sveti Djordje (SAINT GEORGE) in Novakovici, monastery complexes in the valley of Tara are monastery Dovolja which is more than 500 years old, and monasteries of Sveti Arhandjel (SAINT ARCHANGEL) on Tara and monastery Dobrilovina which in the past has been one of the most important cultural centers in this area. Beside these sacral facilities the ruins of towns and fortifications are also present but as a part of ethnological heritage by all means we have to mention the mountain lodgments in which “savardak” and watermills dominate. On summer pasture homes in Dobri Do you will meet the families who during the summer go with their big herds high in the mountain and stay there until late in the summer.

Already from the XIX century there came a greater interest for research of this area. Of some famous name who stayed and researched the Durmitor area we will mention Jovan Cvijic (famous Serbian geographer), Josif Pancic (Serbian botanist), and Pavle Rovinski (scientific researcher and writer of itineraries who stayed for a long time in Montenegro, otherwise a Russian). Especially interesting for the domain of ethnology of this area are the researches of Pavle Rovinski, whose pieces we warmly recommend should you want to meet Montenegro through the centuries of her existence.

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