There almost doesn’t exist a tourist presentation of Montenegro which doesn’t have pictures of River Crnojevic, but those pictures, apparently have been made from one angle.
It seems as if the tourist employees have forgotten the River after the shooting, and tourist even if they visit it, leave fast. The time as if it stands in the small village which during the XIX century and at the beginning of the XX century was the biggest trading place in this part of the Balkans. On Italian tables the product from River Crnojevic – dried bleak, was very appreciated. Before the Balkan wars River Crnojevic was full of manufacture shops. The first pharmacy was opened there, as well as the first gun shop. In the factory “Marica” they produced the pearls made of fish flake.
Today, those who manage to find the way to that picturesque place, on one side can rest their eyes on a gorgeous area which the nature has made, and on the other side they are shocked by the sight of the neglected and ruined houses, building with devastated façade…
Hotel Balkan is overgrown with shrubbery and it looks spooky. It used to receive guests, and now it is a habitat for snakes. Through the holes, where long time ago were windows and doors you can only see the darkness.
It is hard to believe that above present River Crnojevic, on Obod, in XV century there used to be Montenegrin capital, and that here was printed the first Cyrillic book in the Slav south.
When you get down on the market tiled with white stone and decorated with colorful flowers a man unaware ceases to look behind and his look stays on the beautiful river, on the old bridge, ducks floating on the river carefree… You can only hear the song of the birds and sound of frogs. Beside one ruined house the goats are eating vegetation which came out from the house. Below the bridge two boys and two dogs are swimming in the River. There is no one on the streets. No one is asking you why are you here, or are you looking for someone. There is no tourist standpoint, no direction sign. Even though they refuse to speak for newspapers local people from River Crnojevic are hospitable. They don’t like to speak much, unless you mention the history of that place. They do not want to comment the present, and they don’t even want to mention the future.
– Here, look! That is it. What can I or someone else from here tell you? Everything is show and it gives answers by itself – says one of them.
The other instead of the response why everything is like that and when it will be changed is showing us a book about the River, and a picture from 1960’s in it. There are children, women and old people on the picture… Among them is he. He names everyone in the picture, tell us where they are, what do they do, and whether they are alive. With pride he shows us the pictures of River Crnojevic from his time of youth, but he also is showing us the ones made before he was born. He does that so carefully that the one who is watching cannot miss any nice house on the photograph, café, a car, which in the beginning of the past century was parked “just in the place where you see that ruins”. As if he wants to justify with those pictures his birthplace and to apologize because it looks like that now.
– I am done with the life in town. Immediately after retirement I have renewed my father’s old house, arranged the yard and moved here. I was born here, I grew up here, and this is the only place where I feel free. I want to be in peace, free, and I do not want to talk about anything else but fish, wine, aromas, and birds – says a local man.
The other has opened his eyes wide and looked at us strangely when we mentioned tourists and the up coming tourist season.
– Tourists?! Where will they come, where will they eat, where will they sleep? They stop by, look, admire, and are scared… Some of them jump into the river to cool of because as big as the market is there is nowhere a tree or at least a parasol. They take pictures of the old bridge, and the pictures of themselves on the bridge. No one asks them anything, and they don’t ask anything! They have been asking us enough, pictured us, shot us, and advertised us. What do we have from that, and what do they have from that – said one man from Rijeka designated, and hurriedly went off down the path disappearing among the houses without windows, doors, roof, and people.
GUESTS ARE GLADLY WELCOMED
Few years ago came some Slovenians. They walked here and there, watched, took pictures. Suddenly they sat in front of our house, where we have garden chairs and an umbrella. We greeted them, offered them a drink. “I have fished, wine, domestic bread do you want to eat” – I asked them. They want they said and I took out what I had on the table. They were pleased; when they wanted to go they asked me how much should they pay. I told them that they don’t have to pay anything. “How come” they asked in wonder? You came into my house, and we do not charge food and drink to our guests. “Bon appetite and come again” I told them – said for “Vijesti” an old woman from River, who as all other did not wish her name to be mentioned in the papers.
– I am just telling you that so that you can understand that we know to receive and to accompany even those who we see for the first time, and who maybe we shall never see again. Without any interest, from heart – said this middle-aged woman while we were sitting below that same umbrella in front of her house.