Piva River – Piva Monastery

Piva River is one of few spectacular rivers in Montenegro. Piva River flows in north-western part of the Montenegro finding its way through high Montenegrin mountains, close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between them Piva River carved spectacular canyon, over 1000 meters deep. Piva River makes western border of wider Durmitor /2522m/ area that includes the Pivska Planina mountain /which is east of river/ and also takes water from one of Durmitor’s rivers, Komarnica, on the south. West of the Piva River are equally high Golija /1942m/, Bioc /2397m/ and Maglic /2388 meters/ mountains. From its source of Sinjac, Piva River used to flow 33 km towards north till Scepan Polje where its waters are joined with those of Tara River to form Drina River. Between 1967-1975, the huge 220 meters high dam was built 10 km upstream from Scepan Polje and spectacular 180 meters deep and 45 km long Pivsko Jezero – Piva Lake lake was created, but sadly river killed and lot of canyon submerged. The Plužine Municipality spreads on the territory of 852 sq km. Surrounded with high mountains of Durmitor, Vojnik, Golija, Volujak and Maglić, the Plužine and Piva region makes an extensive Montenegrin mountainous area. Besides the municipality center of Plužine, there are some 60 villages in the region of  Piva. The Savnik Municipality belongs to the high Dinaride Mountains of Montenegro and borders to the south with Niksic, to the east with Kolasin and Mojkovac, and to the west with Pluzine, while on its northern side is Zabljak. All those natural features make this area an impressive tourist destination for mountaineering, rafting, canyoning… The Piva Lake extends even into part of the Komarnica river canyon. Well, not only canyon was submerged but also source of Piva River and Pluzine town found themselves under water. All streams, rivers and waters of the Piva area join the Bukovica and Komarnica rivers and further to Piva River, which continues to the HE of Mratinje.

Historically very important Pivski Manastir – Piva Monastery was moved from Piva River source to the higher location in Goransko village, near Mratinje Lake and the new town of Pluzine has been built. Piva Monastery houses several holy and miraculous relics. Pivski Manastir – Piva Monastery dates from 1573 and features around 1260 square meters of very valuable frescoes, which were painted in 1604 and 1605 by Greek painters. Piva Monastery is dedicated to Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. Its careful deconstruction stone by stone and transfer to higher location and reconstruction of frescoes, lasted over a decade during 80-ies of the 20th century when the Mratinje Lake and the Hydro-power Plant have been built. It is believed that Piva Monastery was built by the order of the Grand Vizier Mehmed-paša Sokolović and his cousin – the Serbian Patriarch Savatije, who was Patriarch of the restored Pec Patriarchate in the time when the Piva Monastery was constructed. The church of the Piva Monastery is three-nave basilica, with trefoil altar apses and the narthex, without the belfry and the dome, built of gray and rose stone blocks. Treasury of the Piva Monastery is considered as one of the richest and best researched among Serbs and keep number of precious manuscripts and relics. The throne icons of the Mother of God, Christ and Assumption of the Mother of God were painted by the artist Longin.

Piva River is characterized by its extreme, untouched natural beauty. The landscape near Piva River is marked by dense stands of trees, and limestone plateaus cut by canyons formed by the Tara, Piva, Komarnica and Susica rivers, forming a system of rivers and deep canyons unlike any other in the world. The Piva Plateau is very lightly populated by shepherds and a small smattering of local settlements, and the region is mostly devoted to stock breeding, especially sheep. The oldest settlements are mentioned in the Middle ages, in written documents and oral epics, such are Mratinje, Pluzine, Stabna, Stubica, Seljani and Rudinice, while in the mountain area settlements are Donje Crkvice, Zagradje and Scepan Polje. By oral tradition, those settlements existed in the 15th century, but by some old cemeteries and traces of vineyards and orchards, they might have existed even much earlier. Meat, milk, yoghurt, cheese, leather and sheep wool are products of Piva area with recognizable quality.