Visitor Mountain  Plav Lake

Visitor/Goles/Zeletin/Greben mountain range is located between Komovi Mt and Prokletije Mountain ranges, above the town and lake of Plav, in gigantic eastern mountains of Montenegro. The mountainous eco system of the breathtaking Montenegrin Prokletije Mountains belong to the Plav Municipality and features mountainous and high-mountainous habitats of Karanfil, Vezirova brada, Maja Kolata, Maja Rosit, Bogićevica Mountain, Trojan Mountain, Volušnica, Karaula, Popadija, Zastan, Vizitor and Greben, rivers of Grnčar, Vruja, Trokutska Rijeka, Ljuča, Lim and Dolja and valleys of Grbaja and Ropojana and others. Eco research of the Montenegrin Prokletije Mountains area carried out so far does prove particular zones that attributes extraordinary harsh scenery and unreal beautiful landscapes, as well as rich biodiversity and it is known that Prokletije Mountains-Accursed Mountains are considered the second most glacial mountains of Europe, after the Alps. Those Prokletije eco zones include Bjelič, Bogićevica Mountain, Karanfil, Karaula, area between Ropojane and Grbaja Valleys, Popadija, Trojan, river basins of Grlja and Ropojana with Ali-pasha s Springs, Grbaja and Dolja, Grnčar and Ljuča and Plav Lake, as well as zone of the Hrid and Vizitor Lakes with their immediate surroundings and the Zone of Volušnica peak. The surrounding lush mountain forests add special beauty of this area, which also feature wonderful mountainous lakes rich in various wild game and numerous  medicinal herbs.

The beautiful range of Visitor-Goles-Zeletin-Greben consists of four mountains connected – Visitor (2211 m), Goles (2033 m), Zeletin (2112 m) and Greben (2196 m). This breathtaking range is situated in front of the highest peaks of Montenegrin part of the Prokletije Mountain ranges. Mountains of Visitor and Želetin are set in the corner which creates the Lim River turning in its upper course around the Plav Lake from direction west-east into southeast-northwest.

“Ali pasha of Gusinje was the pasha of tge Gusinje area of the Albanian origin. He was born in Gusinje in 1828 as Ali beg Šabanagić. He finished the High Military school in Istanbul after which he returned to his homeland. He was one of the founders and the member of the Central Committee of the Prizren League. Due to the fact that the Montenegrin rebels achieved in Vasojevic area successes in battles against the Ottoman feudals the Shkoder Vizier who administered then Plav and Gusine in 1862 created the so-called „Lim River unit“ that was the military corps which had the task to suppress the Uprising in the valley of the Lim River and regain lost properties that previously were in possessions of agas and beys of Plav and Gusinje. This unit mainly consisted of bashi-bozouk /irregular units of the Ottoman Army/ that arrived here from Shkoder, Rozaje, Novi Pazar, Bihor, Bijelo Polje and from the Kosmet area /Kosovo and Metohija/. The campaign fights of the „Lim River unit“ started on 16 April 1862 when the Ottoman Army entered into Velika, Gornja Ržanica, Mašnica, Murino, Gračanica and Ulotina and set aflame all. The rebels fiercely fought while withdrowing direction mountain heights. In the battles of Previja, from the 16th till the 18th April 1862, the bashi-bozouk units of Ali-bey of Gusinje and two camps of the regular Turskih Army were severely defeated. The Аli-bey and his irregular soldiers put fires on the villages of the Vasojevic area while the Turkish military educated soldiers fought serious fights, along with the Shkoder pasha ad viziers and bashi-bozouk from Albania. The Turkish army set aflame and plundered villages, but was forced to withdraw from the Previja point with great loses to Plav and Gusinje. After a month, on the 18th May 1862 the new campaign of the recovered Turkish army from Gusinje was committed. In those battles there were 42 villages burnt and plundered, when the Monastery of Saint Trinity in Brezojevica and the Andrijevica church and the Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery were set aflame. The Turkish rule, and especially the Ali-bey of Gusinje tried to regain the feudal conditions in the Upper Polimlje – Upper Lim River course. There were daily complaints sent to Cetinje for his atrocities and the Prince Nikola asked the Shkoder Vizier to dismiss the aga from the status of Mudir in Gusinje. Decisions of the Berlin Congress in 1878 along which Plav and Gusinje became part of Montenegro were inacceptable for Ali-Bey and his followers which he strongly opposed not to allow the Montenegrin army to enter this territory. For this he fought two times agains the Montenegrin units, the first time in Novsici between Murino i Plav in December 1879 and the second time in Murino on the 08th December 1880. The Ali-bey managed to defeat the Montenegrins in both battles and for some time prevent implementation of Berlin Congress regulations. For the success of the battle in Novsic, the sultan appointed the Ali-bey into the status of mir-miran. The next year he was assigned the sanjak bey of the newly established Pec sanjak. Since then he was known as the Ali-pasha of Gusinje. He was killed in 1888 at the entrance to the Rugova Gorge, near the Pec Patriarchate. He was buried on the grave yard near the Baryakli Mosque in Pec.” Source Donko Rakočević

Visitor is mountain in the southeastern part of Montenegro, between the Plav-Gusinje valley on the east and the spring of the Zlorečica river on the west. Visitor Mountain spreads in the southwest-northeast course and forms the border between the Municipalities of Andrijevica and Plav. The highest peak of Visitor Mountain is Plana peak, 2211 meters high. It belongs to the peaks that were formed from the Triassic limestone, set across the metamorphosed limestone. At the lowest glaciation of the Visitor Mountain, whose bottom contains green limestone there is the gorgeous Visitor Lake, at the altitude of 1820 meters. The Visitor Lake is completely encircled with thick pine forest and lush pastures. Visitor Lake features eclipse shape. The longest measured point of the Visitor Lake is 91 meters and its widest point is 72 meters. Shore line of the Visitor Lake is slightly jagged and in constant movement, depending on the level of water.

Cultural Heritage of Plav and surroundings date from the prehistorical period, the Roman and Illyric/Serb eras, as well as the Medieval Ages and the period of the Turkish conquest that all prove the uniquely rich cultural diversity. In the Medieval times through Plav led important caravan roads from the Adriatic area of Kotor Bay to the Constantinople. Andrijevica is small town between the mountains slopes of the Komovi Mountains and the Lim River, by tradition named after the donor/ founder Andrija, last time mentioned in 1250, as son of Miroslav Zavidovic who erected a monastery on this spot beside the Perucica River. Some 10 km away from the Perućica River, later renamed into Zlorečica River, whose original name obviously derives from the pre Christian deity of Perun, there is the Kosutice village in the Dobra zhupa area, where on the locality called Krsine, group of scholars from the Museum of Berane in 2005 discovered ruins of the monastery that was known in oral tradition as Namastir –  Kom manastir or the Ćećevo Monastery. There beside the stone remains of the monastery, few decades ago a certain Spis Vasilija – the Basil’s Record was found. It is actually discovery of the Zbornik Smilja Dabizova Vasilija – the Record of Smilje Dabizov Vasilije, written in carbon by monk in 1344, now kept in the Serbian Academy of Sciences in Belgrade, which mentions, among the other data, that the three Serbian tribes in 641 reached the place that they symbolically named Debrec – the present area of Plav up to the Budimlje village, at the foot of Komovi Mountain in Montenegro.

Among the other most significant sites, places of interest and cultural-historical monuments of Plav area are the wonderfully preserved Old Mosque, the Kula Redzepagica – Redzepagic Tower with its amazing collections /one of the most monumental and impressive kulas – towers in the Balkans/, the Saint Trinity Monastery in Brezojevica village dating from the 14th century,  the Vizier Mosque in Gusinje, remains of old strongholds and towns, Djurdjevi Stupovi Monastery in Berane… The Redžepagić Mosque in Plav was built for gratitude to her father in 1774 by Fatima, daughter of Redzep aga and wife of the Shkodra vizier Kara Mahmud pasha Bushatlija who constructed the Gusinje Mosque in 1765. The interior of the Redžepagić Mosque, which is located in the center of Plav beside the Redzepagic Tower is adorned with woodcarving, with its wooden 14 meters high minaret. The Old Tzar Mosque in Plav is the oldest mosque in the area of Plav and Gusinje, which has been protected as the monument of culture. The Old Tzar Mosque has been built in 1471 on the ramparts and remains of the former stronghold of Dizdar grad – fortification of Dizdar. Until the reconstruction, the Old Tzar Mosque in Plav used to have wooden roof – shingle roof and the 10 meters high wooden minaret. The Old Tzar Mosque in Plav features very interesting architecture, especially distinguished woodcarving and arabesques, and was called the asker mosque – the military mosque, as was built and used for services of the military stationed in the stronghold. The Šabović Mosque in Plav has been built in 1900. by sons of Jakub Fer – Hasan aga, Muhammed, Omer, Emin and Aguš. It was built by hewn stone, without wooden parts. The minaret was constructed from wood and is 7 meters high. The interior of the Šabović Mosque in Plav is richly adorned with wood-carved wooden elements, and colorful ceiling is specially interesting. The Sultanija Mosque in the center of Plav has been built by the Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1907. Constructors from Debar built this mosque from 1900-1910 from hewn stone, that was connected with lead. It is assumed that they builders added egg mixture into the mortar in order to achieve the additional strength and consistence of 1 meter thick walls. The Sultanija Mosque in Plav during time was used as school, and for some time was turned into the police building, to be returned to the Islamic community in 1991.

At the beginning of July 1941 the Albanian Ballistics units and voluntary militia /mostly created from Albanian – Arbanas population of Kosovo and Metohija and the northern Albania/, have established concentration camp in the House of Vukota Džudović in Plav, under supervision of the Italian occupying administration of Musolini, where the Orthodox Serbs from Plav and surroundings were brought and captured. It is estimated that over 500 helpless civilians – women and children were kept at the Plav concentration camp where they were severely tortured and found their end there while the local male population was in forests, preparing for uprising. Conditions in the Plav concentration camp were unbearable, so torture, hunger, pure hygiene and illnesses led to death and slaughter of at least 30 children younger than 13 years of age. Due to cruelty of the Albanian guards of the Plav concentration camp, the Italian guards replaced them later. The concentration camp in Plav was closed in December 1942 when part of prisoners were transferred to Pec and the Albanian town of Kavaja, while some detainees managed to escape. The concentration camp in Plav was the only concentration camp for women and children in Montenegro during the Second World War. Among the villains and criminals of the Plav concentration camp is Osman Rastoder bitterly remembered for he burnt and looted a number of villages around Berane.

Adis Tanovic:  Gusinje is tiny settlement located right at the border with Albania, at foot of the Prokletije and Visitor Mountains. Houses of Gusinje were constructed by builders and masters from Debar – Macedonia who were famous for their craftsmanship in erecting structures of stone and wood.

Hridsko – Ridsko jezero – Hrid Lake is situated within the Prokletije Mountain range, close to the border with Albania, on the north-eastern slopes of the Prokletije Mountains, 18 km away from town of Plav. Hrid Lake lies at the altitude of 1970 meters which makes it the highest lake in Montenegro. The Hrid lake is located beneath the peak of the Ridski krš (2.358 meters), after which it is assumed to have been named. Hrid Lake features unreal beauties and covers the surface from around 33 to 36000 square meters, depending on the water lever. Maximum depth of the Hrid Lake is around 5 meters, while its average depth is about 2 meters. Hrid Lake is usually covered with thick ice from the mid of November until May and makes true winter idyll, and surely the real challenge for nature lovers and adventurers.

The Plav Lake and its gorgeous surrounding area provides various outdoor activities thanks to the highly varied scenery and natural characteristics, with a diversity of breathtaking landscapes and biodiversity, varying from green valleys to crystal-clear mountain lakes, waterfalls, rivers and remote picturesque mountain villages, in one of the most remote and wild mountainous regions of the Balkans. Adventurous visitors of the Plav area enjoy in trekking and hiking along well-marked trails in the Plav-Gusinje valley of the Ropojana region, with its highest peaks of Montenegro: Zla Kolata (Kolata e Keć) 2534 m, Dobra Kolate (Kolata e mir) 2528 m and Rosni Vrh (Maja Rosit) 2525 m, mount biking along one of the most attractive circle cycling trail Plav-Hrid Lake-Bogićevica Mt-Babino polje-Plav, which is 52 km long, kayaking, rafting, gliding, fishing, camping, touring the historical sites of Plav and surroundings, attending local festivals and meeting with friendly locals and learning their authentic lifestyle and customs....