Skadar Lake (Traveline in Montenegro)

January 20, 2020

Nemanja promised me to show me the Skadar Lake National Park and its environments, taking me by car to some of the most spectacular vantage points in all southern Montenegro. – Now we’re climbing on mountain called Rumija, you know, and this is the crossing over the mountain called Sutorman, and that’s the only crossing for cars. The first view, is to the coastal town of Bar. Bar is an important town in Montenegro because it is a main port, where ferries from Italy arrive, and where the main railway in Montenegro also starts. – Is Stari Bar and Bar city they are connected? – Is it one city from the beginning or is absolutely different how is the situation?- No no, it’s different actually, like in the beginning there was just city there, where the Stari Bar is, and around the fortress, it was the old Bar actually. – And they moved in this area, next to the coast, like I don’t know, 150 years ago. – So, that’s why Bar is like very different from all other cities here at the coast, it looks new, like you know, American cities, like all the streets are with 90º angle and it’s pretty much different. Just crossing the Sutorman mountain pass, the green valley leads down to the Skadar lake, a lonely valley where they say the best wine in Montenegro is produced. – Very interesting about Skadar lake, because it’s quite new, it’s only 150 years old, or something like that. – Actually the origin, the story is like this: Skadar lake was actually just a land, very very low land, like 1 metre above sea level or around sea level, and one year it was a great flood and all those four rivers which are coming to the lake now, the biggest one, Moraca, Zeta, Rijeka Crmnica and Cijevna,they just flooded the whole area. And Drin, of course, the biggest one, I forgot because Drin is actually in Albania, but it’s the biggest river which is coming to the lake. – They flooded the whole area and, as they do usually, you know during the wintertime or during the wet season – And the water just stayed. That’s it. This turn of events created a whole new way of life on the shores of the new formed lake, which can be visited in Pelikan Hotel and its museum room. – When we arrived to this beautiful town Virpazar I promised I would show you something interesting. – This is this small hotel, the most beautiful one actually in Virpazar, with this room which is actually a kind of museum. The folk traditional museum of Hotel Pelikan is on the top floor, and gathers hundreds of past usual stuff. – With the old traditional tools and clothes from this region, Severnitsa and Krajina, I told you about. – What is this?- Yeah, this is actually a bottle for wine, and water, you know. – But it’s made not of clay. – Yes, this is a kind of vegetables, yeah, it’s actually pumpkin. – Traditional for women from Krajina, the region up there. – And what’s also interesting here, fishermen nets, because like the fishing is the one of the main industries here. – Fishing and wine. – But it’s not so strong. – Yes, but it’s strong enough probably, because they were using it a lot. – And this is for cutting tobacco, they used to grow tobacco also, a lot. The reason why the water just stayed in the Skadar basin, instead of going away after the flooding past,is that river Drin suffered a change in its course during this event. At the town called Vau i Dejës, it used to split in two, the main arm going to the Adriatic directly and a small portion towards the northern Albanian town of Shkoder and into Skadar lake. Sediments blocked the main course, and the flow into Skadar turned into the main one. The traditional way of life turned from peasantry into fishing because of the new possibility. This southern shore has many Albanian inhabitants because of the closeness to the border, and minarets are not a strange sight, since many of these people are actually Muslim. The roads are not in great condition, and they are very narrow. Animals are frequently by the side or blocking the way, but the ride is worth when you get to the best sightseeing point probably in the whole country. – So, what do you think about this place? I promised you the best view at the end. – I’m sure that that’s the most fantastic view you can have here, and actually that’s a superpointbecause from here you can see not only the lake, the biggest in your country, but also mountains, – Look, check it out, these Damned Mountains, which they call. . . – Yes, Prokletije. – Prokletije means damned. – Wow, fantastic view to the Adriatic coast and also is like 2 countries in one, Montenegro and Albania. The important northern city of Shkoder, the main in northern Albania, is visible on the shores of the lake. – And this is the river which on the map forms the island. – Where we were yesterday. – Yes, that one. – Yeah, actually that river and we can maybe even see the island, but it’s hard to recognize it, but we can see the point where the river is coming to somewhere, and that where is probably the Adriatic sea. – We are just a couple of hundred metres from the border. – Maybe we’re even in Albania now. – 300 metres?

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