Petrovac is one of the loveliest places in the Montenegrin coast. It enjoys all the amenities of a holiday resort with plenty of places for wining and dining, but one the other hand, it remains of fairly moderate size. In Roman times local landowners built several villas here whose geometrically shaped mosaics can still be seen in two places in the town. In medieval times, the settlement withdrew up the slopes and existed under the name Lastva. With the agreement of Paštrović bankada in the 16th century Venetians built on the seafront a quarantine for the sick and small fort which protected the sailing ships along their strip of coast. Gradually next to the fort appeared the storehouses for wine and olive oil brought from the surrounding area to be sold overseas. The beginning of the 19th century saw the first houses erected and the new settlement adopted the name of Kastel Lastva after the fort it grew beside. This was changing in 1918 in the memory of Serbian king Petar the “Liberator” when the town became a part of Yugoslavia.
He hub of life in Petrovac is pine shaded promenade which stretched along its 600 m long beach well-known for its fine reddish sand. Amongst the row of modest stone houses lining the promenade stands out of cultural center “Crvena komuna” ( “Red Commune”) which got its name in memory of the communist victory in the local elections in 1919. The promenade ends with the small Venetian fort, known locally as Kastio, recently turned into a nightclub. In a prominent position next to its stands the tall monument resembling a form of a lighthouse; it is dedicated to Paštrovići who died while fighting on the communist side in World War Two.
In the middle of Petrovac cove stand, while not bigger than large riffs, they were large enough to allow protection to the people of Lastva in case of Turkish attack.The one on the left, Katič, is bigger and covered with thick shrub. The small stony one is Sveta Nedjelja, called after the church built by a donation from the local sailors. The legend says tht is main benefactor was a Greek who was shipwreck and found refuge on the island on a Sunday (nedjelja).
The oldest monuments in Petrovac lie inland from the coast. To find the 4th century Roman mosaics the tourist signs won’t be enough and is therefore best to inquire locally. The two churches, one dedicated to St Elijah (Sveti Ilija) and the other to St Thomas (Sveti Toma), where built in the 15th century but were later was the sight of the legendary heroic act of priest Rade Andrović In 1785 Kara Mahmud Bushati, a Turkish pasha from Skhoder looted and burned the whole of Paštrovići although he promised not to do so. The priest Andrović decided to take revenge and kill the Turkish villain. While seemingly unarmed he was allowed into the pasha’s tent where he took out his concealed gun but chance it did not fire and Andrović died to no avail.
The monastery is located half way between Sveti Stefan and Petrovac. Coming along the highway from direction of Budva it lies on the right hand side, immediately after the junction for Perazića Do beach, and its clearly visible from the road. The legend retold from on egeneration of Paštrovići to the next tells that the monastery was founded next to the main medieval road running down the coastline. By the road stood a pillar and on it a jug with wine for the thirsty travelers, kept full devotedly by Paštrovići clan members. One day in year 1226 Serbian king Stefan the First Crowned drank from the jug and it return for this generosity decided to found a monastery here. The second church in the monastery was added by Serbian Emperor Dušan the Mighty in 1351, the same year he granted Paštrovići the rank of nobles of the region. During its history Reževići remained closely knit with Paštrović clan and whenever their freedom was endangered the monastery suffered as well. The first trouble came upon in the 1785 campaign of Mahmud pasha Bushatli when it was destroyed. In 1812 it was burnt by the French for opposing their rule and siding with the Montenegrins. The last of the destructions came in 1941 when the Italians pillaged and set it ablaze.
The shady courtyard overflowing with flowers has a souvenir shop which amongst other things also sells stone-pressed olive oil and honey made by monks. The larger of two monastery churches was built in 1770. It is a typical maritime church of the time, with a sturdy stone exterior and a modest rose window. The unusual belfry with five crosses was added in 1839. Its interior has newly painted walls and a iconostasis done by Marko Gregović (1867-1941), an academic painter from Petrovac. The small church is supposed to be one built in the 13th century but adaptions made through the centuries have blurred its origin design. In it one can see very good frescoes from the end of the 17th century and an iconostasis painted by Aleksije Lazović of Bijelo Polje on 1833. Further to the left of this church, underneath the steps of the monastic residence, stands the only surviving wall of the second, 14th century church, complete with the frescoes from the period. In front of the monastery complex is a stone threshing floor with a nice view of the sea.
The monastery stands on a prominent position enjoying fine views to Buljarice cove and yet its courtyard with lots of flowers and a drinking well seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches. The monastery complex consist of three churches. The one closest to the entrance, dedicated to St Sava, is the youngest; it was built in 1863 on the spot of and older temple from 15th century, but with its interchanging rows of red and white stone fits in perfectly with the whole. Inside there is an interesting iconostasis made by Greek painter Nicholaos Aspiotis.
The unusually orientated Church of St Nikolas was built around 1618 by Dioniosije and Stevan Davidović, as stated on the inscription above the entrance. Its interior is entirely covered in will paintings, work of the famous priest Strahinja of Budimlje and the painter Jovan in 1620. The frescoes represent episodes from the Old and New Tetamnets, the Durmitor of the Virgin, the Nemanjić rulers and the large bust St Nicholas. The fine iconostasis was carved and painted by Vasilije Rafailović of Risan in 1796. On one of the icons you will notice a dog-headed saint, which was actually a usual depiction of St Christopher in Eastern Orthodox iconography where his beastly looks were given contrast to his saintly life.
The third church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, stands on a mound with a small cemetery. Very small ( 6 by 4m) and without any outer décor, it is typical for the old village churches of the coast-land. The interior was painted by priest Srahinja seemed to prefer smaller, intimate spaces since he made a better disposition of scenes and characters here, producing a harmonious whole ranked as his best work. Among the ecclesiastical themes we encounter once more the busts of the Nemanjić rulers.
paštrovićs and their bankada
The Paštrovićs clan is the largest and the most important one the Montenegrin coastline. Also it is very old, being first mentioned in 1355 when some Paštrovićs were nobleman in service of Serbian Emperor Dušan. From the beginning of the 15th century we have records of the 12th families of Paštrovići united into one clan. In 1422 they decided to accept Venetian supremacy and to wage war for her between Kotor and Shkoder but on conditions that the Republic should guarantee their trading rights and a wide autonomy in dealing amongst themselves. The meant above all that the Paštrovićs settled the conflicts between their clansmen in their own court called “zbor” ( “gathering”), “bankada” ( from Italian banco-“table”)or “the Place of Justice”. In dealing with civic disputes the court used the Code of Emperor Dušan and common law while in deciding on questions of common interest for the clan every man had right to speak out. The Bankada was made up of four judges and 12 “nobles” who were elected for a one year term on Vidovdan (28th of June), a very important Serb holiday. The court’s patron saint is St Stevan Štiljanović, a late 15th century duke of Paštrovići, who had a flee from initially convened at the Drobni pijesak beach but later also in Sveti Stefan and in the Praskvica monastery. Although the Paštrovići were stripped off their rights, first by the French and later 1926. It was renewed in 1999 and nowadays against resides on Vidovdan in Drobni pijesak. Today the Bankada’s main concern are preserving the old traditions, religious festivities, economic development of the Paštrović area ( from Budva to Sutomore) and protection of hiostorical monuments.
Montenegro Hostel Team