The ruins of this medieval town lie some 22 km north-east of Ulcinj, in the direction of Sukobin border pass with Albania. When you reach the village of Vladimir ( named after St Jovan Vladimir who reigned in this region) take the right turn at the main crossroad and follow the road that leads towards the Šas village. Look for the ruins on a hilltop on your right or for black stone monument by the road, this is the best place to leave your car. The walking path leads to the top of the hill and it will take you some 10 minutes to cover it.
Svač was mentioned already in the 8th century as the seat of the local bishop. It was less known in times of Duklja but prospered in Nemanjić Serbia. The town was destroyed in 1242 when fierce Mongolians swept through the Balkans looting and pillaging however it was quickly rebuilt soon after particularly due to the help of Serbian King Uroš and his queen Jelena who came from catholic background OF French Anjou family. The city’s fortifications remained weak and in times of feudal petulance and against the Turkish advance they provided little protection. The town dwindled in size and importance and already at the beginning of the 5th century it was recorded as a village. Its existence was ended when in 1571 the Turks captured and destroyed it, never to be rebuilt again.
On your way up you will first reach the remarkable ruins of the Church of St Mary which was once part of the city suburbs. It was built as a part of a Franciscian monastery in mid 14th century. The surviving western façade and the square apse have Gothic windows while the portal is of Romanesque style with small decorative heads on the consoles. On the top of the hill the most notable ruins are those of the Cathedral Church dedicated to St John, which was built in the year 1300.
On the other side of the hill lies the Šasko Lake. It is connected by a small canal to Bojana River and 1,5 by 3,2 km in size during the summer but in the winter it doubles its size expanding to the surrounding hills. The lake is rich in fish ( carp, perch, mullet) attracting birds which are at their autumn migrations to the south.
Montenegro Hostel Team