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Njeguši


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njeguši

The historical village lies nested in a small karst field directly underneath the northern foot of Mt. Lovćen. Approaching the village from the Bukovica pass from the direction from Cetinje you can see almost the whole of the Njeguško polje field, a green patch of fertile ground in a hollow of grey rocks and dark woods, whose lowest point stands at 850 m above sea. Looking from the same location, one can distinguish some of the ten little hamlets of Njeguši clan, still counted as separate villages by statisticians but otherwise connected by the main road into a whole. Njeguši is only a stone throws away from the seaside which can be seen from the edge of the field, but this proximity is deceiving as a decent to Kotor takes three hours on foot. As this route was also the shortest way from the seaside to Cetinje, Njeguši was a spot that could not be avoided by any traveler coming to Montenegro. This extraordinary position on the brink of two worlds was also important in previous centuries as from here the Montenegrins could easily communicate with a Venetian authorities and this is why both the ruling family of Petrović-Njegoš and their most serious rivals is guvernadurs Radonjići originated from Njeguši. After Montenegro lost its independence and as better roads to and from Cetinje were built, the importance of Njeguši dwindled even though its name still causes awe among all history buffs. However, the village is best known today for its excellent food products for examplenjeguški pršut–a dried ham which owes a specific flavor to the mix of the high mountain air and war air coming from the seaside and also the wood which is burned underneath it. Other specialties here include njeguški sir, a cheese dried for a long period, and kaštradina, dried mutton. There are several families who produce pršut in Njeguši, characteristic with smoky rooms in which dozens of hams hang from the rooftop. Capitalizing on its history, scenic road to Kotor and the fame among the gourmets there are several fine restaurants in the village visited by passers by.

The principal sight in Njeguši is the birth house of Petar II Perović  Njegoš , the famous ruler and illustrious poet. It lies directly by the road in the middle of the village; the whole complex was closed by a decorative iron railing during the region of King Nikola who also built here his austere palace intending to make the sight into a royal compound. The old birth house of Njegoš is a simple stone building housing of modest museum ( open every day from 9-17 h, admission 3 euro). The house was build around 1780 by Njegoš’s uncle and his predecessor Petar I as a dwelling for his extended family (zadruga), with one family living in each with a separate entrance but all connected to each other. Inside the house you will see the simple wooden furnishings from the period , then pictures to well know personalities from the period and some of the editions of Njegoš’s works. Beneath the living quarters ia a basement where farm animals and primitive farming tools were kept.

Directly across the road is St. George’s, one of several old churches in Njeguši. This one dates from 1856 and is typical for the region – a modest stone edifice with the belfry “on distaff” . In front of the church stands the attractive bell donated by King Aleksandar of Yugoslavia, a grandson of King Nikola.

 

A WARRIOR –POET AMONGST HIS BARBARIANS

Njegoš was born in 1813 in the house of Tomo Petrović, a member of the family which for several generations provided Montenegro with its bishops. Baptized as Radivoje, short Rade (by which name he remained known to Montenegrins throughout his life) he spend his youth much alike the other children from his native village of Njeguši, taking care of sheep and learning to use a gun and sabre. Due to his natural brightness and strong constitution his uncle vladika Petar noticed early on that he could be his likely successor. Rade was sent to prepare to be monk and got some basic education in orthodox monasteries of Montenegro and Boka Kotorska. His main teacher, however, was Simo Milutinović of Sarajevo, a Serb romanticist poet who acquainted Rade with great European writers inspiring him with love verse and writing. But above all, Milutinović made him appreciate folk poetry and it was under the influence that Rade started writing his first poems.

In 1830 metropolitan Petar was consecrated as the new bishop-prince of Montenegro. Thus his youth was abruptly ended and he was faced with many problems affecting his small country. On one side were the Turks who never recognized the independence of Montenegro and on the other internal became a warrior and judge. Of imposing stature with his two meters height and processing wise counsel for the problems of his poor and uneducated people, he played his role well but within him remained of free spirit, a philosopher and a poet who stoically obeyed the fate given to him. Ruling where there were only a few men who could read and write. This painful knowledge combined with his talent and the cruel destiny of his people gave impetus for the creation of brilliant works such as the philosophical “The False Emperor Šćepan the Little” and poems on Montenegrin wars “Slobodijada”. But his true masterpiece remains the world-renowned “The Mountain Wreath”, a drama that become popular with the educated for its subtleness and also with the common folk for its use of the style of folk poetry. Witnessing the wealth and education of other nations during his trips to St Petersburg and Vienna, Njegoš tried to meld the painful barbarity of his people by founding schools and bringing a printing press to Cetinje. Tried by his obligations he fell ill of tuberculosis and died 1851, leaving behind him works that seem as fresh as when they were first written and the status of a  hero amongst all Montenegrins.

 

Montenegro Hostel Team

 

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