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Plav


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The small town of Plav has most spectacular setting: it lies 900m above the sea level near a large lake at the east edge of a brad and fertile valley which is bound on all sides by high mountains. Before reaching the town one first observes the Plavsko Lake, the largest and the most beautiful of several glacier lakes of the Prokletije Mountains which are mirrored on the surface. The lake is almost 5km wide with its deepest at  9 meters. Its always cold waters have a dark blue (plavo)  color, which offers, one of the explanations for the town’s name. The lake is fed by the water from the River Ljuča coming from the west while from its northern end Lim, the longest river in Montenegro, flows out. Plavsko Lake is very rich in fish, especially in trout, huchen and grayling. The shores are covered in reed and there aren’t many places suitable for swimming apart from the wooden pier on its east side.

The town of Plav was first mentioned in the 13th century as a village of fishermen in possession of Serbian kings that kept the monopoly on the fishing here. Additionally, it functioned as a commercial centre on the busy road from Podgorica to the Lim valley. Plav developed further after the Ottoman conquest in the mid 15th century and especially at the beginning of the 17th c. when it got a small fort and a permanent garrison; it was during this era that most of the population converted to Islam, the religion still practiced by most of the locals. The place lived its life of seclusion until 1878 when, by the word of the Peace treaty of Berlin, this area was supposed to become a part of Princedom of Montenegro. The local Muslims rose to arms against this decision and after fierce resistance managed to reverse the decision and stay in the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless the old Empire’s rule came to an end in 1912 when the Montenegrin army seized the area. Unfortunately for the region, the newly formed Albanian state got a small portion of the old road to Podgorica and thus Plav was denied its most important route, left with only a single road leading towards the north. This was the beginning of the end for this area which became known for its high emigration. Today most of the people born in Plav live abroad and the town gets alive only during their summer vacations when they return to see their relatives.

Though it consists mostly of new houses the town’s physio-gnomy is still very oriental. At the entrance to its centre is a small roundabout with a post office. On a small mound to the right is Plav’s most important sight, the Old Mosque ( Stara džamija). Made in combination of wood and stone this typical mosque of the western Blakans was constructed in the mid 18th c. on the site of an older one. The mosque’s porch has some fine carvings. To the left of the roundabout opens a view of the large Imperial Mosque (Carska džamija) constructed in 1909 with the donation from the Sultan Abdul Hamid II, thus its name. In 1924 the mosque was turned into a warehouse, later into a school and even into police station and has only recently been returned to its original purpose. From the roundabout starts the narrow čaršija, the main trading street where most of the business and institutions are located. At its end take street to the right and walk past another small mosque with a nicely carved wooden minaret to reach Redžepagić Tower, standing tall in the middle of the courtyard outlined by family homes that surround it. The tower is probably the oldest building in the town, dating from the late 16th or early 17th c. The first two floors are made of stone and are about one meter thick, while the wooden top floor with a typical steep roof was added somewhat later. The towers such as this one were built by local landowners to serve as their homes which could easily be transformed into impregnable forts. If you look closely, you will notice that several other houses around here are in fact adapted towers.

Plav is convenient starting place for excursions to the mountain Kofiljača and  Bogićevica spreading to the south of it. There is a marked route leading to Kofiljača’s higest peak Horolac (2199m) starting from Bogajiće village, immediately to the south of the town. The walking tour lasts approximately 3 hours. In a spectacular setting in the heart of the wilderness of Mt Bogićevica at the height of the 1960m, the Hridsko Lake ( Hridsko jezero) is located and surrounded with Macedonian pine wood. One can drive to the village of Babino Polje ( 12 km to the east of the town) but to continue beyond one needs a four-wheel drive vehicle. Alternatively, a walk to the Lake will take you some two hours from Babino Polje.

 

Montenegro Hostel Team

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