Prokletije ( litarally “Cursed Mountains”, in Albanian Bjeshët e Nemuna) is the southernmost ridge of the Dinaric Alps. In a wider sense these mountains stretch from Shkoder in the west to Peć in the east, spreading through three states- Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo - and representing natural borderline between them. However, their name suggests a somewhat different view: they were considered “cursed” by the shepherds for their inaccessibility, lack of water of pastures, in fact they were unsuitable for any kind of life-these extremely rough conditions can only be found in the area south of Gusinje, which is considered to be the core of the Prokletije ridge. This part of Prokletije is the most impressive, its wilderness and the other size of its jagged stone cliffs make it a terrifying proposition. This is also where the Prokletije’s highest peak, Maja Jezerces (Jezerski vrh), 2694m, looms. The massif is ideal for hiking and alpinism and although it lacks facilities and many marked paths it offers a feeling of discovery and walking off the beaten track. Moreover with their alpine meadows, peaks rising towards the skies and marvelous panoramic views, Prokletije are an astonishing sight even for those who are not attempting to climb one of its peaks.
The look of Prokletije is due to the intensive glaciations process when glaciers pushed down from the mountains carving deep valleys lead closer to the heart of the massif- Grbaja in the west and Ropojana to the east.
From Gusinje one reaches Grbaja by the way of Dolja village (7km). As you approach this valley in front you opens one of the most picturesque views in Montenegro-an idyllic vale of green grass with a stream in its middle and birch woods on its sides, bordered with steep mountains finishing with bare stone peaks. To your left rise the Karanfili peaks topped by Veliki vrh (2490m)while on your right are Popadija (2056m) and Volušnica (1876m). Grbaja valley is some 3 km long and it slow rises towards the south with three lovely fields opening one after another. Apart from its enchanting beauty, Grbaja is also the usual starting point for hikers, because of its couple mountain huts. Starting from Grbaja all hiking tours are fully marked. Before starting you should get a proper map and take a lot of water with you as the upper areas are waterless. Continuing southwards from Ali-pasha’s Springs the road follows the Skakavac stream, past the village of Vusanje and slowly enters the valley of Ropojana, squeezed from all sides by high peaks. If you’re interested in staying longer in this area or are willing to climb some of the peaks it is advisable to report to the border police in their base south of the Vusanje village.
At the other side of Vusanje one comes to Grlja Watrefall. At this spot the Grlja River makes a sudden turn and falls from 15m high into the stone abyss from which chilling spray rises. Not far away up the river is another waterfall, but this one is sheltered in the woods and impossible to see from the road. However, if you’re walking you will certainly hear its road. Just after the waterfall the stream slows down in a place know as Savino oko (“St Sava’s Eye”), where the striking blue water reveals unusually great depth; this is due to a strong that adds much to the stream’s strength. Four kilometres further to the south, deeper in the narrowing field of Ropojana, lays the Čemerikino Lake. This wild and inaccessible lake disappears in high summer. Note that the Montenegrin- Albanian border lies directly on the other side of the lake.
From Ropojana one can climb the Rosni vrh (Maja Rosit) 2522m, right on the border. From Zastan to the left of Ropojana one can advance to the central part of Prokletije with Maja Jezerce lying in Albania some 7 km south of here. The climb from the end of the asphalt road takes some 10 hours in one direction and is therefore recommended to do it in two days with an overnight camp. There are no border controls from the Albanian side but if you want to be on the safe side you can announce your group to the Albanian police. Turning left from Vusanje one comes to Zarunica hamlet; to the north of it is the green Bor ridge (2012m) and the south the desolate massif of Belič with the highest peak of Maja Kolata (Kolac) 2530m a few hundred meters into Albania.
Montenegro Hostel Team