Rožaje is the centre of a mountains region in the far east of Montenegro. It lies in the valley traversed by the fast and cold river Ibar which springs nearby, along which passes the road leading to Novi Pazar in Serbia. In the town a road branches off and leads across the snowy Kulina pass descending towards Peć in the region of Kosovo. The town was first mentioned in the 17th c. under the name Trgovište (“Market”) as the peasants from the surrounding mountains came here to sell their meat, skins and dairy products and this tradition continued until not long ago. The name Rožaje, coming from the two crags rising above the town which reminded of horns (rogovi), was used simultaneously with Trgovište but became official only after the town was incorporated into Montenegro in 1912. At the end of the 17th century the orthodox population had to flee because they sided with the Austrians and against their Turkish masters the area was gradually resettled but this time all the newcomers had to accept Islam and the whole area remains almost entirely Muslim to this day.
There a little left to witness the town’s history. Until a few decades ago its most lovely feature was multitude of surviving old houses with high shingled old houses with high shingled roofs but today you will find only a few of these, most in ruined state, while the rest of the town has been taken by tall new houses of strange post-modern shapes and colors. The most important monument is the town is the Ganića kula, a tall tower built in 1802 by local landowners to serve as an easily defendable home. When the reconstruction works end, it will house the eagerly expected local museum. There are two old mosques in Rožaje: the older one, Kurtagića džamija, dates from 1697 but following its incompetent bears little signs of antiquity; on the other hand Kučka džamija though much younger (1830) retains the features of traditional architecture.
Of much more interest that the town itself are its environs-Rožaje is surrounded with magnificent range of mountains such as Cmiljevica ( 1,963m), Hajla ( 2,403m) and Žljeb (2,155m) to the south and Turjak (1,573m) to the north. The lower regions are hidden in thick forests while above them rise stony peaks attractive for hiking or even free climbing. The area us well known for its abundance is mushrooms blueberries and many rare and endemic flowers. Following a trail along river Ibar in the southwest will lead you to its beautiful springs (vrelo Ibra), where six pretty streams join to form the river that will continue for another 272km until its confluence in West Morava. Located just 4km from Rožaje on the highway towards Berane is the ski-centre Turjak with a hotel of the same name and two lifts.
Montenegro Hostel Team