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Visiting Monastery Tvrdoš

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This time we present the Orthodox monastery Tvrdoš, which is located in the town of Trebinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We went on an excursion to Trebinje from Kotor, with a very special companion from the USA who is just finishing her first book and who wanted to see and feel something new and different in search of inspiration. The Tvrdoš Monastery was exactly what she was looking for. A place of exceptional peace, beauty, and wine stories. 

 The Tvrdoš Monastery is located 5 km west of the center of Trebinje on the main road through Popovo polje leading to Mostar. The town of Trebinje is 35 km away from Dubrovnik (Croatia) and 40 km from Herceg Novi (Montenegro) and is a very popular tourist resort, especially because of the numerous wineries, among which the most famous is the winery in Tvrdoš.

But it is not only the roads of wine that bring people to Tvrdoš. The monastery is known for the fact that Basil of Ostrog (Vasilije Ostroški) became a priest here. Vasilije was born in the village of Mrkonjići not far from the monastery in 1610. After he became a priest and later on a bishop, he went to the Ostrog Monastery in Montenegro, where he lived until his death in 1671. He was proclaimed a saint and his day is celebrated on May 12 every year. This is the reason why many believers who visit the Ostrog Monastery want to visit the Tvrdoš Monastery as the two most important monasteries in the life of St. Basil of Ostrog.

Monastery Tvrdoš is located on the right bank of Trebišnjica river, and it was built on the foundations of a church from the 4th century. During 16th and 17th century Tvrdoš was the seat of Hum-Herzegovina-Trebinje episcopacy. During the Turkish-Venetian war, the monastery was destroyed, and some relics were moved to monastery Savina (Herceg Novi). The rebirth of the monastery started in 1955 when the whole complex was renovated. The special characteristic of today's church is its parts with a glass floor trough foundations of the church from the 4th century can be seen it.

The long tradition of winemaking in the monastery which dates back to the 16th century has been successfully preserved to this day, thanks to new vineyards, wine cellar, and modern winery. Since 2006, the Cellars of the Tvrdoš Monastery have been officially opened. About 350,000 bottles of top-quality red, white, and rosé wine are produced annually from the autochthonous varieties Vranac (red wine) and Žilavka (white wine).

Apart from the autochthonous varieties, the Tvrdoš winery produces international wines of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay varieties. The 5,000-liter oak barrels store wine from 18 to 24 months. The wines go on the market mostly about 3 years old. The monastery exports wines to over 15 countries, of which the following stand out: Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, USA, Germany, as well as all countries in the region.

Very kind hosts in the monastery pay attention to each guest and are especially willing to provide everything about the wines in the tasting room. One glass of wine at the tasting costs 3 KM (about 1.5 euros). The tasting room has almost 200 seats, but due to the situation with the COVID-19 epidemic, the entrance is limited to smaller groups of up to 10 people or individuals. Our guest really enjoyed the tasting, evaluating the red wine Vranac with an extraordinary bouquet.

At the world wine competition Decanter in London, the wine Grand Reserve Vranac 2009 won a gold medal (95 points), which they are very proud of in the winery of the Tvrdoš monastery. The trend of production of autochthonous wines has been very intense in the world in recent years so that the monastery winery mainly produces the Montenegrin-Herzegovinian variety Vranac and Herzegovinian Žilavka as the best wine varieties of this Mediterranean-Dinaric area.

Although there are vineyards around the monastery and a modern winery with intensive production, the monastery complex itself is very quiet, almost without any noise, impeccably clean, and amazingly beautiful. The monastery has a guest house that is intended for guests who want to stay one night or a couple of days enjoying the exceptional peace and nature with which the monastery is surrounded.

What fascinated us, and especially our dear guest Sarah, is the river Trebišnjica, which is located just next to the monastery and on the banks of which we truly enjoyed. It is simply amazing that such a visited, popular and famous monastery can provide so much peace, a good positive feeling, and recharge your batteries. That very place, that very moment by the river was exactly what we were looking for.

When we think a little better about how this is possible, we understand that the monks here still took care not to commercialize the monastery too much and to maintain a balance between what the monastery should be and what is called a tourist attraction. I have to admit they did a great job and we really recommend to everyone to visit it.

For guests from Budva, Kotor, and Herceg Novi, we recommend the border crossing Meljine-Sitnica. A toll that costs 3 euros for a one-way pass by car is no longer charged.
It is 20 km from the border crossing to Trebinje. At the first roundabout, turn left (in the direction of Mostar), and after 5 km on the right, you will see the Tvrdoš monastery complex.

At the entrance is the monastery shop where you can buy monastery wine. One bottle of Vranac costs around 4-5 euros to 20 euros for more expensive wines.
There you can also find monastery vine brandy, liqueurs, and fruit syrups which are also produced in the monastery.

Montenegro Hostel Team 

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