Kolasin, a town near the River Tara, is located 960m above sea level and is surrounded by miraculous nature.
Kolasin is a small fortress-town that was constructed by the Turks in the mid-seventeenth century. It is located where several routes cross and it developed under the Turks until 1878 when it officially became part of Montenegro.
Exceptional geographical position and climate make the Kolašin area a unique air-spa. With the virgin forest of Biogradska Gora, Biogradsko Lake and other lakes in the vicinity, its rich flora and fauna, ski-fields located 9 km from the town, rafting, fishing, excursions and recreation, Kolašin offers excellent leisure and holiday possibilities.
Morača Monastery is one of the largest medieval Orthodox monuments in Montenegro. It was built on the right bank of the River Morača, in the wider part of the canyon, on a natural plateau with a picturesque landscape. The monastery’s sanctuary was built in 1252 by Stefan, son of King Vukan, and grandson of Nemanja, all of which is written in the inscription on the lintel of the western portal.
The monastery complex consists of the Basilica of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God, the small Church of St Nicholas and a konak. The entrance to the monastery is surrounded by a high wall with two gates. The basilica is a large single-nave church built in the style of Raška churches, with a semicircular apse, lateral choirs, a dome, and unlike churches built in the coastal style, its walls are plastered. Next to the naos a wide porch was built. The main portal was built in the Roman style.
In addition to its architecture, the particular attraction of the Morača Monastery are its paintings. Of the original paintings from the 13th century, only a small part was preserved in the diaconicon, where 11 compositions illustrating the life of the Prophet Elijah stand out in their particular monumentality and expressive strength. The splendor of these paintings exceeds any fresco paintings that were painted in this region in the 13th century earlier than Sopoćani. Other parts of fresco paintings were destroyed in the first half of the 16th century, when the monastery was ravaged by the Turks, who took away the lead roof.
In the first half of the 17th century, the monastery was painted by famous painters – the priest Strahinja from Budimlje, Georgije Mitrofanović and in particular, the master Kozma, who painted the small Church of St. Nicholas in 1639. He also painted most of the icons on the large, ornately carved iconostasis. From the once rich monastery treasury, only a few important ritual objects and liturgical books have been preserved, among which is a copy of “Oktoih First-voice”. Among the artistic treasures of the monastery church are the porch doors and naos. They are some of the most beautiful and original examples of the art of bone intarsia inlaying in wood.
Botanical garden Dulovine, which was first made in 1980 by Daniel and Vera Vincek and Prof. Dr Vukic Pulević, is an a-must-see attraction of Kolašin. On the area of 646 m and at an altitude of 1,018 meters above sea level the garden today cherishes about 350 plant species, including a significant number of endemic species. Plants are mainly brought from the inland mountains: Bjelasica, Sinjajevina, Moračke mountains, Komovi and Durmitor and a mountain range of Prokletije is represented by plant species from the mount Hajla. Some species from the coastal mountains - the peaks of the mounts Rumija, Lovćen and Orjen have been successfully planted in this garden.
All plant species are named in Latin and some of them also have their local names which have been taken mainly from the literature and research papers of D. Simonović, V. Pulević, R. Lakušić and Č. Šilić since they have not been explored enough. Files and databases, through which morphology and growth stages of individual plants are monitored, are kept in the garden. The Herbarium has also been formed, which, due to the lack of space, was given to the National Park Biogradska Gora. The existing database is updated and modernized by the Science Faculty in Podgorica. The garden also has its library, VHS tapes, slides and collection of photographs. For some groups of plants it was tried to imitate conditions of their natural habitats to the extent possible.
The idea of the creators of the garden was to educate and preserve gene fund and provide a basis for scientific research in cooperation with the Science Faculty, Natural History Museum and the Institute for Nature Protection. Connections are preserved and experiences are exchanged with other botanical gardens, institutions and individuals from this profession.
Canyon of the River Mrtvica
Starting as a small stream welling under the mountain, heading towards its about 10 kilometers long confluence, Mrtvica takes on its way numerous mountain streams, torrents and other mountain waters and grows into one of the most abundant tributaries of the river Morača in its upper course. Mrtvica canyon is 35 km away from Kolašin in direction towards Podgorica.
Its banks are steep, high and covered in thick vegetation. At some parts a 9 kilometers long canyon is up to 1,100 meters deep. There is a walking path on its left bank. Its special attractions are springs called “Bijeli nerini”. The river has many cascades, waterfalls and small beaches which are rest areas on the tracking tour through the canyon. Near Zeleni vir there is an old stone bridge that Montenegrin Prince Danilo Petrović arose in memory to his mother. Clear water of this river is rich in trout and grayling.
There are some parts of the canyon whose rocks are sharpened like diamonds and are so polished that only lichens and mosses can live on them. The sun illuminates rocks of the canyon in so many ways that every time you pass it you can see different colours and shadows, immortalized in paintings of many painters - not only from Montenegro.
Morača is one of the longest rivers in the central part of Montenegro. Its canyon and water are the habitat of many endemic species. Apart from brown trout, in Morača you can find indigenous marble trout, one of the largest salmonid species in Europe (Salmo marmoratus) but also endemic variety of toothtrout - trout with unusually large teeth (its name comes from Latin: Salmo dentex). In its lower course, the river is known for deep whirls, especially near the Vizier’s Bridge (Vezirov most) in Podgorica. Even though it runs through the capital of Montenegro it is still wild and untamed. On its way to Lake Skadar it collects numerous tributaries and brings water to the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula.
Part of the river Tara, known as “Tear of Europe” runs through, the National Park “Durmitor”.
It springs in the north of the country and is 156 km long. It merges with the river Piva and together they make river Drina, one of the longest and most abundant river in water in the Balkans.
For centuries this strong mountain beauty had carved the limestone it runs through and shaped numerous narrow parts, gigantic obstacles and chasms. This is how a 93 kilometers long canyon was born. It is the second deepest canyon in the world right after the Colorado River canyon. The deepest part of the canyon is 1,300 meters deep. Its banks are steep, covered with forest arising from the coldness and depth of the canyon.
At some points a torrential river becomes calm and peaceful. Rare parts where you can cross the river from one side to the other are called “gazovi” (places where you can step in and walk to the other part). Near Bistrica, bed of the river is so narrow that according to the local people you could jump from one side to the other. This unusual place is called Đavolje lazi (Devil’s Bush).
Banks of the river and sides of the canyon are covered in thick vegetation: black pine, black hornbeam, black ash, elm and some linden and at higher altitudes you can find, hornbeam, filed maple, beech, etc. In the highest parts of the canyon above 1,000 meters above sea level there are fir trees and spruce. Black pine forest is particularly valuable including the area called “Crna poda”, which is the area of rarely tall and thick trees. The trees are over 50 meters tall and 450 years old.
In the centre of Biogradska gora, at the Bjelasica, maybe "the most romantic" lake.
The water of the lake and its rivers are rich in fish, especially trout, which in autumn comes in flocks to Biograd river to spawn in its shallow waters. In winter the lake is covered by thick ice, on which deer and does walk. The space around the lake is arranged, easily accessible and more and more becomes the target for tourists from the country and the world. Many experts, domestic and foreign, consider it the most beautiful lake in the Balkan peninsula. This is a unique temple. In fact, these few kilometers from the road Kolašin-Mojkovac, are better crossed on foot. Through thick woods, slowly, breathing in completely different air, enter into a different time, get to the motel near the largest lake of Bjelasica.
It is 1,100 meters long, 400m broad, deep on average 4.5m and a maximum of 18 meters. The whole visit can be a long trail just over three kilometres. Walking reveals a world somewhat robust and furious. A world, which remains intact for centuries. Strange plants, of different forms and names. Protected by law from the axes there are spruce, fir, maple, oak, beech, ash ... It can happen that you meet a deer or a fox. Somewhere up there eagles and grouses are cruising. Everything is in accordance, thus even names. The main tributary lakes is Biograd river. The effluent - Jezerštica. That once here was a city - it is hard to imagine. And again, it is hard to believe that people did not since days of old spend nights under the skirts of the century-old trees, by the cold, translucent lake water.
Bjelasica is open, warm, hospitable, and so is its biggest jewel. You can cross the lake by boat. You can eavesdrop and watch along the coast. You can fish and camp near the lake. Have a sweet luncheon. Forget many things, in light walking. But, remember, as in every temple, time is a relative category, and we are the work of God's hands.