Discover the Mountains of Montenegro with a Cicerone guidebook
The Mountains of Montenegro
A Walker's and Trekker's Guide by Rudolf Abraham
This handy pocket-sized guidebook contains detailed route descriptions for 15 day and multi-day treks in the spectacular mountains of Montenegro. The routes range from single-day hikes to multi-day treks with the opportunity to link shorter days together to create longer itineraries. Most of the walks begin at 1000m and pass between 1600 and 2500m More...
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Now out of print, Durmitor and Tara Canyon Guide by Branislav Cerović (Belgrade, 1986) is an excellent introduction to the Durmitor region, even if some of the information on huts, springs, etc, is now out of date. You may still find copies at National Park Offices in Montenegro. The Serbian edition from which this is translated, Durmitor i Kanjon Tare Vodić (Belgrade, 1984), is also useful – and contains considerably more material (159 pages, as opposed to 92 in the English version). Both books contain a good fold-out map of the area (sometimes missing from second-hand copies). Older editions of Željko Poljak, Hrvatske Planine (Zagreb, 1970s, in Croatian) contain material on Orjen.
Also out of print, but nicely spanning the territory between a walking and a historical guide, is Piers Letcher’s Yugoslavia: Mountain Walks and Historical Sites (Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt, 1989). However, this gives only basic details for most routes, with references to the English translation of Branislav Cerović (see above).
Not yet published, is Deset Crno gorski planine (‘Ten Montenegrin mountains’) by Pero Rakočević (in Serbian). Rakočević knows the mountains of Montenegro better than anyone I have met, and the publication of his book is something to look forward to.
Baron Nopcsa, Monographie Nordalbaniens (Budapest, 1929) is a detailed geological survey of Prokletije, for those who read German. There is also an account by A. Boué in Le Globe, ‘Excursion au Kom et au Durmitor’ (Genève, 1874).
One of the best resources in English for the mountains of Montenegro is Summit Post: www.summitpost.org.
For those combining Montenegro with a trip to the mountains of Croatia, there is Rudolf Abraham, Walking in Croatia (Cicerone, 2004).
Bradt publish a guidebook to Montenegro, written by Annalisa Rellie, which is now in its second edition (Chalfont St Peter: Bradt, 2005). There is also a guidebook to Montenegro published by Naklada Naprijed (2004), and Lonely Planet’s Western Balkans (2006), which covers Montenegro as well as Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Slovenia, Albania and Macedonia. Doubtless more will follow.
A number of more general English language guidebooks written before the break-up of Yugoslavia are still available through second-hand bookshops or on the internet, including Paul Blanchard, Blue Guide Yugoslavia (London: A & C Black, 1989).
However all the above pale by comparison with J.A. Cuddon’s wonderful The Companion Guide to Jugoslavia (London: Collins, 1968; 3rd revised edition, 1986).
John Wilkes, The Illyrians (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992) is the most detailed account available of the Illyrian lands from prehistory through to the late Roman period. The same author’s Dalmatia (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969) is now out of print. Dimitri Obolenski’s The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe 500–1453 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1971; rep. London: Phoenix Press, 2000) is an excellent and thorough account of the region during the medieval period, and contains a wealth of material on Montenegro. Also of interest by Dimitri Obolenski are Byzantium and the Slavs (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1994) and The Bogomils (Cambridge, 1948). The latter is out of print. Highly recommended for the history of the Balkans during the 19th and 20th centuries are Mischa Glenny, The Balkans 1804–1999: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers (London: Granta, 1999; rep. 2000); and Mark Mazower, The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day (London: Phoenix Press, 2001; rep. 2002). John D. Treadway, The Falcon and the Eagle: Montenegro and Austria-Hungary 1908–1914 (West Lafayette, IN: Perdue University Press, 1983) gives detailed coverage of Montenegro during this period.
Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples (Cambridge University Press, 1985; rep. 1989) is a balanced account which finds equal favour among the present author’s Serbian, Montenegrin and Croatian friends!
Two of the best accounts of the war in the former Yugoslavia are The Death of Yugoslavia by Laura Silber and Allan Little (London: Penguin/BBC Books, 1995) and The Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny (3rd edition, London: Penguin, 1996). Anyone trying to come to grips with UK foreign policy during the war in Yugoslavia should read Brendan Simms’ damning polemic, Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia (Allen Lane, 2001; rep. Penguin, 2002). Other titles include Tim Judah, The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (Yale University Press, 1997).
For those wishing to keep up to date with political affairs in the Balkans, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR, www.iwpr.net) has free weekly reports (‘Balkan Crisis Report’) and an extensive archive, with excellent journalism. The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN, www.birn.eu.com), created from the Balkan programme of the IWPR, also has very good reports (‘Balkan Insight’).
ART and ARCHITECTURE
Lazar Trifunović, Yugoslavia: Monuments of Art (Belgrade: Jugoslovenska knjiga, 1988) is now out of print, but gives a good general introduction to the architecture and archaeology of the region. Other publications include John Beckwith, Early Christian and Byzantine Art (Pelican History of Art series, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970; rep. 1979); Slobodan Mileusnić, The Medieval Monasteries of Serbia (Belgrade, 1996); Oto Bihalji-Merin, Bogomil Sculpture (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1962); and A. Deroko, Monumental and Decorative Architecture in Medieval Serbia (Belgrade, 1953; in Serbian but with a summary in English and French). The work of the Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrović (whose sculpture of Petar II Petrović Njegoš reclines in the mausoleum on Lovćen) can be found in a number of catalogues, easily available on the second-hand market.
PLANTS AND WILDLIFE
The most detailed information on the flora of Montenegro is to be found in Oleg Polunin’s monumental work, Flowers of Greece and the Balkans: A Field Guide (Oxford: OUP, 1980; rep. in paperback Oxford: OUP, 1987). This includes detailed sections on the flora of Durmitor, Lovćen and Orjen, together with that of national parks in other republics of the former Yugoslavia. More general and slightly smaller is the same author’s The Concise Flowers of Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972; reprint, based on Polunin’s much larger Flowers of Europe: A Field Guide). Another more general field guide is Christopher Grey-Wilson & Marjorie Blamey, The Alpine Flowers of Britain and Europe (Harper Collins, 1979).
Birds of Europe, by Lars Svensson, Peter J. Grant, Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterström (Princeton University Press, 1999), is an outstanding field guide. Collins’ Birds of Britain and Europe Field Guide (Harper Collins, 2004) is also good.
An excellent field guide to reptiles and amphibians is E. Nicolas Arnold and Denys W. Ovenden, Reptiles and Amphibians of Europe (Princeton Field Guides, 2002). This was reprinted from the second edition of Collins Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe (Harper Collins, 2002), However, the Princeton edition has the advantage of being in paperback.
A Serbian guide to plants and animals in Durmitor is available in Montenegro, Durmitor i Tara: Svjetska prirodna baština by Mihailo Brajović.
LANGUAGE COURSES, PHRASEBOOKS AND DICTIONARIES
The most comprehensive and easily obtainable Serbian language courses in the UK are Colloquial Serbian: The Complete Course for Beginners (Routledge, 2005), by Celia Hawkesworth with Jelena Čalić, and David Norris’ Teach Yourself Serbian (2003). In both cases material has been re-evaluated and updated from two earlier publications, Colloquial Croatian and Serbian and Teach Yourself Serbo-Croat, written by the same authors respectively. Also available is Colloquial Croatian: The Complete Course for Beginners by Celia Hawkesworth with Ivana Jović (Routledge, 2005).
Pocket-sized Serbian–English/English–Serbian dictionaries include Hippocrene’s Concise Serbian–English/English–Serbian Dictionary by Mladen Davidović (Hippocrene, 1997). Note that Lonely Planet’s small Eastern European Phrasebook, although published comparatively recently, contains inaccuracies in both modern Serbian and Croatian.
Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia remains a classic account of the various republics of the former Yugoslavia, drawn from the author’s travels through the region on the eve of the Second World War. More recently, Dervla Murphy’s Through the Embers of Chaos (London: John Murray 2002, rep. 2003) records the author’s travels through the region on a bicycle. Anne Kindersley, The Mountains of Serbia (London: John Murray, 1976) contains material on Southern Serbia and Kosovo, though not Montenegro. F.W.D. Deakin’s The Embattled Mountain (Oxford University Press, 1971) recounts the author’s experiences in command of the British mission to Tito’s Partisans during the Second World War, after being parachuted in to Durmitor. Sir Fitzroy Maclean’s Eastern Approaches also contains details of the author’s exploits with the Partisans, sandwiched between material on the Western Desert and Soviet Central Asia. Edith Durham, Through the Land of the Serb (London: Edward Arnold, 1904) is an excellent work by this well-known author.
Nineteenth century accounts of the region include Sir J. Gardiner Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London: John Murray, 1848; rep. New York: Arno Press and New York Times, 1971, and Elibron Classics, 2001); and Muir, Mackenzie and Irby, Travels in the Slavonic Provinces of Turkey in Europe (London, 1867).
Robert Carver, The Accursed Mountains (London: John Murray, 1998; rep. London: Flamingo, 1999) is an outstanding account of the author’s travels through the Albanian side of Prokletije. Also recommended for the same territory are Edward Lear, Journals of a Landscape Painter in Greece and Albania (London, 1851; rep. London: Century, 1988) and Edith Durham, High Albania (London: Edward Arnold, 1909; rep. London: Virago, 1985).
SERBIAN, CROATIAN and BOSNIAN LITERATURE
The Kosovo cycle is available as Marko the Prince, translated by Anne Pennington and Peter Levi (London, 1984); Njegoš’ Mountain Wreath is available online in English translation: at http://www.rastko.org.yu/knjizevnost/umetnicka/njegos.
Among the Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian works translated into English are Miloš Tsernianski, Migrations (Harper Collins, 1994); Danilo Kiš, The Encyclopaedia of the Dead (Faber, 1990) and The Hourglass (Faber, 1992); Ivo Andrić, The Bridge over the River Drina and Bosnian Chronicle; Dubravka Ugrešić, The Culture of Lies (London, 1998); S. Koljević (ed. and trans.), Yugoslav Short Stories (London, 1966). It is also worth mentioning the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, in particular his Broken April and Three Elegies for Kosovo.