Epic journey to an Epic place - Ostrog - monastery in the side of a cliff

Ostrog Monastery Travel Blog

 › entry 12 of 13 › view all entries

Continuing across more wetlands, I was soon in Pordgorica, the capitol of Montenegro. I was in the outskirts of the city but, it has a very different sort of feel. It feels more Turkish, and its close proximity to Albania would be the reason why. Things are very harsh and dirty, dusty and chaotic.

I took a turn north and through the valley until the mountains beckoned. There were white flower-filled trees, along the way, a touch of spring in Crna Gora.

The Valley of Bjelopavlici was sparsely inhabited.

There were little churches and groupings of houses but, nothing more. There was mostly brown; earth, brush, and leafless trees. Only a few evergreens stand out in the panorama. I stopped several times along the way to take in the view. It’s an interesting valley, obviously carved out by a glacier.

I stopped briefly to take a brief look at Drenostica, the tiniest of villages along the way. It was so small that the church and its cemetery are larger than the rest of the village.

From this vantage point, way across Bjelopavlici, and high up on the mountain, I could see the speck of white that was Orstog Monastery. It was really, really tiny. I was amazed that I would travel there ….by car but that people hundreds of years ago had created a monastery there.

I crossed the valley and began my ascent to Orstrog. The road was narrow, rough, and without safety rail or shoulder of any kind.

In several areas, it was necessary to stop and move dangerously close to the edge and creep past the oncoming car.

I reached the lower village at the bottom of the cliffs. I parked the car and walked up the hill thinking that it was walkable. I reached the lower church in Gornji manastir is dedicated to Vavedenje of Holy Mary and realized that driving was a much better option. I returned to the car and proceeded up the road of continuous switchbacks and hairpins.

I reached the car park, shocked that there was one! I found a spot and walked out to the terrace with the most amazing overlook. The valley stretched out before me as far as I could see a calm and peaceful place.

Sveti Vasilije Ostroški as it is locally known, also St. Basil’s of Ostrog,  From the monastery, a superb view of the Bjelopavlići plain can be seen.

Ostrog, monastery is the most popular pilgrimage place in Montenegro. The Monastery was founded by Vasilije, the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina in the 17th century. He died there in 1671 and some years later he was glorified. His body is enshrined in a reliquary kept in the cave church dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple.

The Orthodox monastery of Ostrog is one of the most frequently visited on the Balkans. It is visited by believers from all parts of the world, either individually or in groups. It represents the meeting place of all confessions: the Orthodox, the Catholics and the Muslims. According to the stories of pilgrims, by praying by his body, many have been cured and helped in lessening the difficulties in their lives.

 In walking through the front gate, I realized something that I there was a problem.

I hadn’t planned on coming here, today even though it was a place that I have always wanted to visit. I figured that it was too far. I made a choice during the day that led me here and now, in front of me, a sign that showed “no shorts”. I know this from having been to many working monasteries. Again, having not planned on being here….I had on shorts. Aaarrgghh!!! I had made it here but could not go inside. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I usually was better prepared for any possibility, not today.

So……I walked around the exterior and enjoyed the wonderful views and the unbelievable sight before me, the monastery within the cliffs of the mountain. I stopped at their shop and bought a locally made monument of Ostrog and was given a bottle of holy water and holy oil, complimentary.

cneoridium says:
Agh, that's too bad with the shorts! My friend always seems to run afoul of the "no bare shoulders" equivalent at places, so I'm always running in to try to sneak a few pics of the interior past the nuns and come back out to show her what was there : )
Posted on: Apr 19, 2010
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Ostrog Monastery
photo by: delsol67