Monday, October 19, 2009

Stari Bar

Stari Bar—“old Bar”—is four kilometres away from Bar, an uninteresting port city on Montenegro's south coast. The once populous ancient city is today four hectares of vine-shrouded ruins and piles of stones, a consequence of war and earthquakes, but numerous buildings, already being used to host small concerts and events, are being restored in an effort to develop the site as a historic tourist destination. Those buildings completed are impressive, including an 18th-century Turkish bath house, a Renaissance palazzo and a mediaeval church. Already very pretty in its wild state, it is easy to see what a beautiful drawcard it will become, though with evidence of Illyrian settlement dating from 800 BC the several sites being offhandedly worked with shovels and wheelbarrows raise questions about how much archaeological oversight there is.

I was fortunate to get a lift for the 45-minute drive from Budva with the owner of the hotel where I was staying.  I clambered around the peaceful ruins for four hours, between thick flowering bushes alive with clouds of ecstatic bees, and, lulled by the sound of the river in the valley below, napped on the stone wall of the citadel overlooking wild pomegranate trees and a stone terraced olive grove at the foot of the diagonally-tilted, striated limestone mountain.

1 comment:

Mark said...

"Ecstatic bees"? How did you know? Were they humming a happy tune?