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Canyons

Canyons of the rivers Tara and Moraca

- Great Montenegro tura -

You can imagine nothing more beautiful then what nature endowed to this region long time ago!

 

Excursion Canyons is, perhaps, more than any other excursion, inte- nded for those in love with nature. We drive along the road with the view of Sveti Stefan where we take a short photo break. We go on driving, and pass by the lake of Ska- dar, Podgorica, where the first ca- nyon begins - the canyon of the river Moraca. Moraca is one of most beautiful river canyon in Montenegro which separate Moraca mountain  range from Sinjajevina range. In its northern part, the Moraca is a fast mo- untain river, and has cut a canyon north of Podgorica. After merging with its largest tributary, Zeta, just north of Podgorica, the Moraca enters the Zeta plain. It flows through this flat area of Montenegro until it empties into Ska- dar Lake. The region in the basin of the Moraca River is featured by the steep slope of the terrain. It is intersected by deep gorges and canyons. The upper part of this river valley stretches to the entrance in the Platije Canyon, which consists of Upper Moraca, at an altitude ranging between 465m and 973m, and two more expansions. The Platija Canyon is 1000 meters deep on average and the mountainous Morača’s tributaries also flow through the canyons with the banks often as high as up to 1000 meters.

Still driving, we come across Mora- ca monastery, one of the most mo- numental orthodox medieval monu- ments of Montenegro, built on the right bank of the river Moraca in the thirteenth century. Moraca is a Se- rbian Orthodox monastery taken from the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, located in the valley of the Moraca river in central Montenegro, situated to the north part of the river's canyon. It is one of the most monu- mental orthodox Middle Age monuments in Montenegro. It was founded in 1252 by Stefan, son of Vukan Nemanjic, king of Zeta, the grandson of Ste- fan Nemanja in 1252. This is written above the western portal.  It consists of an assembly church, devoted to the Assumption of Mary, a small church, devoted to Saint Nicola, and lodgings for travelers. The main door has a hi- gh wall which has two entrances. The assembly church is a big one-nave building in the style of Raska churches. It is different from the seaside churches. The main portal is in the romantic style.

Next, the road takes us by the Wi- nter Tourist Centre Kolasin, the va- lley of the river Tara, where the Nati- onal park Durmitor begins sprea- ding, with the bridge on Djurdjevica Tara, where we stop for a short photo break. Violent, crystal clear and wild river Tara is wast water mass created of melted snow and rains. “Tear of Europe” is flowing through National park “Durmitor”. It has headwaters in a mountain massif on the north of the country, and is 140 km long in total. Through centuries Tara was carving the soft limestone surface which it runs through, giving it a shape full of abysses, cliffs and ravines.  Centuries long ground erosion resulted in creation of 82 km long, second deepest canyon in the world (after Colorado River canyon in North America). The depth of the canyon is up to 1300 m at some places. River banks are steep, covered with forests which rise out of the coldness and depth of the canyon. Many tourists, ea- ger for adventure and thrilling, direct contact with nature, visit Tara canyon nowadays.

Djurdjevicha Tara is a settlement in the municipality of Pljevlja in Monte- negro, well-known for the famous bridge. At the time when it was finished, it was the largest road co- ncrete arch bridge in Europe. It is still one of the most beautiful and highest bridges in the world. The bridge is 365 meters long, and 168-172 meters high. It has 5 arches, the largest of with the span of 116 meters. While building it, the constru- ction workers had to build the largest wooden scaffold in the world. One could say that the man who dared to build such a bridge, in those times – with the technology of that time, and in a remote corner of poor Montene- gro, was either favored by God himself, or had made a deal with the Devil.

What else to say about the bridge, except the citation of Dusan Kostic:  “One should see, at least once in a lifetime, this beautiful bridge on Djurdjevicha Tara – that arch stretching over rocky abyss, that miracle dropped out of the builders’ hands, that concrete runway that hangs in the air 150 meters above the river, joining two banks of the canyon, elegantly; three frozen water fountains. Unforgettable bridge.”

National park Durmitor encompa- sses area of the lake and Piva mou- ntains, Susice river canyon and part of the Tara canyon.  Durmitor s the most dispersed mountain in Monte- negro, a National park of 38000ha, a mountain with over 30 peaks wi- nter tourism in Montenegro.  It has 5 canyons, 18 lakes, over 1500 types of plants, even 130 types of birds. Glaciers passed this mountain and left their mark in the famous "gorsko oko" which is the mirror for hundreds of years old trees and proud peaks.  A large forest reserve is registered on Durmitor with the rare black pine tree. What is specific about Durmitor is the so called temperature inversion in the winter months, when the cold air and fog pass down to the lower pa- rts, and the sun and warm air goes to the peaks - which makes the winter beautiful in these crags.  But, even in summer one can find snow and ice in Velika Kalica or in the glacial caves among which the most beautiful is – Ledena Pecina (Ice Cave).