Meet the Hidden Face of the Luštica Peninsula

By , 05 Mar 2018, 20:33 PM Travel
Meet the Hidden Face of the Luštica Peninsula Jasna Gajević

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I was passing by the Mamula fortress with the boat going to the Blue Cave, but I did not have the opportunity to get on the island. As it seems, I will not have a chance. It will soon be "valorized" and turned into a place of enjoyment for those who love luxury and don’t care for the historical significance of the area they are located.

Luštica is a peninsula located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor. It is 13 km long, and its surface is 47 square kilometers. Everything can be found in the area; beautiful beaches, hidden coves, lovely smaller places. It's not all that idyllic as I would like it to be. There are also houses that almost enter the sea and cut across shores, bad roads, and construction "endeavors" that do not go with the "wild beauty" in the way in which our country represents it to tourists. However, as much as I would like some things to be different, Luštica is still one of the places I look forward to coming back to, and where I always discover something that I have not before. I wrote about this beautiful peninsula two years ago. I do not know why, but I discovered it relatively recently, and now this phenomenon is inexplicable to me. That's why I'm trying to make up for it, so I often walk through it during the winter months. A splendid Saturday at the end of January was ideal for an adventure: the search for the Austro-Hungarian fortresses at Luštica.

The roundabout road separates the roads towards Kotor, Tivat, and Luštica. Soon after the turn, you will come to Tivat Solila. I never pass them by without stopping. An excellent approach to a small house at the entrance. We walked past the path and glanced at Lovćen (which never fails to amaze me).

Solila

We also completed a survey on our site's impressions of the nature reserve - all superlatives themselves. Just one flaw: there are no birds. Or they are so far away that they can not be seen without binoculars. Though they also say that you need to have an early start. We did not stay because our goal was the Austro-Hungarian fortresses that we knew were located at the opposite end of the peninsula of Solilla. We were in a hurry because we were not sure if we would be able to find them. As usual, I found out about their existence by reading the book by Radojica Rašo Pavićević: Werk-Austro-Hungarian Fortress in Montenegro. I've visited a fair number of these fortifications. I've already written about some of the most important ones. However, my search was not complete, and Luštica, as a strategically important area during that period, was still unknown to me. I visited theArza fortress 2-3 times before because it is located near the Mirišta beach, on the cape with the same name. That's why we didn’t go there that day. She is, at least from the outside, in reasonably good condition. For Arza, with the fort Mamula situated on the island of Lastavica and the foothill of cape Oštro, located on the cape Oštro, on the Prevlaka peninsula, was the first line of defense of Boka.

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Arza

I was passing by the Mamula fortress with the boat going to the Blue Cave, but I did not have the opportunity to get on the island. As it seems, I will not have a chance. It will soon be "valorized" and turned into a place of enjoyment for those who love luxury and don’t care for the historical significance of where they are visiting. Why would the tourists care about it from all over the world, if our authorities did not consider it a historical monument, which should be presented to tourists differently? Since after the unsuccessful battle for the "rescue of Mamula" I admitted defeat, and I was satisfied with one view from Luštica. In the same frame, I also captured cape Oštro from Prevlaka, which since the collapse of the SFRY, is a place of turmoil between us and neighboring Croatia.

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Mamula

Since the author of the book about the fortresses was a soldier, he focused the most on the strategic position of the fortification, the weapons, and the crew. Since he was not too specific in describing the path to the desired location, we had to find the fortresses of Luštica and Kabala, with the help of Google Maps - although he initially confused us, naming Kabala as Oskoruša. But there is no dilemma - the Austro-Hungarians called the fortress Kabala. So, following the path that we assumed would lead us to the fortress of Luštica, we were surprised by the trail without rubbish and garbage (which, unfortunately in our country, is the case, not the rule).

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To the right you can see Herceg Novi and the left Cape of Kobila. There are two fortifications on it: the upper Kobila and the lower Kobila. On that day, with only half success, we tried to locate them with the aid of poor binoculars (as I claim). My husband thinks they’re quite reliable.

When we got to the top, despite the extraordinary view around (we could even include Mamula and Arza in the same frame), we were disappointed. From the fort, we saw only one outpost or observation post and an entrance to a tunnel which we did not know where it led. 

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I was disappointed but also convinced that somewhere there must be something else that we failed to notice. And just a random step towards a single passage led us to a scene from an Indiana Jones movie.

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Fortress Luštica

We found the fortress Luštica. Only then did I recall what was written in the book. "After seeing that first-line, foxes cannot adequately suppress ship artillery, and such high towers are suitable for hostile action and are very vulnerable, the main defense is transferred to the 2nd line of defense of Luštica-Kabala-Kobila." These fortifications are due to the noted defects of the fortifications from the I line, buried in the ground, drowned in the environment and were hard to be spotted. I was amazed but also disappointed with the victory of the plants in a struggle with the stone. You could not see much because of the many thick branches, and you could not go any further. I was thinking of how to get to the top of the wall. At that moment my faithful companion called out: he discovered the "stairs".

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By the time it took me to get to them, he had already mastered them, and I went after him without thinking. Halfway through, when I could not go back on my own, I regret my decision. At that moment, I thought how unwise and irresponsible we were. I climbed up to the roof, and I forgot about my previous thoughts. I returned to them while I was on my way down, which was even harder for me. Except for a nice view of Herceg Novi and Orjen, the rest was a real disappointment. The fort was systematically demolished. We were confused, and we did not have an explanation for the condition of the building.

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We went from here with mixed feelings, as it usually happens. We were pleased that we discovered this fortress, for whose existence I am convinced, not too many people know about. Again, we were disappointed that it was so overgrown and more so that it was so destroyed. I remembered the stories from my "expert literature" where it was said that the Germans mined the fortress during World War II while retreating. However, in a hurry, they forgot to activate an explosive. But a conscientious and pedantic major returned and carried out the planned explosion. This story sounded to me as the only real explanation of the condition in which the fortress is now. However, when I returned home and "updated the material"I've read, it turned out that this story (although it is also unconvincing) relates to the fortress Radišević, which is located within the new apartment settlement of "Luštica Bay". They're working rapidly on that location. I doubt that they would be comfortable with someone with the camera while working. That's why we did not try to go there. I did not check the story of the blast. Although, I still claim that they must have mined Luštica.

On the next higher ground, according to the map, we should have seen fortress Kabala. It wasn't notable, but we soon found a path for which there was no doubt that it was leading us to the goal. The burned trees reminded us of the terrible fires that happened in the area this summer.

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When we reached the peak, we saw a well-tucked fortress. You just had to find the entrance. It turned out to be on the opposite side, so we caught almost a full circle around the fort. During this time we found that, at least it seemed, it was identical to the previous one, and that it was in much better condition.

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Fortress of Kabala

Stairs! In excellent condition. And the upper floor. Maybe we were not so thrilled when we first got here, but after that pile of stones at the fortress of Luštica, everything seemed perfect here. Okay, not quite perfect, but solid. 

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On the way, we noticed some of the buildings that undoubtedly belonged to the system of fortifications within the defense system of this territory during the Austro-Hungarian period. But for one day there was quite enough discovery. There was also a Rose battery from that period. Rose, as usual, was beautiful, but the fortress was a bit disappointing. "Drowned" in the exclusive resort Forte Rose. Two cannons were a stirring reminder of past times.

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Rose

We returned through the other side of the peninsula, through Krašići, part of Luštica, where nature lost its battle with humans. In an attempt to find another inscription of these sites on the Internet, I only read that PD Subra Mountaineers had the idea to clean up these fortresses and make them more accessible to the public. When they finished fighting with the tremendous amount of garbage they found on the road, they were disappointed by the conditions of Luštica and Kabala, and so far, had given up their intentions. Luštica is not safe for visitors, while Kabala, with not too much investment, could certainly be a place worth visiting.

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This is one of the few walks where I did not take a photo of a single flower. That is why the lying trees got my attention at the top of the fortress of Kabala.

Text by Jasna Gajević, read more at Vijesti. All photos by Jasna Gajević. 

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