Katun Road Untold Bjelasica
Welcome to Bjelasica! If you have already been here, don’t worry, we’ll take you to some places you definitely haven’t been to. And, if it’s your first time visiting Bjelasica, then be prepared to step into a fairy tale. We’ll take you through shepherds’ settlements of Bjelasica, a world you will not otherwise see in any usual tourist place. These are, in fact, katuns, nomadic settlements where our cattle breeders have stayed for centuries during the summer, where the best possible cheese is made, where time goes by slower, where a man lives in a complete harmony with nature, where customs and tradition of our people are kept the best. These are all the parts of the untold Bjelasica story that we would like to hint at. And this story will be told to you by itself, just take a peek.
Bjelasica is a tame, alluring mountain, which abounds in forests, a home to the Biogradska Gora National Park and rich in various biodiversity. Being so lavish and opulent, it has always been important for the shepherds. Grazing has always been the most important matter of survival in these areas. This is the reason why Bjelasica would be crawling with cattle breeders during the summer, katuns were scattered everywhere, and each and every part of the mountain seemed to be white because of the sheep flocks. Different civilisations took their turns here, traces of life date back into distant paste, conquerors came and went, one nation suppressed another, and they overlapped and created a mosaic of cultural heritage that can be seen even today. Depending on who you talk to, you will hear different versions of the same historical events which happened here, because this is what happens when various civilisations intertwine in the same area. However, one thing is for sure- fertile and abundant slopes and valleys were the source of life, so cattle breeders have always fought for their piece of land below Bjelasica sky. The situation is not the same nowadays. There are less cattle breeders today and every vista where a flock is seen fills our hearts with memories of times gone by and with a sorrow for them. But still, some of them are there! And that number is large enough for you to try their way of life and experience their world! We have made a thematic route that will take you through the Bjelasica katuns, all the three Bjelasica slopes, it’s up to you which road to take. And, wherever you go, you should know one thing – the further you are from the beaten tourist trails, the more authentic experience you’ll have and the more traditional katuns you’ll see. One of the ancient katun traditions is for a lone traveller to be invited into one of the huts and be offered with some food and something to drink before continuing the journey. You will also be invited, so don’t find it strange, something like this is normal here even though you don’t know the people. Try not to miss the chance to taste the simplest food ever – homemade, warm bread, a piece of cheese or some cream – take our word for it, it will be a real feast. If you are here for several days, you will have an option to stay over in a camp situated within the katun, and some of the locals offer accommodation, too. And, if you are looking for better conditions, then you can stay in one of the hotels in nearby towns. But know this, unless you spend the night in a katun, it is the same as if you have never been here. This kind of silence, the darkness or the starry sky cannot be captured by any photo. Those scents of the herbs and grass, the taste of hot kačamak during the cold summer nights, will not be found in a hotel room.
Therefore, just enjoy. These are the rare katuns in Europe that still live the lives of times gone by. You have the privilege to see and experience them, their number is on the decline as it is. And, we are proud to have them and we want to share them with you. Try to fit in, and do not disturb their peace and habits, they will know how to appreciate it. Definitely let us know about your experience.
The improvement of the website www.katunroads.me was made possible through the project “Katun Roads of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina” financed by the European Union. The content of the site is the sole responsibility of the project partners and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.