Nestled within a dramatic rock face, is where one finds Montenegro’s possibly most hidden, yet most magical site.
Built in 1665, little is known about the Ostrog Monastery, only that it is one of the three most visited Christian destinations in the world, with more than a hundred thousand pilgrims travelling to it every year, making this a significant religious world symbol.
Located near the village of Bogetići, and 50km from the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, this Orthodox monastery is tucked very neatly into a vertical cliff, high up the Ostroška Greda rock. Its seemingly precarious position is awe-inspiring, and certainly plays tricks on the eyes – it is only on second glance, and on spotting its white exterior, that one realises it is not indeed part of the geology of the rock itself.
The monastery is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog and is separated into two churches. The older, upper church is the one carved out of the cliff-face, while it is the lower church where one will find Saint Basil’s burial site.
The road that leads to the monastery is inevitably long, and it meanders its way through the mountains. There is no doubt that completing the expedition up this meandering path, leaves visitors with a euphoric feeling. While pilgrims know they can fall back on the option of a taxi or a bus, which will take them some of the way until the stone steps that mark the final leg of the long journey, hiking the entire trail remains the most popular choice. It is tradition for Ostrog’s most dedicated visitors to tread the 3km trail that exists between the Lower Church and the Upper Church barefoot, and on arrival, offering clothing and blankets as donations to the monks who are housed within.
Inside, the monastery is striking. The ancient frescoes that adorn the walls in these instantly cool interiors, do battle with the jaw-dropping views that visitors enjoy from the windows and doors of Ostrog, which take in the sweeping and seemingly endless Bjelopavlići plain below.
The architecture of the Ostrog Monastery reflects the brilliance that comes from the mix of human’s interaction with nature, and replicates Montenegro’s enchanting surroundings. This breath-taking destination offers the ultimate soul-fulfilling trip, and with an easy 2-hour scenic drive from Lustica Bay via Kotor Bay, it is firmly worth discovering.