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Montenegro.com in Bijelo Polje

On the new Bar-Belgrade motorway and near the border of Serbia and Montenegro lies the ubiquitous city of Bijelo Polje.  Considered by many as the northern gateway to Montenegro, Bijelo Polje is known as much for it’s picturesque winters as the large number of famous Montenegrin writers, novelists and poets who were born here.  For the inspiring writer or the casual traveler to Montenegro, a single journey to Bijelo Polje will prove why the city continues to be inspirational.

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Winding upwards from the Bay of Kotor through narrow ravines and river gorges, you eventually arrive to Bijelo Polje, the largest town in northern Montenegro.  The first of Bijelo Polje’s principal attractions is the Church  of Saint Peter, which despite its small size, boasts a soaring steeple (campanile) which is nearly the sole example of this daring architecture in the region.
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Interestingly, there is also a Mosque in Bijelo Polje called the Gusmire Mosque.  The plaque outside this impressive place of worship describes how the mosque came to arrive in Bijelo Polje (it was not built here!).  In 1741, Muslim worshipers from Bijelo Polje dismantled a mosque in the town of Jabucina, and carried the entire structure, brick by brick, in a journey that lasted only a single day and night!
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Bijelo Polje is also known for a distinctive style of local architecture that, unfortunately, only survives in a few well-preserved houses around the city.  One of these houses which dates from the 18th century was reputedly the hiding place of Hadji Loj when he came to Bijelo Polje during his campaign to win independence for the region from Turkish rule.
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Literary pursuits seem to come easily to the residents of Bijelo Polje, who have been proud to count some of Montenegro’s best writers among their residents.  Risto Ratkovic, who wrote Montenegro’s first modern novel in 1933 (called Nevidbog), is one example of a true resident of Bijelo Polje.Image
Passing through the center of town Image you undoubtedly see the famous Bijela Rada Hotel.  Leaving the center, you can cross the bridge that spans the river Lim.
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In passing, it is good to remember that although some places in Montenegro seem outside of the beaten track, they still present unending opportunities for travelers to this beautiful country to discover unusual and spectacular places that aren’t necessarily frequented by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of tourists.  Montenegro, like Bijelo Polje, has inspired generations of authors, poets, scholars and warriors to defend this land on the page and on the battlefield.  Today’s battlefield may be simply more than finding a space on a crowded beach along the Montenegrin Riviera, but Bijelo Polje reminds us that hidden wonders lie just around the corner in Montenegro, and all it takes is an adventurous spirit to find them!   
Image After a short, but refreshing walk, you come to the memorials to three of Bijelo Polje’s famous writers, their stone busts looking out over the river and their beloved town.  They include Camil Sijaric (1913-1989), Risto Ratkovic (1903-1954) and Miodrag Bulatovic (1930-1991), and with their gazes fixed on Bijelo Polje, it is no surprise with this view of the city why it inspired them to greatness. Image
We paid our respects to them all and then headed back to town. Thank you, Montenegro.com