Thirteen kilometers outside of Podgorica is an old settlement known as Medun. Begging for its unexplored history to be discovered, it sits at a higher elevation overlooking beautiful valleys delivering a stunning panoramic of the mountains of Montenegro.
I was told on a clear day that you could see Albania, Skadar Lake, and the country’s pride, Lovcen from this spot. I was also told that I would not be let down if I visited, and I was not.
Upon entering the town, I looked to my left and noticed the fortress sitting on top of the hill. I pulled over to make the trek up to see the walls as well as the view of the rest of the town. The fortress was once the center of the town–its’ own little town within the ancient walls. The settlement dates back to the 5th or 6th century. Relatively little is known about the ancient history because of a lack of study that has taken place. The view above gives you a good idea of the town that was. The upper portion contains the actual fortress, and the lower portion includes the church and some remnants of living quarters.
Walking up to the fortress area, you encounter this building. It was once a home, a school, and now serves as a museum for the town’s most well known inhabitant, Marko Miljanov. Miljanov was a famous writer who articulated Montenegrin life and ethics of the time. He was known for uniting his clan around the 1870s and defending the area against the Ottomans as well as defending Ottomans from those seeking revenge. His ethic is encapsulated in the following quote, “Bravery is to defend yourself from another, and humanity is to defend the other from yourself.” His body is buried at the foot of the fortress, and this building which was his home now serves as a tribute to his life.
The fortress appears close from a distance, but the switchbacks and grade of the hill provide an exhilarating walk up. Also, it’s fun to look around for alternative ways up. It seems to have been a historical favorite as well.
These are the walls to actual fortress. A local shepherd shared with me that each section of the walls that remain belong to different time periods. These are relics left over from Turkish invaders. It is believed that parts of Medun (not at the fortress) date back to the Iron Age.
Here’s the town church intact. It serves as the resting place of the local hero, Miljanov. I found the church and its symbols beautiful which in turn led to lots of picture-taking from multiple angles. There is something about this old architecture that is captivating.
Sitting just above the church looking out over the town. The red roofs make for an excellent contrast against the grays and greens.
Looking out over the lower part of the fortress and down into the valley the walls of what was are visible.
While venturing around the fortress, I found the perfect little spot for a picnic or brewing up a coffee. Something that will be done in the future, I can assure you.
Medun provides a scenic locale for a little getaway outside of the city. Just being thirteen kilometers away, any trip to Podgorica should include a stop here to get a bit more understanding of life here and the history that has carried into present day Montenegro.