Built high into the face of a mountain in central Montenegro, the Ostrog Monastery is situated near heaven. Depending on the weather and resulting cloud formations, the Serbian Orthodox monastery can be in or above the clouds. Regardless of the temporal conditions, it is a beautiful, sacred spot that is unequaled in importance for Montenegrins and Serbians. It is one of the most visited Orthodox sites in the world. And for good reason. The beauty that surrounds and encases Ostrog gives a foretaste of the beauty of heaven.
Ostrog is beautiful because of the monastery itself as well as the nature all around it. The two can’t be separated. The cliff with monastery structure is breath-taking. The views of the clouds all around are equally inspiring. The valley below with more mountains jutting up on the other side are gorgeous. It is a surreal place for spiritual reflection, solitude, and prayer.
You don’t have to look far to see Christian symbols such as the cross with the clouds providing a contrast in the background. The harsh realities of the cross are in view but set in a context of something majestic.
Looking out from the Ostrog monastery, the mountain across the Zeta Valley and skies above are both visible. This adds to the feeling that this is a unique place of beauty where heaven and earth meet in a special way.
The Ostrog Monastery is named after Vasilije (Vasiliye). He was the Metropolitan from Herzegovina in the 17th century. Following his death in 1671, a couple of cave churches were created. The frescoes on the walls are still faintly visible from this period.
Today, Saint Vasilije’s remains are in one of the cave churches. Here a priest stands as a prayerful sentinel while people of all religious faiths come to show respect. The Orthodox faithful cross themselves and kiss the blanket-wrapped bones of St. Vasilije. Known as the Saint of Miracles, St. Vasilije is also regarded by many as the patron Saint of Montenegro. Many come to Ostrog to pray and have others pray for their healing. It is not uncommon to see the sick, blind, and lame coming here hoping and praying for a miracle.
Newer frescoes have been painted in some places in the monastery.
Located 38 km from Podgorica or 23 km from Nikšić, some backpackers and bicycle tour enthusiasts make a pilgrimage to Ostrog. A shorter pilgrimage on foot is possible from lower on the mountain with a 2km trek up to the upper part of the monastery. These same trails and others that branch off provides paths for solitude or a casual stroll with friends and family. You can see some of the Orthodox priests walking prayerfully along these trails during the day.
Even from the monastery inserted into the side of the mountain, the peak remains higher still. It is up there.
Stay the night. Blankets and mattresses are available for visitors that choose to spend more time at Ostrog.
Several hundred bunks are available for a night’s stay. This is ideal for those that would spend more time at Ostrog as well as budget travelers. In addition to the bunks, many travelers set up their mattress and blanket outside on the terrace. These arrangements provide opportunities for casual conversation and community.
Check it. Ostrog Monastery is a must-visit site in Montenegro whether it is primarily for religious, cultural, or historical reasons.