The Prokletije mountains are one of the highest and without doubt most hyperkarstic mountain ranges of the Balkan Peninsula whose white naked karstic and jagged ridges and peaks, build form limestone and dolomite show many cirques that create an imposing wild image which sends shivers and fear to visitors (as geographer Jovan Cvijic said in 1913). Because of it’s impressive and amazing beauty, Prokletije Mountain is also known as “Southern Alps of Europe”.
Prokletije is surely one of the last mountains in Europe that has not been discovered entirely yet, one of the most enclosed, most reserved and most romantic places in Europe. The Alps, the Dinaric Alps and the Prokletije Ranges represent a unique mountain system made by a folding action of the African plate which is under the European one.
This process is visibly evident also by the constant listing of the Adriatic coast. The Dinaric Alps, 1000 km long, follow the direction of the Adriatic Sea and at their northwest and southeast ends formed the ‘aggregates’ of the Alps and the Prokletije massif. These two groups are of latter geological origin, made by the action of tectonic forces on the edge of the plate.
This theory is confirmed by the great tectonic divide which extends from Herceg Novi towards Trebinje, and farther inland. This divide was made by cracks in the Balkan land, due to the resistant force of the Prokletije mass. Along this fissure there are constant earthquakes of tectonic origin. Like the Alps, the Prokletije Mountain range also deviates from the extension of the Dinaric Alps. The massifs and aggregates that formed are very tall. The French travel writer Ami Boue was right when he called the Prokletije – “The Southern Alps”. Many geographers today consider the Prokletije as a continuation of the Dinaric Alps. The names “Prokletije” and in Albanian “Bjeshket e Nemuna” (mean “The Damned Mountains”), which describes the cruelty of these mountains and the hard life of those who live in their vicinity.
The Prokletije range consists of 40 mountain wreaths between the Zeta plain, the Drim River, Plav – Gusinje Prokletije, and the Komovi&Bjelasica, all to the mountains of the Kucka Krajina. The Plav – Gusinje Mountains are massifs in the confluence of the rivers Komoraca, Jasenica and Djuricka Rijeka, south southeast of Plav, then the rivers Vruja and Dolja, on the south southwest of Gusinje. All of these rivers are right tributaries of the Lim River. From the left this area is bordered by somewhat lower mountains with steep slopes, which extend toward the Plav – Gusinje valley: Lipovica (1882 m), Greben (2196 m) and Visitor (2211 m), while from the north wreath is Zeletin (2126 m). The Montenegro – Albania border is most of the Plav – Gusinje Prokletije range and their peaks are above 2000 m. It is a hydro – geologic watershed of the Adriatic, the origins of the Drim River and its tributaries and the Black Sea River basin, as well as the Lim River and its tributaries. The Prokletije range in Montenegro is approximately 250 square kilometres, and extends from Skadar to Bogicevica, on the border with Kosovo. Ina a wider sense, Montenegro’s Prokletije mountain range is bordered by the rivers Cijevna, Lim and Ibar.
Massif of Prokletije mountain is – rises gradually toward southwest and northwest from the Zetsko-Skadarska valley, ending up with the highest peaks of Bogicevica and Cakor and Rugova passes, where the highest crests – Jezerski Vrh/Maja Jezerce (2694 m) on Albanian territory, Djeravica (2656 m) on Serbian and Kolac/Maja Kolata (2534 m) on Montenegrin territory are located.
Here everthing lives of the sun, because of the sun, for the sun.
From northwest to southeast, the Prokletije Mountain range includes these peaks: Lipovica (1882 m), Trojan (2190 m), Guriku, Popadija (2057 m), Volusnica (1879 m) and Karaula (1915 m). The Maja Fort is on the Albanian side of the border. With a height of 2499 m, it is the highest peak of the Zastan range. The Karanfili (carnation) massif include three peaks: to the north – Severni Vrh/Maja Bals/North Peak (2460 m) and Veliki Vrh/Kremeni Vrh/Big Peak (2480 m); to the south – Juzni Vrh/Zlovrh/South Peak (2441 m), Karanfil Ljuljasevica (2240 m), with branches of Podgoja (2029 m) and Vezirova Brada (1781 m). Mt Bjelic with its highest peak, Rosni Vrh (Maja Rosit, 2525 m) is the third highest peak in Montenegro. Maja Kolac (Maja Kolata) with the Zla Kolata (Kolata e Keq, 2534 m) and Dobra Kolata (2528 m) are the two highest peaks of Montenegro. But, officially the highest peak of Montenegro is Bobotov Kuk (2523 m) in Durmitor massif. Reason – Durmitor is in the center of Montenegro territory and it is closer to heart of Montenegrins than Prokletije peaks on border with Albania, which are not in the center (inside) of country. Farther in that range to the east is: Maja Bor (2149 m), Maja Scapica (2044 m); with Krs Bogicevica (2374 m) join the Kosovo mountains of Maja Rops and Bogdas (Marijas). There are many kinds of alpine rocks in the Prokletije Range. Listing the most famous: Koplje (600 m), Volusnica (250 m), Ocnjak (Canine Tooth, 180 m) and Karanfili’s Norhern Peak (450 m).
The valley’s and lakes
Valleys are deep and wide while peaks are edgy and seem to be almost inaccessible. There are a plenty of smaller or bigger glacial lakes in the mountains. Their number is the second most one in Europe following the Alps. Plavsko Lake is the biggest one along the shore of which a lot of holiday homes and pensions were built. Prokletije has a fantastic panorama, wide, flowery and green valleys, steep mountainsides, peaks pushing skywards, idyllic meadows, purling brooks and sight for the gods. But before everything else its most important characters are wildness and being undiscovered. It is almost impossible to find any travel report about the mountains because they do not exist. People are friendly, hospitable and the visitor is not threatened by any danger. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the whole mountain range is extremely mysterious and wild. You can reach to passes and peaks where foreign tourists have never ever been and this gives the excitement of real discovery. This powerful mountain range continues geomorphologically toward north with Nedzinata (2341 m), Cakor (2046 m), Mokre Planine (1932 m), Hajla (2403 m) and Mokra Gora (2154 m). Prokletije are today hugh mountain massif – on both side of Serbian&Montenegrin/Albanian border. From west near Rikavachko lake, Prokletije goes to east, till Pech town. North border of Prokletije is Rozhaje town, on the south – Thethi and Valbona valley in Albanian part of massif.