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Multiethnic Bar

Suljo Mustafic - Copyright by ESI Stari Bar - Copyright by Alan Grant Rumija Mountains near Stari Bar - Copyright by Alan Grant
Suljo Mustafic – Stari Bar (old Bar) – Rumija Mountains

Suljo Mustafic is the editor in chief of "Radio Bar" and the head of the local Islamic Community. He takes pride in the town's multi-cultural tradition. He points out to ESI that there are no cafés separated according to nationality or religion as can be found in many other places in the Balkans.

There are many traditions that express a deeply embedded culture of co-existence. One of these traditions, says Suljo, is the cult of St. Vladimir. For centuries in spring, on St. Trinity's day, local people of all faiths leave the tiny village of Mikulic in the early morning hours for Mount Rumija, carrying St. Vladimir's cross. Allegedly it was this cross that St. Vladimir, a prince of the medieval Balkan state of Duklja, held in his hands when he was killed in 1016 by Vladislav, a nephew of Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria. While the origins of the cross remain disputed, the cross has been guarded for the last 700 years by the Orthodox Androvic family. Suljo's friend, Ilija Androvic, tells ESI that during World War I, when the two most senior family members left to fight and were afraid to leave the cross behind, they entrusted the cross to distant relatives who at some point in the past had converted to Islam.

In 2005 the Serbian Orthodox Church constructed a small church on Mount Rumija with assistance from the army without consultation. This, says Suljo, has led to a drop in the number of Catholics and Muslims participating in the procession on St. Trinity's day.

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