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Into the mountains – the end of Empire

St. Ivan's Fortress - Copyright by Alan Grant The former border checkpoint operated by Austro-Hungary - Copyright by ESI Water reservoir at the checkpoint - Copyright by ESI
St. Ivan's fortress above Kotor – the former border checkpoint operated by Austro-Hungary – water
reservoir at the checkpoint

Montenegro in its current form took shape only after the Balkan wars of 1912-1913. While it had expanded in the previous centuries, parts in the North belonged still to the Ottoman Empire and the Northern part of the Coast was part of Austria-Hungary.

In 1900 Balkan traveller Edith Durham worked her way up on the road from (Austro-Hungarian) Kotor to (Montenegrin) Cetinje.

"After nearly three ours of climbing we passed the last black-yellow Austrian post. The driver, a real son of the mountains, pointed to the ground and said ‘Grna Gora' [Montenegro]. Crna Gora, dark, grey, sombre, a chaos of inextricably intertwined limestone rocks, the naked wind-lashed bones of a dead world. The first glance on this country was shocking. The horrors of despair, the endless series of naked mountain tops, and the inhospitable wilderness of the bare rocks in their rough solitude told centuries of suffering. The next moment filled me with respect and admiration for those people who preferred the freedom of this wilderness to the slavery in the abundant valleys."

Still today one can stop at the border checkpoint operated once by Austro-Hungarian gendarmes.

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