Don't be put off
Don't be put off if you arrive in Ulcinj by bus. The area around the bus station is a little derelict (we managed to take a picture with cows grazing in the station which I'll try to upload at some point). Once you get down towards the beach it is a pretty cute town.
Again along Ulaz 26 Novembar, at one moment, the valley is a little wider and a small supermarket stands in the middle. In Albanese, it is called "Vestershërbim" which means some thing like "Fast Service".
Pasha mosque, the ablution room
On the right to the entrance into Pasha mosque, a little square room is the ablution room. Believers must clean themselves (feet, hands and face) before entering the mosque in order to be clean when the meet Allah. Ablutions are a ritual.
The only recent (2003) guidebook I had found on Montenegro (Bradt) was not a great help for Ulcinj. It gives a small city map, very rough and with only a few streets named. However, I could not spot a single of the names they give. What seems to be "ulica/bruga Hafiz Ali Ulqinaku" is called by Bradt "ulica 26 novembar". The same for what Bardt call "Bulevar Maršala Tita" The roads signs did not look as if they had been changed recently. Anyway, after a while, once you know the city, you don't care anymore with the names of streets, but in the beginning, it is confusing.
"Don Quixote" and Ulcinj
Truth or legend it still adds to the
mysteries about the fortress old town of Ulcinj.
The tale about Miguel de Servantes Savedra and
his 5 years spent as a slave while ransomed for 500 goldern
Well here is what some Montenegrians claim, but I doubt it
as it was well documented that the location of where he was
held was North Africa and not that of Ulcinj,
He and his brother were taken to Algiers as slaves
WELL HERE IS THE LOCAL LEGEND
One of the most interesting aspects of Stari Grad Ulcinj's
history occured just after the Mediterranean Sea naval battle
at Lapant in 1571. The famous Spanish writer Miguel de Servantes
Savedra was imprisoned at Stari Grad Ulcinj - the writer who later
wrote the world-famous novel "Don Quixote". It is supposed that
the famous Servantes to his protagonist Don Quixote, in the novel,
gave a lover named Dilcinea del Toboso, a girl whose origin is from
Ulcinj and who carried the name of the former name of
Ulcinj - Cita de Dolcino, with whom Servantes was in love.
Servantes spent almost five years in Ulcinj as his captors
awaited a ransom payment, and it is thought that he along
with other slaves were sold in Old Town Ulcinj at slave square.
HERE IS CLOSER TO THE TRUTH
Cervantes a highly paid soldier, receives letters of
recommendation from Don Juan and the Duke of Sessa
and decides to return to Spain after time in Sicily, Sardinia,
and Naples.. In early September he leaves Naples with a four-
galley fleet bound for Barcelona. A storm disperses the ships,
and El Sol (The Sun), carrying both Cervantes and his brother,
Rodrigo on the galley is captured off the Catalan coast by
Berber corsairs under the command of Arnaut Mamí.
The captives are taken to Algiers and Miguel de Cervantes
falls into the hands of Dalí Mamí,
alias The Cripple, who, considering the letters of recommendation,
sets Cervantes's ransom at 500 gold ducats, an amount
hardly within the power of his family to pay.
Rodrigo was ransomed in 1577. The Moors though
that Cervantes was more valuable captive because he
had carried letters written by important persons
Over the years, he makes 4 attempts to escape and is
spared once a sentence of flogging with 2000 lashes,
I suspect Hassan Baha king of Algiers, had a soft spot for him.
Then on September 19, 1580, Cervantes is about to sail for
Constantinople with Hassan Baha's fleet when the
Trinitarians Fray Juan Gil and Fray Antón de la Bella pay
the writer's ransom and he is set free.
On October 27, he reaches the Spanish
coast and disembarks in Denia (Valencia);
his captivity has lasted five years and one month.
Towards the end of the year he goes to Madrid to
initiate a series of suits in demand of compensation
for his military service.
1581 .... Cervantes only procures an obscure
assignment in Oran which he carries out in the middle of 1581,
after which he goes to Lisbon to report to Philip II.
He later settles in Madrid for a while, has a child with
Ana Franca de Rojas, to be his only offspring,
Then marries a nineteen- year-old girl,
18 years younger than him ..then....
well he continues to write and have a very eventful life.
1616 ill with dropsy..
On Friday the twenty-second, a little over a week after Shakespeare's
death, they died on the same date but not day,as the April 23 date
for Shakespeare is Julian calendar (Old Style) and the April 23 date for
Cervantes is Gregorian calendar (New Style) as those were the calendars
in effect in England and in Spain, respectively, at that time.
The Gregorian calendar was then ten days ahead of the Julian.)
the author of the Quijote expires and is buried the following day,
dressed in his Franciscan habit, in the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians,
on Cantarranas (now Lope de Vega) Street.
WHAT'S THIS GOT TO DO WITH ULCINJ ???
Well I said this was a legend....:-)