A little further, the view on the sea is unobstructed and is breathtaking. On the right, the coast north west to Ulcinj. The village of Valdanos, famous for its olive groves stands behind the last promontory and cannot be seen from Ulcinj. Small islands dot the sea. Everything is calm and peaceful ! Not a single soul in view !
Sveti Nikola orthodox cathedral is best viewed from the old city, as on this photo with on the right the yard with olive trees and on the left, in the foreground, the cemetery. When the Turks invaded, the monastery was turned into a mosque. It was rebuilt as a church in 1890, in honor of the Montenegrin that died in the wars of 1878. Its interesting iconostasis is of Russian origin.
The owner of this house has hung a shoe horse on top of the entrance of his house. This is a common belief since the Middle Ages, all over Europe, that hanging a shoe horse in or outside the house will bring good luck to the house and, more important, to its inhabitants. The origin of this belief remains unexplained.
This photo shows Ulaz 26 Novembar (26 November street), the street (from right to left) that goes from the newest part of the city to the city beach, Mala Plaža (small beach), in a narrow valley. In the background, Stari Grad (the old city) and Pasha mosque. The street that starts slantwise leads to the inland entrance into the old city.
The ramp that leads to the old city is an excellent but steep and unshaded paved road. When it is hot, it is a strenuous walk that deserves the reward of a cool bier ! On the right, the city wall is impressive. Look at the photo in my introduction to understand where it stands.
After a small bend, the entrance appears. From below, it is dark and impossible to distinguish if it is closed or open. As there is nobody around, the only way to know is to climb and get nearer. Luckily, once closer, it is open and looks like a tunnel of freshness. A renewed house of the old town is seen in the background.
Pasha mosque was built in 1719. Its minaret is built in the typical Turkish style with a narrow tower looking like a pencil or better like a rocket. It is very different from the minaret of Northern Africa, which have a parallelepiped design. All mosque in the Balkans have the Turkish "rocket" design.
The street that leads to the inland entrance into the old city does not bear any sign and you have better to guess this the right one. It is rather steep and when it is very hot, you might consider driving. You can, and when we were there it was possible to park close to the gate (actually we walked !) but the street is narrow and often busy. Crossing can be difficult !
When arriving at the dead end (for cars) of the street that leads to the inland gate of the old city, you will see on your right what remains of 15th century Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas) monastery, a yard shaded by old olive trees.
A few buildings of the upper part of the old city have been renewed and an excellent museum has been opened (information from my guide book) at the top small esplanade of the old city. The entrance is on the far left, behind the grids. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was closing for dinner and would not reopen until 5PM. Sorry, I do not remember exactly the opening hours but they might be something like 8-11 AM an 5-7 PM. I will check next time.
This imposing group of building has been renovated and looks really great. It seems that it is now hosting several private apartments with a great view towards the bay and the open sea. I have no clue yet of what it was and the history of the building.
The Balsič or Balshaj tower (Kulla e Balshajve, in Albanian) was built when the Albanian feudal family of Balshaj won Venice and took over control of the town. The Balsic tower as been renovated for an art gallery. This building could be the Balsič tower, but I am not sure.
This close up on a may be renovated palace shows better the architecture of the building with a long porch that runs across the whole front, opened by elegant arches. Renovating ancient stone building is a job that requires masons trained to handle this special type of job. Renovations in Stari Grad Ulcinj have all been very well done.
This house seems to have just been finished renovating (there is still a scale on the front). It is equally impressive but has a very different style. It looks more like a fortified stronghold, with only one opening in the basement and few in the other levels, designed for easy defense.
On each side, two standing lions looking backwards, holding a shield with a lion looking backwards and two doves. In the middle of the zoo, a circle with in the middle three letters that seem to be OHS (initials of the owner ?). Around the circle, the carving says :
NEMO PROFETA ACEPTUS EST IN PATRIA SUA.
This is a Latin sentence that says "nobody is a prophet in his own country". I suppose this guy became wealthy and recognized abroad but was not welcomed when he came back home ?
BTW, in Latin, it should be "propheta" and "acceptus".
Woooh ! Here they are (enlarge the photo, please) ! This is why there was nobody in the old city : they were all on the beach. When I mean all, I mean all ! Mala plaža in Serbian or Plazhi i Vog‘l in Albanian mean "small beach", though it is about 800m wide. The Small Beach and its bay lie between the points of Punta e Nuradinit (Punta Nuradinit) and Suka (Cap Ratislava). Let us have a closer look !