Fortress Haj Nehaj

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While in Montenegro, by all means visit the dilapidated castle Haj Nehaj, which is located on the mountain of the same name.

Fortress, with a funny name for the Russian language,Haj Nehaj is located in the south of the Montenegrin coast, near towns Sutomore and Bar. It is clearly visible from the main Adriatic highway, but difficult to access. The fortress stands at an altitude of 230 m above sea level, from three sides it is surrounded by impenetrable walls and high precipices, and only one, western side has a small path leading to the gates of fortification, on which in stone carved winged lion - the emblem of the Venetian Republic. True to date, it is not there any more, and it is unknown, whether it has been stolen nowadays, or it was destroyed by Turks, but the fact remains. Nowadays, tourists, who want to familiarize themselves with this monument of military architecture of the Middle Ages, also use this path. We can imagine right away what kind of roads were in Europe in the Middle Ages.

The name of the fortress Haj Nehaj comes from the word "hajati" - worry, fear. That is the literal translation - "Worry - do not worry" or "Be afraid - do not be afraid." And this is due to the fact that the north-western side of the fortress was easily accessible by enemies unlike impregnable southeast.

In the Middle Ages to confront the Ottoman Empire, Venetians built a set of fortifications on the territory of the Montenegrin coast. Fortress Haj Nehaj was built in the XV-XVI centuries, and the first written mention of it dates back to 1542. In the ancient chronicles it is reported that a permanent garrison consisted of only two soldiers and one artilleryman, however, at the right time for the period of defense of the land around the fortress Haj Nehaj, it easily accommodates 900 people. For a long siege it housed a tank with a reserve of drinking water. The fortress has been completed for several times, at a later period in the middle of it, a number of fortifications appeared to protect it already from the firearm - round turrets with narrow loopholes, at the same time a powder magazine was equipped there. The fortress was used by Turks, and in the XIX century it was repulsed by Montenegrins who didn’t use it any more.

There is a church of St. Demetrios in the middle of the fortress. Today, there are only ruins left, but in ancient times it was on the site before the construction of the fortress. The peculiarity of this church is the simultaneous presence of two altars, Catholic and Orthodox, indicating the unity of Christians in the fight against the Turkish conquerors.

During its long history the fortress Haj Nehaj repeatedly passed from hand to hand between the Venetians, Turks and Montenegrins, so the different stages of its construction are characterized by different architectural styles and features of masonry.

Lifehack: entrance to the fortress is possible only on the west side, and correspondingly, it is necessary to climb in the west, too. On the other side the fortress is protected by high walls.

One can get to the fortress on foot. In the town Zagradzhe you can leave your car in the parking lot and start your path to ascension. There are several small paths to the castle, but without pointers. That’s why, use the maps of Montenegro, services of guides or navigation. All the way occasionally come across the prickly bushes, shrubs, and dry branches, which cling to the clothes and legs. But believe me, it's worth it - in 20-30 minutes before you, in all its glory, will appear the fortress Haj Nehaj, and an amazing view of the sea, mountains and the villages at the foot will open.

Lifehack: It’s better to return before sunset, because in the dark to walk through the narrow tortuous paths is not very comfortable (even in daylight, many people manage to go the wrong way).

The road to the fortress Haj Nehaj
The road to the fortress Haj Nehaj, Montenegro
The road to the fortress Haj Nehaj, Montenegro

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