Grmožur – a quaint little islet

Grmožur is an abandoned fortified islet, floating on the freshwater of Skadar Lake. Its location is of great historical significance and an important habitat for a number of bird and wildlife species. Built by the Turks in the XIX Century, it was once a strategic point of defense, along with its sister islands Lesendro, Vranjina and Žabljak Crnojevića, creating a fortification system used by Ottomans to halt access to Bar and Shkodra. Once seized by the Montenegrins in 1878, Grmožur was taken over by the Montenegrin army and converted into a prison.

The Montenegrin Alcatraz

During the reign of King Nikola, Grmožur was home to the most high-security convicts. A prison surrounded by water made it impossible for prisoners to escape and thus the islet quickly became known as the Montenegrin Alcatraz. It is believed that the guards of any escapee had to serve sentence for their convicts.

During the Balkan Wars, the prison was moved to Jusovaca in Podgorica and during the 1905 earthquake, the old Turkish fort was destroyed and never to be rebuilt.

Grmožur is one of several fortifications in or around Skadar lake which originate from the Turkish period. Next to Grmožur, there is the Besac fortress, located above Virpazar, as well as historical sights and numerous churches, monasteries and monuments built by the Crnojevići and Balšići.

Visiting Grmozur

Our tour departs from Virpazar, just a half an hour away from Podgorica or Bar and is accessible by train or car. Enjoy a wonderful cruise to Grmožur, followed by a swimming stop in the freshwater and a traditional snack of ‘priganice’ (or local doughnuts with cheese or jam) washed with national wines.

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