Lake And Legends (part I)


One of the most beautiful area of Montenegro is surely the Northern part. Here you can find not just splendid mountains such as Durmitor and Bjelasica but also stunning mountain lakes nicknamed Gorske Oči, or “mountain eyes”. While taking hikes around them or just enjoying your time on their shores you would wonder about their creation. There is always the official version that connects the creation of the lake with a natural phenomenon, but there is always the more interesting mythical story.


The Black lake is a glacial lake that is found 3 km away from Žabljak it is surrounded by a pine forest that gives the lake together with the mountain peak of Medjed (2287m) its dark colour by witch it got its name.

The lake is actually made by two lakes the Veliko Jezero (Great Lake) and the Malo Jezero (Small Lake). What is curious is that with a depth of 49m the Small Lake is deeper than the Great Lake that is just 25m deep!
By the local legend the lake was created as a curse inflicted upon a monastery by the saint Sava.

During his pilgrim walks Saint Sava decided to rest at a monastery in a small town that was located in a deep valley under the Durmitor Mountain. The monks took Saint Sava in but they didn’t believe in his sainthood, so they decided to trick and shame him. During the night they killed a rooster and hid it in his travel bag. In the morning Saint Sava departed but soon after he heard noises behind him shouting his name. It were the monks who upon reaching him accused him of stealing from the monastery. “You who call yourself a saint how dare you steal from the monastery” said the monks.

Saint Sava was taken back by this accusation and denied it but the monks grabbed his travel bag and exposed the killed roster. Now Saint Sava knew he was set up so he cursed the unfaithful monks: “Let the earth swallow the place that you called a monastery and shall it cease to exist not to be known neither as a village or name but as a Black lake!”

The monks fled toward the village and monastery but upon reaching it they saw only what they were promised! The earth broke and sweater the town and monastery only to leave behind a lake dark in colour known from then on the Black lake!

One other interesting legend is connected with the Vrazje jezero (Devils Lake) some 10km away from the centre of Zabljak. This glacial lake is found at a latitude of 1411m, at the deepest point it is 11m deep, with clear blue waters that give out different coloured rigs depending on the position of the sun. The colour goes from dark blue in the middle to clear by the shore. The lake is full of fish and is a beloved hiking and fishing spot.

By the legend around the lake there was all under pine trees. Once thunder hit a black pine that caught fire and started burning the fire spread all around the forest carried by wind. The forest was full of all kinds of beasts and mystical folk. The beasts fled to Durmitor, the fairies flew into the clouds, and the devil took refuge with his wife in the lake. They made a beautiful castle at the bottom of the lake, all made of ice crystals. That is why this lake is named Devil’s lake it is always cold, as the cold ice is spread from the Devil’s Ice Castle.

As the devils are in the lake there is a warning connected to it! That’s why it is often said that as soon as a girl swims across a lake, the devil comes out of the castle, grabs her and drags her to the bottom. And if a man swam, then the devils wife pops out of the castle, grabs the man by the feet, and brings him to the bottom of the lake.

But the legend would not be a legend without a hidden warning to the people!
Namely, there are plenty of cold springs in Devil’s Lake, spasms are catching from cold water. So this is a way to warn people not to take the beautiful lake lightly!

So this are just some of the legends and myths of our splendid lakes but many more wait for you on your exploration around Montenegro.