The Orjen Nature Park is located in the South East of Montenegro, hinterland of Herceg Novi, on the Orjen Mountain. On the west side it borders Croatia and on the North-West and North it borders Bosnia and Herzegovina (RS). Together with neighboring Lovćen, Orjen forms outstanding mountain ring around the Bay of Kotor, one of the most beautiful bays of the World.
Since SFRY era and further there were numerous initiatives to protect and valorize the unique nature of this karst mountain full of interesting facts, so that the Nature Park “Orjen” sarts operating in 2018. The Status has been obtained thanks to primarily numerous endemic plant species, dominated by among others Heldreich’s Pine.
The Orjen Massive is very unusual, full cruel beauty. There, we will not see the alpine type landscaped, glaciers, sharp peaks, lakes and impetuous brooks. No, the central part of Orjen is full of rocky plateaus, cracked rocks and deep pitches. It is interesting that the mountain, besides the grey karst, is filled with green colour of densed forests. Thanks to big quantity of snow and rain during cold half of year, and despite the surface waterless, the area is suitable for the forest growth. The forests which used to be limited with intensive use of every corner for summer cattle breeding and agriculture, for the half of the century, they again take the expansion. The most common are beech, while the central ridge is decorated with endemic species of pine – Heldreich’s Pine, after which this mountain is famous for also outside the experts’ communities. Heldreich’s Pine grows on karst terrain, extremely unfavorable for other vegetation, but growing slowly and persistently. On Orjen, certain species reach the age of as much as 650 years! Deep under the zone of Heldreich’s Pine, on the verge of the mountain, significant meadows are spread which grew on icy glacier deposits. These parts of Orjen are used most frequently in the economy of sub-Orjen villages for cattle breeding, and thereby special eco-system has been formed, based on cohesion of nature and man.
Besides the living world, Orjen is interesting for its limestone kingdom, both below and above the ground. Subra (1679) is dominant among the geo heritage locations, formed on huge layers of limestone plates divided by numerous cracks and pitches, and then Ljuti Krs at the entrance proper to the Nature Park, which looks like wavy sea full of the most fantastic relief micro shapes.
Cultural heritage of Orjen preserves valuable material remnants since eneolite, the period since the cave Vranjaj originates from. The verge area, more suitable for living, possesses bigger density of archeological locations, Illyrian piles and fortifications, but also see traces of occasional dwelling of people on the peaks proper, where the remaining of ceramic pots were found. However, the most visible material remnants are linked to more recent era and massive use of the mountain for the cattle breeding camps during the summer and agriculture. These are stone huts, levelled fields and the valleys fenced with drystone walls. Out of the individual structures, former wind mill is outlined and also the Gajo Murišić’s water tank in Žukovica, famous for its stone dome made in dry technique. There are remnants of former summer dwellings in Vucji do, in Poljice, Kamenska and Ubaljska mountain. Special mark to the construction heritage left Austro-Hungarian era, when Orjen gets stone pedestrian paths, and imminently after, the car roads, still functional structures which represent today the museums of construction technique under open sky. In that sense, the upper part of military strategic road Vrbanj – Orjen Saddle is particularly interesting.
The Nature Park possesses thick network of marked trails, both for the easy walks and those which are challenging even for experienced hikers. However, Orjen is not meant for the people used to easy and quick method of reaching the mountain beauty. It actually hides beauty, the beauty worth labour and fight, and visiting places such as snow pits, the caves of mountain haiducs (outlaws), Austro-Hungarian military positions, old pasture dwellings… Among the most attractive, but not the hardest trails is the trail for Veliki Kabao (1894m), the highest peak of Orjen, coastal Dinarides and the overall coastal area on both sides of Adriatic. It has been designed for easier climb for Austro-Hungarian crown prince Rudolf Habzburg and represents the oldest mountain trail made for that purpose in Montenegro. For passionate hikers there are trails from Vrbanj to the Murisic’s water tanks in Zukovica, Snow pit under monumental Subra Amphitheater (the most interesting detail for coastal Dinarides), and also shepherds’ camps Vucji do, Poljice, Kamnska ravan. Besides walking and hiking, the Park can be visited with mountain bikes, using those historical Austro-Hungarian roads or todays macadam road which take to practically all former Orjen shepherds’ camps.
Also, many other activities can be practiced in Orjen, which are in accordance with preservation of nature, such as bird watching, mountain running, paragliding, alpinism, speleology, while in Vrbanj there is one of the best equipped and most modern adventure parks in the region, real delicacy for adrenaline lovers.
The Nature Park “Orjen” is connected to the motorway Herceg Novi – Trebinje, so from the turn on the Adriatic motorway on the coast, there is only about twenty minutes ride to the entrance in the Park or less than two hours walk on marked trail from the center of Herceg Novi. If you are arriving from farther away, there are nearby airports Tivat and Podgorica (MNE) or Čilipi (HR).
Agencija za razvoj i zaštitu Orjena doo Herceg Novi
85340 Herceg Novi