Accursed mountains in the heart of the Balkans

Katarina Kalicanin | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Prokletije Mountains is a mountain range situated in three counties: Montenegro, Albania and Serbia (Kosovo). Prokletije are known as the Balkan Alps or Montenegrin/Albanian Alps and there are many interesting facts about this mountain range. Located in the heart of the Balkans, only 20 years ago, Prokletije were pretty undiscovered and unexplored mountains. They are still one of the last undiscovered parts of Europe.

Along the central part of the Prokletije mountain range, there was a military border between Montenegro and Albania. As for this reason, Prokletije used to be ‘’forbidden mountains’’ and only soldiers who were protecting the borders could admire its high and majestic peaks. However, even after moving the border, Prokletije were on a bucket list of only the most adventurous and bravest hikers. And that’s what made the climb to Prokletije even more special.

Prokletije (in Montenegrin) or Bjeshkët e Nemuna (in Albanian) have the same meaning. Its name in both languages can be translated as a Cursed or Accursed mountains. That the name didn’t come without the reason, tells the legend about its origin.

The highest peak of Prokletije Mountain is Maja Jezercë (2,694 m) in Albania. Before it was forbidden to walk around this area, the data say it was the last time reached in 1937. After that, it was not until 2002 when the group of hikers from Montenegro went on an expedition to summit the top and since then Prokletije officially began to attract mountaineers from all over the world.

Nowadays, Prokletije have three national parks: Valbona Valley National Park and Theti National Park in Albania, and Prokletije National Park in Montenegro. In Montenegro, the terrain of Prokletije is pretty much known, walking paths are passable and marked, but the central massifs in Albania is still quite wild and intact. A large number of peaks of Prokletije exceed 2000 m, many of them are sharp and the climb is advised only to experienced hikers. That is why sometimes professional mountaineers come to Prokletije to practice before they go on an adventure of summiting the world's highest peaks.

The wide and green valleys, situated under the steep peaks of Prokletije are often the main starting points for hikers and climbers. Although Prokletije is a paradise for experienced mountaineers, here in the valleys, all nature lovers can enjoy being surrounded by untouched nature. Walking through the forests and resting by the lakes while admiring the steep peaks that rise equally all around the valley, can be just enough if you like spending time without making too much effort.

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