Sveti Stefan

In Montenegro on August 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Archipelagos 120

I have seen this image a hundred times before: A circular town crowded together on a small island, accessible only by a dusty road. The orange roofs of Sveti Stefan bundle together defensively, separated only by the spires of trees; the medieval village is ringed with powerful rocks, as if nature itself has gathered the town together. The island is magical, removed from time and space, hanging by a single thread to the Balkan coast. The island seems to turn proudly away from us, resenting the road that connects it to civilization. Such landmarks are so improbable, I can hardly believe the sight; it’s a trick of the imagination, a mirage lifted straight out of a coffee-table book. And yet people actually lived here, laid the stone, netted fish, circled the island in boats. Seeing such perfect architecture, refined by generations of masons and woodworkers, I never want to step foot in another Costco. How do such wonders occupy the same planet as Atlanta? Detroit?

Then Sveti Stefan disappears behind bushes and a house, and the panorama is lost forever. I have snapped a photograph, compulsively, but there’s really no point. Nothing could capture such magic. Not even words.

On his deathbed, Marco Polo declared: I didn’t tell half of what I have seen, because no one would have believed me.

  1. Sveti Stefan is an elite place, many celebrities are there on vacation

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