At the heart of the Montenegro Coast, just somewhat to the south of Sveti Stefan, Petrovac is nestled, an attractive resort of the Budva Riviera, basking in the sun with almost 300 sunny days a year. It is adorned by numerous natural, cultural and historic monuments, drawing multitudes of visitors. The remnants of times passed testify to the tumultuous history of the area, while picturesque nature reveals a primeval peace and mildness Petrovac exudes. Embraced in moderate Mediterranean climate, Petrovac is encircled with olive, orange, lemon, oleander, bay laurel trees… Woods springing from rocks, colored in all the shades of green, surround the bays and villages scattered along the southern slopes of nearby hills.
The landscape of Petrovac abounds in coves and beaches, larger and smaller, among the most beautiful at this part of Adriatic, the best known being: Petrovac, Lucice, Buljarica, Kraljicina plaza, Perazica do and Drobni pijesak.
Access to Petrovac is easy. There are nearby airports in Tivat and Podgorica, the international ports in Bar, Budva and Kotor. There are also roads leading to the hinterland of Montenegro and onwards. It takes you about an hour to reach Herceg Novi to the west, Ada Bojana at the extreme south, or the Old Royal Capital.
Petrovac as a tourism destination was discovered back in 1930s. In 1950s there was a harbor built for pleasure boats, sailing ships and yachts. Today Petrovac is fully committed to tourism and provision of amenities demanded by modern day holiday makers. Petrovac disposes of a number of hotels and restaurants. The gastro offer is based on traditional healthy Mediterranean cuisine, with local features. The table explodes with colors: seafood, fish, and home-grown vegetables from local gardens.
Petrovac is located 18 km to the south of Budva. On two sides it is encircled with hills entering the sea, and the town itself connects with the sea via two sandy beaches. It was founded back in the Roman times; it is presumed it was one of the stops on the Roman road along the Adriatic coast. Dating from these times there is a rich archaeological find with preserved mosaics in the site of Miriste.
The oldest known name for Petrovac was Lastva, mentioned for the first time in the Chronicles of the Priest of Doclea from 12th century. In 16th century the Venetians built there the fortress called Kastio (Castello), a sanitary building – a small hospital and a quarantine – Lazaret. The fortress also provided storage areas for storing oil, wine and other produce exported by ships from Petrovac. The mystery of the old fortress is still appealing to all those seeking to experience some of the Petrovac history, leaving no tourist or visitor indifferent. The establishment of today’s settlement began in late 18th and early 19th century. The name Lastva remained until the establishment of the common state for south Slavs, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918.
Just in front of Petrovac there are two islets, Katic and Holy Sunday, with a church bearing the same name, built, as one legend has it out of donations given by seafarers, or according to the other, by a Greek seafarer who was saved on this rock following a shipwreck. Former church of rustic appearance, of smaller dimensions and simple architecture, which was destroyed in the 1979 earthquake, has been replaced by a new one. In the old sources (Chronicle of the Priest of Doclea) the islet named Katic was known as Radoslav’s Rock, named after the Doclean king Radoslav, who, fleeing before the mutineers and conspirators, managed to swim from the shores of Lastva on to the rock. There he was spotted and recognized by the Italian town of Puglia, who extended to him assistance and provided refuge, as becoming of a king of an amicable state.
In a wider area of Petrovac, in the place called rezevici, there is a famous promontory Skocidjevojka, rising perpendicular to the surface of the sea. The legend and the story saved from oblivion by the renowned Montenegrin author originating from Budva, Stefan Mitrov Ljubisa, says that here a young girl scarified her life for love. She was waiting for her sweetheart who was far away, first in the war, than on a Venetian galley. Her stepmother promised her to another, but she wanted to remain faithful to her love. Thus she left home, hiding for years in monasteries. One day, on a rock by the sea, in the vicinity of Budva, she met her unmeant-to-be-husband. They wanted to take her away, but there was only one man in her heart, who was far away from her. Having nowhere to go, she jumped from the rock into the sea, since if it was not meant for her to be with anyone else. This gave rise to today’s name of the promontory Jumping Girl.
Bankada (Italian: banco – a table) is the common court for all members of the Pastrovici tribes. It was first mentioned in late 16th century. Bankada used to hear all civil disputes among the people and pronounce various punishments and penalties, most often fines. Thanks to Bankada, the Pastrovici tribes developed their indigenous common law to perfection. In the spirit of the tradition, Bankada was restored in 1999, together with launching the magazine called “Bastina (Heritage). Every year, on 28th June, the representatives of all 12 Pastrovici tribes meet at the magnificent Drobni pijesak beach, known as the “Place of Justice” to elect four judges, two dukes and 12 noblemen. The oldest judge chairs the Bankada. They review the work of the Bankada over the previous period, and its tasks involve: the restoration and preservation of tradition, customs and religion, economic development of the area, protection of cultural and natural heritage as well as individual property and rights. After the official part there is an interesting culture and art programme. Bankada has its saint patron’s day celebrated on 17th October, the day of St Stefan Stiljanovic, and its flag bearing the inscription:” Even if you are better and stronger, God is above all”.
Cultural and Historic Monuments
It is located on a picturesque, green plateau above the sea, on the verge of Petrovac. As legend has it, there used to be pagan temples here and ancient graveyards of Greek and Roman families.
Serbian king Stefan the First-crowned built the church dedicated to Virgin’s Assumption, which was consecrated in 1223, and king Dusan the church of Archdeacon Stefan, consecrated in 1351, reconfirming to Pastrovici their traditional common law by the Code they used in hearings at Drobni pijesak and in adjudicating at Sudino brdo. The written mention of Rezevici monastery is found in an inscription on an icon from 1423.
A document dating from 1612, by which the people of the Soljaga tribe gave certain land to be farmed by the Monastery, mentions the church of Virgin’s Assumption and the monastery. Until mid 19th century there used to be, next to the road, a stone pillar with an indentation, where local villagers used to place a jug of wine as a sign of hospitality for travelers. The story goes that Raymond of Toulouse with his crusaders drank wine from the Pastrovici jug.
The monastery complex of Rezevici consists of three smaller churches. The first is the Church of Virgin’s Assumption, traditionally believed to be built in 13th century. There are preserved frescoes from early 17th century and some traces of 13th century layers. The iconostas was built in 1833. The frescoes are well preserved. The church is dominated by the iconic images of the Christ Pantocrator, of Our Lady, the composition depicting the Christ’s Passion from the New Testament, the hagiographic images of saint martyrs and warriors. The altar’s apse features images of holy fathers of liturgy, and the Eucharist composition, and the right-hand altar wall houses partly preserved Deisis – Our Saviour.
The Church of the Holy Archdeacon Stefan was consecrated in 1351. It was destroyed in 19th century. The remnants of walls have been preserved and some frescoes showing their extraordinary artistic value.
The Holy Trinity Church is the best preserved building within the monastery complex, built in 1770. The church has the form of a cross, with the altar apse and the right-hand rectangular apse for the choir. Architecturally, it belongs to the Virgin’s Assumption Church. At the entrance, above the main portal, there is a large white rosette. It has a rectangular 20 meter tall belfry. There is a preserved iconostas of a more recent date, with icons, made by the local artist Marko Gregovic (1867-1939). According to some documents, the lodgings were there as early as in 18th century. It was destroyed and restored on several occasions, together with other church buildings. Among the preserved cultural and historic values we single out the icon of Holy Mother of God from 1693, the Four Gospel from 1835, a large liturgical cross from 1850, Darohranilica from mid 19th century etc.
Due to its cultural and historic values and treasures, the Rezevici monastery complex was listed as a monument of culture and is under the protection of the state of Montenegro.
A very valuable monument with medieval frescoes. Located in Buljarica, two kilometers away from Petrovac, towards Bar, just above the highway. The legend has it what it was built in 11th century, mentioned for the first in 14th century documents, such as the King Milutin’s Charter from 1305. The monastery complex consists of three churches, the lodgings and a defense wall. St Nikola’s Church is the main monastery church. Just like the other two churches, Virgin’s Assumption and St Sava’s Church, it contains icons with motifs from the Old and the New Testament, and images depicting rulers from Nemanjic dynasty, made in 1620 during the rule of Montenegrin bishop – prince Ruvim.
St Sava’s Church was built in 19th century, in 1864. It is located outside the monastery walls with its main value being its fresco painting. One of the iconostases features an icon depicting a saint with a donkey’s head. There are several legends to explain this unusual image; one has it that St Christopher was so unusually handsome that he prayed to God to make him ugly and his plea was granted.
As was frequently the fate of monasteries, Gradiste was repeatedly destroyed and restored. It was plundered several times by the Turks, and during the World War Two it was burnt down and one of the chapels was damaged by grenades.
Just like Rezevici, monastery complex of Gradiste is enlisted as the cultural and historic monument of Montenegro.
Late Roman Mosaic
In 1902, a fragment of a well preserved mosaic floor of a Roman villa from 4th century was discovered at the olive grove in Petrovac. The main mosaic is the floor decoration of a rectangular room. The architectural remnants are rather modest. The mosaic of Petrovac, with geometric and floral ornamental items, was made by skilful masters showing full mastery of the craft in every detail of the mosaic. The aspiration towards the decorative, flamboyant even, is the main feature of the work, shown both in the drawing and in the selection of colors. The central motifs are done against the white background. All motifs are dominated by a cross-like rosette, with its central part consisting of four concentric circles. A fragment with a figure of three fish with one head is important for proper dating of the mosaic, since many see it as the symbol of Early Christianity, which was discovered at some point at the same site, but it soon disappeared. Having in mind the terrain conditions, most probably both mosaics belong to the same architectural unit and date back to the same time of origin. Judging b the data available, one could presume that the walls and mosaics in Mirista are remnants of a late Roman villa rustica. Peculiar resemblance of the three fish with later iconography of the “God’s Eye” is worthy of a separate research.
It is located 2 km southward from Petrovac towards Bar, some 2.400 meters in length. Several camping grounds and company-owned hotels are located there.
A 240 m long beach on the stretch of the coast between Sveti Stefan and Rezevici, located in a hidden cove. The whole beach, as its name depicts (ground sand) is covered in fine, yellowish-whitish sand. There is a restaurant and a beach bar at the very beach and a fresh water spring.
It is located some 500m southward from Petrovac towards Bar. It has the shape of a little bay, 220 m in length, with a beach bar and bordered by cafes.
Located in the immediate vicinity of Rezevici Monastery. It is a small sandy beach nested between two rocky cliffs.
A public sandy beach some 600 m length, with the sand of reddish color, one of the most frequented beaches on the whole f Budva Riviera, with a number of amenities.