Besac Fortress in Virpazar: Witness of time and history

When you take a walk through Virpazar, on the hill that dominates the vast Crmničko polje, your gaze will surely be drawn to the imposing fortress of Besac. This fortress, with its rich history and mysterious past, offers us a deeper insight into the turbulent history of Montenegro and the region.


Besac Fortress, Virpazar, Photo:


Built under the Ottoman Empire


The Besac fortress, located on the road between Virpazar and Bar via Sutorman, has its roots in the time of the Ottoman Empire. It was built shortly after the Turks conquered Donja Zeta in 1478. During their rule, the Besac fortress served as a strategic position and a defensive fortress.


View from Besac fortress, Photo:


Change of Ownership and Damages

At the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century, the Montenegrins took over the Besac Fortress, which led to considerable damage. Since then, the fortress gradually lost its strategic importance and is used only occasionally.

Between the two world wars, the Besac Fortress served as a gendarmerie station, and during the Second World War, the Italians used it as a prison. After that, the fortress remained abandoned and left due to weather conditions.


Besac fortress, before the renovation, Photo: Mercy from Wikimedia Commons


Architectural Feature

The Besac fortress stretches on a plateau with an area of 1,200 square meters, surrounded by ramparts that follow the natural configuration of the terrain, giving the complex an irregular triangular shape. It was built from pressed, crushed stone, firmly connected with lime mortar. The walls consist of relatively regular horizontal rows, with rough joints, testifying to the mastery of the builders of that time.


Besac fortress, outdoor terrace, Photo:


The fortress has a rectangular base with two circular towers at opposite corners. Inside the fortress, there is a ground floor and a first floor with openings for cannons. The building that served as a barracks is located near the entrance and has a rectangular base with a two-story roof. The height of the ramparts varies depending on the terrain, and there are observation towers at the two protruding corners, while the one facing the lake had a floor and a vaulted underground part.


Besac Fortress, Virpazar, Photo:


The reconstruction of the Besac fortress was made in 2013 and 2016 so that it now serves as an outstanding tourist attraction, viewpoint, restaurant, and wine museum with the possibility of tasting.


Besac Fortress, Wine Tasting, Photo


The Besac fortress is not only an architectural gem but also a witness to the turbulent history of Montenegro and the region. Its fascinating architecture and colorful traces of time make it a special place that will take you on a journey through the past and remind you of the important role it played in protecting this part of Montenegro.




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