Ilija Čabarkapa

Ilija Čabarkapa

homemade products tasting; activity holidays

Vrulja is a scattered rural settlement with many hamlets that have been named after numerous springs – vrulje. It is situated in the valley of the river Ćehotina, 28 km from Pljevlja towards the southeast and at 1000 masl. The land has been used for farming and cattle breeding for centuries.

The oldest traces of human life here originate from the Bronze Age, while this region was later inhabited by the Illyrians, Romans, Slovenes and Turks. There are many testimonies from the past about that, for example, the origin of names and toponyms, the remains of towns and fortifications, groups of medieval tombstones Stećci and rich intangible heritage.

During the reign of the Roman Empire, an economically and strategically important route passed through this area. From Risan, through Nikšić, it led to Komini near Pljevlja (old town of Municipium S), where the caravan station and market were, and from this place further inland. In Vrulja there is a location called Velika Gradina, which, it is believed, presented the original location for the fortress Jerina's Town i.e. Koznik. It was primarily meant to serve as defence of a medieval mine, but as it was not possible to bring water here, its construction was continued in the nearby village of Kozica.

The people of Vrulja, both men and women, have been inclined to creativity since ever. When it comes to women, it was expressed through skilful embroidery, weaving, knitting and preparing various foods. From the earliest days, women made various types of clothing and footwear from wool, hemp and leather. Men made wood items for home use and soil cultivation, while by processing wood they made timber for structures within the household. Even today, in some houses, you can see the national instrument gusle, fife, distaff and many other wooden objects.

Our host Ilija Čabarkapa, although a farmer by profession, has found his passion in wood. From branches and trunks from the nearby forest, while using the simplest tool, he makes amazing sculptures. Usually, nature itself determines their appearance, but after Ilija's processing, they become true pieces of art. If you take a very good look at them, you will find numerous unusual shapes and characters in them. This self-taught artist finds most time for his hobby while taking care of his sheep. By now he has had ten individual exhibitions in Montenegro and the region, while there is a permanent exhibition of his works within his household. The Čabarkapa family keeps to tradition and village lifestyle with agriculture as a primary activity.

For hiking and cycling lovers, a real recommendation is visiting the household of the Čabarkapa family, by following the route of the old caravan road and by starting off near the necropolis called Marina Šuma – a site of the medieval tombstones of Stećci, where you can see almost all forms and decorations. Housewife Sanja will welcome you at Ilija's home, with a smile and homemade refreshments. For a welcome there is homemade juice made from cornelian or elder with lemon and orange, as well as homemade plum, pear and apple brandy made from fruits from their own orchards. Sweet are bites of various homemade pies, bread with cheese and cream, sour milk, cooked or roasted lamb. As a treat before the road, there are domestic walnuts and hazelnuts.

During all day trips, the path continues further to material monuments of the distant past – the Greek cemetery and church ground on Đurića Hill, and along the way Ilija will tell you many interesting local anecdotes and legends. After an easy walk up a slope lasting 30-60 minutes, you will reach Gradina Hill and a fantastic viewpoint of the surrounding landscape and the medieval fortress of Koznik. To reach the thematic trail for the Koznik tour “Reviving forgotten trails at the foot of Koznik“, you should continue further through natural shade of a coniferous forest in which you can collect blueberries, strawberries, mushrooms or refresh yourself on one of the two springs.

In Vrulja and its surrounding, there is an abundance of medicinal herbs and forest fruits. Earlier, there were arable land and pastures here that were overrun over time and were turned into forest complexes. The population of this region experiences deep age, so take advantage of the opportunity and ask Ilija to recommend a folk remedy or miraculous herb.


Vrulja bb
84214 Vrulja, Pljevlja

By | 2018-01-05T21:16:13+00:00 December 8th, 2017|Old Caravan Routes|