From the beach to a Cathedral in Bar in Montenegro
Did you know chocolate and gold bars were invented in Bar in Montenegro? So was the bar exam and that joke about a horse walking into a drinking establishment. Of course, we just made this up, but you have to admit the name “Bar” for a seaside city lends itself to all kinds of puns.
We arrived at Bar in Montenegro on a brilliantly hot summer’s day. The beach was packed and the flowers in bloom. We went for a swim before taking a walk and coming across the incredibly impressive Cathedral of St Jovan Vladimir. It’s an opulent cathedral that stands out from the rest of the landscape as if it was photoshopped in. We’ve never seen such murals on the walls. Old Biblical stories meet newer paintings of soldiers and conflict.
I’ve always felt very uncomfortable taking photos inside churches, cathedrals, mosques and temples as these are sanctuaries and places of solitude for people, not cameras. I managed to respectfully take two photos inside this cathedral to reflect on later. One is a depiction of a young Jesus Christ surrounded by halos and angels. It’s painted on the ceiling of one of the very high domes. Therefore the illustration is very far from where you would stand, yet you are met with a penetrating gaze from above that feels much closer and the painting has a certain intensity to it that I found striking. Even though the painting is on a dome reaching toward heaven, on the photo it looks completely flat, clever work by the artist and architect.
The other mural photographed is the story of Genesis and creation. Here God is depicted speaking the universe into existence. What I found fascinating are the two other characters shown, the feathered faces floating about. They made a few more appearances throughout the Bible illustrations, leading me to believe that one might be the holy spirit and the other the devil. I’d never seen either depicted this way and enjoyed the simplistic and childlike nature of the art, it made it easy to connect with it in a weird way.
Outside, the flowers, ducks and locals were also transformed to works of art under the hot sun. Two men play outdoor ping pong as we walk by and a dog takes a nap in the shade at the bus stop.
That night on the boat we had a chance to admire a lunar eclipse and blood moon. I didn’t have the right lens to capture it completely but played around with it for an hour or two. It’s not every day you get to say you played with the moon.