Island Lastavica – Rondida – Mamula
At the very entrance to the magnificant Boka Bay in Montenegro, one of the most beautiful bays in the world, there is an inhabited island and the fortress Mamula.
The island is called Lastavica (Swallow Bird), or Rondina – Venetian, but is popularly known as Mamula.
Mamula is located between Prevlaka and Luštica peninsulas at the entrance to the Boka Bay (Boka Kotorska). This small islet is of circular shape, and has 200m in diameter. It is 3.4 nautical miles (6.3 km) away from Herceg Novi.
The monumental Mamula fortress was finished in 1853 by Austrian Admiral, Lazar Mamula.
The main reason to build a fort there was to stop, the enemy ships to enter into the Boka Bay.
Together with two more forts, those of Arza fortification on Luštica’s Cape Mirišta and Prevlaka’s Punta Oštro, both of which were erected at the same time also on suggestion by general Lazar Mamula, fort Mamula was part of the Austro-Hungarian Army’s contingency plans of preventing the enemy entrance into Bay of Kotor.
The fort takes up about 90% of the island’s surface area.
It is very well preserved and all its elements are still there: casern for the accomodation of men, separatelly for the officers and common soldiers, kitchen, toilets, munition stocks, food, and other stuff, water, etc.
However, the fortress never served its purpose, since there was never a military attack.
Due to its isolated position, it was used as a concentration camp in both World Wars and the fort has also served as a prison.
In 1918, one part of the fort was used as a prison for the saillors who participated in famous Boka bay rebellion. The tradition to use Mamula as a prison was continued even in the Second World War.
At first sight, the fort looks terrifying, but once entered, visitors are amazed by the ruins left stranded in time surrounded by beauty.
For years Mamula has been one of the most popular tourist attractions of Herceg Novi. The fortress was well preserved and even includes the old prison cells that held concentration camp prisoners.
While in Montenegro, don’t miss to visit it, together with Dobreč, Mirišta and Zanjice beach, the Blue Cave and old picturise fisherman village Rose.