Montenegrin Alcatraz: Grmožur island on Skadar Lake

Grmozur is a little rocky island on Lake Skadar near Vranjina village.

The residents of Crmnica village once called it “Snake Island” and ornithologists today call it “Bird island”. However, this island is best known for the prison, built by decree of Prince Nicholas, which is also known as “Montenegrin Alcatraz.”

On the island there are the remains of the fortress, built by the Turks in 1843, and won in the liberation war by Montenegrins on 24th of January 1878.  In the same year, Grmozur was converted into a prison for convicts sentenced for serious crimes, and interestingly according to the tales, mostly non-swimmers. Only later, in the early 20th century others who served their sentence were political prisoners, including the Belgrade students convicted of attempted assassination of King Nikola.

The prison was relocated during the Balkan wars to Podgorica, where the central prison was formed, named “Jusovaca”.

In a strong earthquake, which hit Montenegro, and especially the area of ​​Skadar Lake in 1905, the fortress Grmozur was significantly damaged and has not been renewed to this day.

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