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Plav, Montenegro

Coordinates: 42°36′N 19°56′E / 42.6°N 19.94°E / 42.6; 19.94
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Panorama of Plav
Panorama of Plav
Flag of Plav
Coat of arms of Plav
Plav is located in Montenegro
Location within Montenegro
Coordinates: 42°36′N 19°56′E / 42.6°N 19.94°E / 42.6; 19.94
Country Montenegro
RegionNorthern Montenegro
Municipality Plav
 • MayorNihad Canović (SD)
 • Ruling partySDDPSBSAA
 • Town and municipality328 km2 (127 sq mi)
 (2011 census)
 • Density28/km2 (70/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
 • Municipality
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code+382 51
ISO 3166-2 codeME-13
Car platesPL

Plav (Cyrillic: Плав; Albanian: Plavë) is a town in Montenegro in the northern region. It has a population of 3,717 (2011 census). Plav is the centre of Plav Municipality (population of 9,081 following the formation of Gusinje Municipality).


The name Plav (Плав) is derived from Slavic plav, "a flooded place" (poplava, "flood").[1][2]


Plav is located at the foot of the Accursed Mountains range, adjacent to the springs of the river Lim.

The area contains many lakes and the most known is Lake Plav, one of the largest in this region. The lakes Hrid and Visitor are mountain lakes, and Visitor is noted for its floating island.

Plav is also renowned for its karst wells, among which are Ali Pasha of Gucia Springs and Oko Skakavica. Villages in the municipality include Gusinje.


The toponym Hotina Gora (mountains of Hoti) in the Plav and Gusinje regions on the Lim river basin in 1330 is the first mention of the Hoti name in historical records in the chrysobulls of Dečani. Šufflay considers this region as the original area of settlement of Hoti from which they moved southwards.[3][4]

The Ottoman census organised in 1582-83 registered the Plav nahiyah within the Sanjak of Scutari with 18 villages; according to historian Milan Vasić all inhabitants had personal names with a Slavic character, and no Muslim name was present.[5][need quotation to verify]

According to a 16th-century travel record by Antonio Bruni, the inhabitants of the Plav region are partly Albanian and partly Serbian, with a large proportion belonging to historical Albanian and Montenegrin tribes such as the Piperi, Kuči, Kelmendi, and Bjelopavlići.[6]

After the Serbian-Venetian nobleman Mariano Bolizza in Cattaro (Kotor), who wrote the Relazione e descrizione del sangiacato di Scutari ("Relations and Description of the Sanjak of Scutari") in 1614 Plav was mostly inhabited by Albanians under the command of Sem Zaus (Cem Çaushi) of Podgorica.[7]

The two strongest feudal families in the Plav-Gusinje region (~90 km to the northeast of Gruemirë) trace their origin to Gruemiri. The Rexhepagaj of Plav, Montenegro (now, Redžepagić-Rexhepagiqi) moved to Plav in the beginning of the 1650s where their ancestor took the Muslim name Veli when he converted. Rexhep Aga who gave the name to the family was a great-great-grandson of Veli. The Shabanagaj (now also known as Šabanagić) were related via marriage with the Bushati family of Shkodra. Shaban Aga, their eponymous ancestor was the son-in-law of Sulejman Pasha Bushati, sanjakbey of Shkodra. He was sent in Gusinje as the commander of the fortress around 1690.[8] The Shabanagaj family owned large estates in Berane. Ali Pasha of Gusinje, commander of the League of Prizren was a Shabanagaj and Jashar Rexhepagiq, pedagogue in Kosovo, was a Rexhepagaj. Many other families in Plav also trace their origin to different historical tribes who migrated to the area. The Ferri (Ferović), Kërcaj (Krcić), Kuçi (Kuč), Medunaj (Medunanjin), Shabaj (Šabović), Toskaj (Toskić) descend from Kuči/Kuçi; the Canaj (Canović), Musajt (Musič), Rekaj (Reković), Mekuli (Mekulović) and Rugova (Rugovac) descend from Kelmendi; the Shahmanaj (Šahmanović) from Triesh; the Begani (Beganović), Kasumi (Kasumović), Shalunaj (Šaljunović) from Shala; Basha (Bašić) and Hoxhaj (Hodžić) from Berisha; the Kastrat and Hot families from Kastrati and Hoti respectively.[9]

In 1878, following the Treaty of Berlin, the city of Plav was ceded to Montenegro by the Ottoman Empire despite being considered by Albanian leaders as Albanian territory.Soon after however, armed resistance by the forces of the League of Prizren and their victory against Montenegrin troops at Battle of Novšiće (1879) prevented the implementation. Ottomans had to cede Ulcinj to Montenegro after pressure from the Great Powers in 1881. Plav only became part of Montenegro after the First Balkan War in 1912.[10]

The entry of the Montenegrin army in 1912-13 and the Yugoslav army after 1919 in Plav-Gusinje was accompanied by repressive policies against the local population.The Montenegrin army captured the region and entered Plav on 19 October and 20 October. Its entry was followed by a period of harsh military administration which until March 1913 had caused up to more than 1,800 killings of mostly local Muslim Albanians and 12,000 forced conversions to Christian Orthodoxy.[11]

In 1919, an Albanian revolt, which later came to be known as the Plav rebellion rose up in the Plav, Gusinje and Rozaje districts, fighting against the inclusion of Sandzak in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.[12][13][14] As a result, during the Serbian army's second occupation of Plav, which took place in 1919, Serb forces attacked Albanian populations in Plav and Gusinje, which had appealed to the British government for protection. About 450 local civilians were killed after the uprising was quelled.[15] These events resulted in a large influx of Albanians migrating to Albania.[16][17]


Plav is almost entirely Muslim and either Slavic-speaking or Albanian-speaking. The Slavic dialect of Gusinje and Plav shows very high structural influence from Albanian. Its uniqueness in terms of language contact between Albanian and Slavic is explained by the fact that most Slavic-speakers in today's Plav are of Albanian origin, representing a case of an Albanian-speaking population shifting to a Slavic-speaking one. The dialect of Albanian that Plav speaks is northwestern Gheg at the west of Plav, and northeastern Gheg at the east of Plav.[18][19]


In the area of the Plav municipality there are 13 sports clubs and societies that are actively engaged in sports and competitions. Some are in the First Montenegrin league and some in the Second Montenegrin league.[citation needed]

Sport clubs:

  • Football Club Jezero
  • Football Club Gusinje
  • Football Club Polimlje
  • Handball Club Plav
  • Chess Club Jezero
  • Karate Club Jezero
  • Kayak Club Plavsko Jezero
  • Sport Fishing Society Plavsko Jezero
  • Mountaineering Skiing Society Kofiljaca
  • Skiing-mountain Society Karanfil
  • Mountaineering Society Visitor
  • Hunting Society Rocks Plav
  • Hunting Sports Society May carnation
  • Basketball Club Balkanski Ris


Plav is administrative centre of Plav Municipality, which in 2011 had a population of 9,081, mostly Bosniaks, with a smaller minority of Albanians and other groups. The town of Plav itself has 3,717 citizens.

Historical population:

  • 1981 - 3,348
  • 1991 - 4,073
  • 2003 - 3,165
  • 2011 - 3,717
Ethnicity Number Percentage
Bosniaks 2,806 75.50%
Albanians 341 9.17%
Montenegrins 182 4.90%
ethnic Muslims 175 4.71%
Serbs 165 4.44%
Other 48 1.29%
Total 3,717 100%

Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Plav is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Contributions onomatologiques. Vol. 18. Akademija. 2005. p. 8.
  2. ^ ALEKSANDAR LOMA (2013). LA TOPONYMIE DE LA CHARTE DE FONDATION DE BANJSKA: Vers la conception d'un dictionnaire des noms de lieux de la Serbie medievale et une meilleure connaissance des structures onomastiques du slave commun. Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti. p. 170. ISBN 978-86-7025-621-7.
  3. ^ Ahmetaj, Mehmet (2007). "TOPONYMY OF HOTI". Studime Albanologjike. 37: 170. Retrieved 27 January 2020. Kundruar historikisht që në krye të herës, sipas kapërcejve historikë, Hoti i Kujit si vendbanim i moçëm thjesht me burim shqiptar dokumentohet, përkatësisht daton që moti, në Krisobulën e Deçanit, që nga viti 1330, ku përmenden hotjanët në malet në jug të fushës së Plavës ("Hutina Gora"), sot Malet e Hotit, të cilat sipas mendimit të M. Shuflajt duhet të kenë qenë djepi i fisit Hot.
  4. ^ Šufflay, Milan (1925). Srbi i Arbanasi: njihova simbioza u srednjem vijeku. Izdanje seminara za arbanasku filologiju. pp. 60–61. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  5. ^ Vasić, Milan (1991), "Etnički odnosi u jugoslovensko-albanskom graničnom području prema popisnom defteru sandžaka Skadar iz 1582/83. godine", Stanovništvo slovenskog porijekla u Albaniji : zbornik radova sa međunarodnog naučnog skupa održanog u Cetinju 21, 22. i 23. juna 1990 (in Serbo-Croatian), OCLC 29549273
  6. ^ Malcolm, Noel (10 July 2020). Rebels, Believers, Survivors: Studies in the History of the Albanians. Oxford University Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-259923-0.
  7. ^ Bolizza, Mariano (2003), Relations and Description of the Sanjak of Scutari, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 9783447047838
  8. ^ Dedushaj 1993, p. 53.
  9. ^ Dedushaj 1993, p. 47.
  10. ^ Gawrych 2006, pp. 49, 61–63.
  11. ^ Milosević 2013
  12. ^ Morrison 2018, p. 56.
  13. ^ Giuseppe Motta, Less than Nations: Central-Eastern European Minorities after WWI, Volume 1 , Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, p. 11
  14. ^ Klaus Roth, Ulf Brunnbauer, Region, Regional Identity and Regionalism in Southeastern Europe, Part 1, LIT Verlag Münster, 2008, p. 221
  15. ^ Morrison 2018, p. 21.
  16. ^ Mulaj, Klejda (22 February 2008). Politics of Ethnic Cleansing: Nation-State Building and Provision of In/Security in Twentieth-Century Balkans. Lexington Books. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-7391-4667-5.
  17. ^ Banac, Ivo (9 June 2015). The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History, Politics. Cornell University Press. pp. 298 snippet view. ISBN 978-1-5017-0194-8.
  18. ^ Curtis 2012, p. 40.
  19. ^ :Matthew C., Curtis (2012). Slavic-Albanian Language Contact, Convergence, and Coexistence. The Ohio State University. p. 140. On the other hand, there are some areas, particularly in Montenegro, where Albanian-speaking populations have shifted to Slavic-speaking ones, such as the tribes of Piperi and Kuči, the Slavic Muslim populations in Plav/Plavë and Gusinje/Gucia, and perhaps with the Mrković.
  20. ^ "Deçani dhe Ulqini binjakëzohen". kk.rks-gov.net (in Albanian). Deçan. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2022.


External links[edit]