Žabljak (Montenegrin/Serbian: Жабљак, Žabljak, Turkish: Yabliyak) is a town in northern Montenegro. The town of Žabljak has a population of 1,937.
Žabljak is the seat of the Montenegrin municipality with the same name (population 4,204 in 2003). The town is in the centre of Durmitor mountain region, at an altitude of 1456m, which makes it the highest situated town on the Balkans.
The first Slav name of the place was “Varezina voda” (Варезина вода) possibly because of the strong source of drinkable water nearby, making a settlement possible. Later, the town was renamed “Hanovi” or originally “Anovi” because it was where caravans rested. Today’s name is dates from the year 1870, when in one and the same day the building of a school, of a church and of a captain’s home was begun. However, almost all the original buildings were destroyed during the Balkan Wars. All that was left was the old church of Sv. Preobraženje (Holy Transfiguration), built in 1862 as a monument to the victory in the battle against the Turks. Right after Žabljak was established as a town, a few retail stores and a few cafes were also opened. Thus, in the 1880s Žabljak was already a kind of a market-place, making it in time also the administrative center of the region.
In the period shortly before World War II, Žabljak was a small town with typical mountain architecture. Its unique nature was already drawing the attention of tourists from the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and also from abroad, especially Italy (because of very close ties between Montenegro and Italy).
During World War 2 Žabljak was burnt right to its foundations. After the war, Žabljak rebuilt itself and has become Montenegro’s center for winter sports.
Žabljak is centre of Montenegro’s mountain tourism. The entire area of Durmitor mountain is protected as a national park, and offers great possibilities for both winter and summer mountain tourism.
The town of Žabljak has proven as an excellent base for activities such as:
Skiing – Durmitor’s snow cover lasts 120 days per year. The best slopes are Savin kuk, Štuoc and Javorovača.
Rafting – the 13 km (8.1 mi) deep Tara River canyon is the second-deepest in the world, and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Rafting on Tara River is among most the most popular tourist attractions in Montenegro.
Mountaineering – Durmitor has perfect conditions for this sport, as cliffs and slopes are abundant.
Hiking – The surrounding area of the town of Žabljak provide great hiking paths.
One of the main tourist attractions of Durmitor are 18 glacier lakes, the biggest, most beautiful and closest to Žabljak being “Crno jezero” – literally Black lake.
Durmitor’s slopes are also becoming increasingly popular among snowboarders.