Balkan History. Balkan Heritage. Balkan Ethnicity. Montenegro, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Sofia, Serbia. Kosovo. Romania. Alpine Plants, Alpine Plant Hunters. Alpine Plant Hunting. Asphodel.
Rediscovering the Lost Balkans of the Nineteen-Thirties.
Discovering the Archive
Meet the Authors
Researching the Archive
The Archive Itself
The Participants.
The Photographer
Who was the photographer?
Plant Hunting & the Kew Connection
Adventures of the Travellers
Then & Now (locations). 1st Series.
1st Series
Then & Now (locations). 2nd Series.
2nd Series
Then & Now (locations), 3rd Series.
3rd Series
Then & Now (locations). 4th Series.
Unidentified Locations (1st Series)
Towns, Villages & People.
Unidentified Locations (2nd Series)
Mountains & Landscapes.
Costumes & Ethnicity
Bibliography & References
Acknowledgements & Credits
To Contact Us

Then & Now (locations). 1st Series.

N. B. To view our other "Then & Now" archive image pages, first scroll down, and then Mouseover the vertical green left hand column, and left click.

On the left: a mountain scene we now believe is in Kosovo. The location: Bjeshka e Isniqit-Roshkodoli (Irzniq Mountain). The camera view is not quite identical. In the modern view the hut is on the left as viewed from the side.
Image Credit: Mentor Haskaj.
Archive Image File Ref: 03-48.

Here we show five of the most telling images in the archive. Our travellers have unwittingly caught the abject destitution and poverty of remote Montenegran village life in 1929 (top left). Three slides, stuck together when found and almost sequential in the collection, most probably recorded on the same day, are shown in the lower sequence above. Here they record some young inhabitants of the village, and, centre, the primitive conditions inside one of the dwellings. This village is Zabljak in Durmitor, Montenegro,(see later post card image, top right), the highest situated town on the Balkans. This is entirely consistent with our travellers having to go to the then most remote areas, areas possibly still having undiscovered plant species. Top right we see a more prosperous view, although this particular postcard image is undated. Any additional photography gratefully received and acknowledged. See our: To Contact Us page.
For background reading depicting this period, may we suggest: “Bulgaria. Farm Land without a Farmhouse”. National Geographic Magazine. August 1932. Pages 185-218.
Archive Image File Refs: 01-04, 01-11, 01-12, 01-13.

Dubrovnik Croatia. To the left our c 1929 view of the Old Town from the Minceta Tower. To the right right: as seen now. Notice the identical camera position. Photo Credit: John Kelly.
Archive Image File Ref: 03-26.

To the left our archive image of the bridge at Mostar, circa 1929. The country went through a devastaing war in 1993 and the bridge, which had stood strong for 427 years, was destroyed during that period (top right). It took many years to rebuild the bridge, and it was finally achieved in 2004 (lower right image).
Archive Image File Ref: 01-21.

In this remarkable 90 year old image (left above) from the archive, June/July 1929, we can see the Visoki Decani, (Albanian: Manastiri i Deçanit), or simply Decani, a medieval Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery located near Decani, Kosovo. It was founded in the first half of the 14th century by Serbian king Stefan Decanski.
The Visoki Decani monastery is located by the Decanska Bistrica river gorge at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains, in the region of Metohija. It is located about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the town of Decani. The monastery is managed by the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Raška and Prizren. The monastery has been under the legal protection of Serbia since 1947 with a designation of Cultural Monument of Exceptional Importance. The monastery is now (right hand image) part of the World Heritage site named "Medieval Monuments in Kosovo".
Notice the tree on the left, just a sapling in 1929..! The square turreted building (possibly a bell tower?) appears to have gone.
Archive Image File Ref: 03-50.

From Chapter V1 p 60 et seq, of Hugh Roger-Smith's "Plant Hunting in Europe", we read:
"In June 1929 I joined forces with Dr. and Mrs Giuseppi, Mr. Ingwersen and Dr. Seligman in a visit to was essential to have your own car in order to see the country. From Pec we drove to Prizren, stopping on the way to visit the ancient monastry of Decani. Among the frescoes and many ornaments in the church were two enormous painted wax candles ten feet high presented to the church in 1338..not to be lighted until Serbia was freed from the foreigh yoke.
The ceremony of lighting them was carried out by King Alexander in 1924 amidst scenes of great jubilation....".
Below we show three of these 1929 images, both exterior and interior, and recorded for Dr. Roger-Smith by H. P.  Thompson during their visit to Decani.

Archive Image File Refs: 03-49, 03-51, 03-05.

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