Not far from Podgorica, at the junction of the rivers Moraca and Zeta, lie the remains of the once famous Dioclea or Dukla, as it is locally called. The town is of Roman origin, and was surrounded by a complete moat, which the Romans formed by digging a channel between the rivers. It must have been a place of immense strength in the olden days, but successive generations of warfare, which raged so pitilessly in this district, have levelled it to the ground, and to-day little or nothing can be seen from the adjoining roadway. On approaching there is also very little to be seen, here and there a wall, and small fragments of mosaic floors. Coins and other relics are still found in large quantities, and it seems a pity that excavation, which could do so much, has been only carried on in a very halting and desultory manner. Legend and history relate that the famous Roman Emperor Diocletian was born here, and gave his name to the town. The district of Dioclea, which was one of the seven confederate Serb states formed by Heraclius to repel the attacks of the Avars, is in reality the germ of modern Montenegro.
Achmet Uiko tells his story—Sokol Baco, ex-Albanian chief—Shooting on the Lake of Scutari—Our journey thither—Our frustrated nap—Arrival at the chapel—The island of Vranjina—The priest—Fishing and fishermen—Our visitors—We return to Podgorica.
One market day, walking through the streets of Podgorica, we overheard a strange conversation. A Montenegrin Turk was sitting on a stone, when two Albanians approached him. Touching his revolver, one of the Albanians said—
“Sooner than own the whole of Montenegro, would I empty this into thy body.”
The Turk, a small man, with slightly grey hair, looked up, and said indifferently—
“And thy desire is mine.”
So they separated.
Almost immediately an acquaintance joined us, and we asked him the meaning.
“That man,” said he, “is the famous Achmet Uiko. A terrible man, who has killed many men, and at the present moment there is an enormous sum of money on his head in Albania.”
We then went to him, and asked him to come to our hotel to-morrow, and to tell us the story of his life. He consented readily, saying that he would be with us at nine next morning, “if,” he added significantly, “nothing occurred to detain him.”
It happened that evening that an Englishman arrived on a short tour through the country, believing firmly that everything was as safe and as orderly as the average stranger thinks. A Turkish girl had been abducted from her home shortly before, and the town was in a state of great excitement, as it was the second case within the last few weeks. A rising of the Turkish inhabitants was feared nightly, and the house where the girl was confined—previous to her marriage with her Montenegrin lover—was carefully guarded by a score of armed Montenegrins.