Montenegro, Crna Gora, Black Mountain: the very name conjures up images of romance and drama – and this fascinating land doesn’t disappoint on either front.
Montenegro’s coast is quite extraordinary. Mountains jut sharply from crystal-clear waters in such a way that the word ‘looming’ is unavoidable. As if that wasn’t picturesque enough, ancient walled towns cling to the rocks and dip their feet in the water like they’re the ones on holiday. In summer the whole scene is bathed in the scent of wild herbs, conifers and Mediterranean blossoms. The word ‘magical’ is similarly impossible to avoid.
Ever since the Roman Empire split in two 1600 years ago, this land has sat on the borderline between east and west – and it’s all the more interesting for its turbulent past. The richness of its cultural history can be seen in the mosaic floors of Roman villas, flamboyantly painted Orthodox monasteries, ornate Catholic churches, the elegant minarets of mosques, and the sturdy fortresses built by the numerous powers that have fought over these lands. Then there’s the legacy of 50 years as a communist state, independent of both the Eastern Block and the West. For those with even a passing interest in European history, it’s a fascinating place.
Budva is one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic. The legend of which there are proofs in many Greek myths says that Budva was founded by Cadmos, the son of Phoenician king Agenon. He was banished from Teba and he reached this territory in ox-wagon and founded Budva. The ascent of Mediterranean cultures marked the spirit of this town which is felt even today, when Budva has become a unique tourist pearl of this part of Adriatic. As a tourist destination this town has been known for a long time – the first tourists arrived here back in 1923. Now, Budva is often called a “metropolis of tourism” because it is the most visited destination in Montenegro and one of the most visited destinations in the Adriatic. What attracts people and brings them to Budva is in the first place something that is God given, its nature, unique sunshine, sea and beaches like pearls in the bottom of mountain massifs.The great value of Budva is its cultural and historical heritage: monuments, fossils, fortifications, monasteries and churches. Ascents of great Mediterranean cultures marked the spirit of this town, and it’s felt even today, when Budva is a unique touristic pearl of this part of Adriatic sea. This town became known as a touristic destination long time ago- first tourists came here in 1923. and today it is usually called “metropolis of tourism” because it is the most visited destination in Montenegro and one of the most visited on Adriatic.
Location and size
The Riviera of Budva is 25 km long and is in the center of Montenegrin coastline, covering 122 km². There are many coves, sandy beaches, capes and islets and picturesque settlements along the very coastline which is why it is called the “Riviera of sandy beaches”. It looks at open sea, abounding in Mediterranean flora.
In the hinterland of the Riviera of Budva there is mountain Lovćen, which protects it from cold north winds and provide conditions for mild Mediterranean climate, which pleasantly impresses every visitor who comes to enjoy in the beauties of its climate.
The center of the Riviera is Budva, one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic, with its old town with records from before the 5th century of our era.
There are about forty beautiful settlements, villages in the Riviera among which is Bečići, whose beach was in 1935 in Paris proclaimed as the most beautiful beach in Europe, then Miločer – former royal residence, unique town – hotel, Sveti Stefan, Petrovac – Lastva, which is mentioned for the first time “Chronicle of Pope Dukljaninnin the 12th century. Montenegrin is official language.
Food and Wine
There is a large number of hospitality facilities of rich and variable offer: from café bars and terraces, candy shops, pizzerias to inns and restaurants of national and international type.
Beside many meals from international menu, specific meals of continental and maritime Montenegrin meals such as: pršut, cheese from oil, olives, sea fish ( San Piero, dentex, gold-fish, sea bass, barbun fish, mackerel, mullet, sardine…), crawfish and mollusks (lobster, prawn, octopus, squids), seashells(date-shell, muscles), as river and lake fish (carp, eel, trout , bleak).
All traditional meals are offered with traditional drinks: Montenegrin rakia (Prvijenac and Kruna), white vines(Krstač, Chardonnay and Sauvignon) and red vines(Vranac, Vranac Procordem, Vranac Reserve, Vranac Baroche, Merlot and Cabernet).For those who love oriental meals there is Chinese restaurants “Hong Kong” and “Shanghai” in the Old town and Japanese restaurant “Promenada” situated in hotel Splendid in Bečići.
Cetinje is situated in the fields of Cetinje, at the base of the Lovcen mountain, Cetinje is a treasure of Montenegrin cultural and historical heritage. It scent with the architecture from 18th and 19th century that comes from rich greenery of this small city. Cetinje is the capital of Montenegro and Crnogorsko – primorska Mitropolija. During King Nikola’s reign many embassies were built that give it today’s specific looks. Two of the most representative buildings are the Monasteries of Cetinje and Biljarda. Cetinje Monastery was built in 1701 and even though the Turks destroyed it several times, the people built it up again. There are relics of Saint Petar of Cetinje, one the illustrious patrons of Montenegrin history. Cetinje Monastery represents the spiritual and political seat of the Montenegrin people. For the state purpose Njegos built Biljarda, a building (monastery) that took its name after the pool (billiards) that this exceptional poet, metropolitan, philosopher and statesman liked to play. Cetinje abounds in museums, as well as the Art Academy, parks and from Orlov Krs there is great view of the city and the mountain of Lovcen.
Kotor is located along one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays is Kotor, a city of traders and famous sailors, with many stories to tell.
The Old City of Kotor is a well preserved urbanism typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor an UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”. Through the entire city the buildings are criss-crossed with narrow streets and squares. At one of them there is the Cathedral of Sveti Tripun , a monument of Roman culture and one of the most recognisable symbols of the city. Carnivals and fiestas are organised each year to give additional charm to the most beautiful city of the Montenegrin littoral
Big attraction on the Riviera of Budva is Sveti Stefan. The former fishing village situated on a peninsula became a hotel-town 50 years ago and that’s how one wonderful place, where even the most famous people like Claudia Shiffer and Sylvester Stallone like to spend their time, has been made.
According to the tradition, a fortification was built in 1442 on the island of St. Stefan and in that period people settled there. A wall was built around the fortification in order to provide protection for families from surrounding places before the Turkish and pirate’s invasion.
According to legend the settlement was established after an armed attack of Pastrovici against the Turkish crew galleys and they built a fortress from what they had confiscated with one house for each twelve Pastrovic tribes. On the balcony above the entering door in St. Stefan, court house of Pastrovici shared justice and solved disputes therefore it’s called the “place of justice”.
There are small churches in St. Stefan: St. Stefan church, after which the island got its name and it is placed at the highest part of the peninsula; the Church of Alexander Nevski, and the smallest one dedicated to the Holy Converting, is situated at the entrance to the town, which is connected with the shore by a narrow causeway.
Because of its position St. Stefan was a mercantile center of Pastrovici. It was of a big strategic and trade importance during the period of Republic of Venice and traded with Venice. It started to lose its importance at the end of 19th century when the townsfolk started to leave the town. The complete migration happened in 1955. When the peninsula was completely adapted and transformed into hotel-town. Streets, walls, roofs, house facades kept their original shape and look and the inside of them got the most contemporary hotel comfort. One of the villas, situated by the shore of the bridge that connects the island with the land, named Villa Montenegro, got a “Five Stars Diamond” price in 2006. that was given by American Academy of hotelier Sciences for top-quality service.
In the 9th century, Bar was known as Antivari/Antibari and remained under the same name, despite a change of rulership when duke Vojislav of Zeta defeated the Byzantine army in 1042. His son, Mihailo, was crowned King in 1077.
Twelve years later, in 1089, Bar became the seat of the archbishopric and the town came under Serbian rule—Stefan Nemanja of the Nemanjic dynasty, ruled until 1183. Although the name of the first archbishop is still unknown, remnants of Bar’s first cathedral, built in the 6th century, can be found near the harbor.
The most important tourist site in Bar is the Stari Bar, also known as Old Bar. Stari Bar, unlike the newer parts of the city, is not near the sea—it instead rests on a hill, where it was first erected by the Illyrians as a fortified city. Inside the Stari Bar, tourists will find the remains of the two main churches of the old city, St. Catherine (14th century) and St. Veneranda (15th century), along with the Church of St. Nikola, erected in 1288 and the massive aqueduct that supplied the town with fresh water.
But the city’s rich, cultural and architectural beauty doesn’t only come from the Nemanjic or Illryian rule. Throughout time, the city was also ruled by the Romans, the Venetians and even the Turks, who took over in 1571 and ruled for over 300 years. It was not until 1878 that the Montenegrins took control of Bar—this was the same year that Montenegro received governmental status at the Berlin Congress—and during this time, Stari Bar was nearly destroyed by accidental explosions caused by the Montenegrin army. The old city incurred furtherdamagers in the 1979 earthquake.
After control of the city transferred to the Montenegrins in 1878, the name of the city changed as well, to Pristan, or Anchorage, and the Montenegrins built the city’s first harbor. In 1976, after the railway made the connection between Belgrade and Bar, the city rose to be a true traffic hub and economic force for Montenegro.
Despite the important of Bar as a traffic hub for Montenegro, the city is anything but touristy. There are only a few attractions worth visiting in the city. The Palace of King Nikola is located on the promenade, facing the sea and was built in 1885 with a chapel and a winter garden. The palace now houses a local museum with a section devoted to the narrow gauge railway that ran from Bar to Virpazar in 1908.Renovations to the city made in the 16th century under Venetian rule, changed the entrance to the city from a large tower to a church and a relief of St. Mark’s lion that remains well preserved to this day. The Omerbašoća Mosque (1662) still stands facing the entrance alongside the Tomb of Dervish Hassan and a dry drinking foundation with Arabic inscriptions.
In the suburbs, not far from the city’s center stands an olive tree as old as Christianity itself—more than 2009 years. This olive tree symbolizes the lifeblood of Bar and both the olive tree and olive oil are symbols of Bar itself olive oil from Bar is sold at a premium price for both its quality and its taste. Olive oils from Bar are sold throughout the country, in street markets and in super markets and are extremely popular despite the price, not only because of their taste and quality but also because of the eco-friendly production process.