Montenegro is certainly one of the most interesting places in the world and one of TOP WORLD TOURIST destination (according to Lonely Planet, …).
Even though it covers solely around 14.000 km2 and it only has about 670.000 citizens, its contribution to the world cultural heritage is impressive comparing its size.
During centuries of its rich history Montenegro has survived and remained one of the brightest models for the fight for freedom, for its own existence, and a place of which people always spoke with respect. Christian, Muslim, Illyrian, Byzantine, Turkish, and Slav civilizations merged here making Montenegro forever a crossroad of culture and history.
Montenegro has changed its name many times, from the Latin era under the mane of Prevalis, to the medieval state Zeta, and then to the modern name Crna Gora (MONTENEGRO). As the name changed, so did the land, thanks to the influence of all the civilizations which for a shorter or longer period settled the territory of Montenegro, turning it into a mosaic of cultural heritage. Even today, Montenegors mosaic of cultural heritage is its most valuable aspect.
Some will say that its name, Crna Gora (MONTENEGRO), was brought by the seamen for whom from the open sea seemed cragged and dark, because immediately above the warm shores rose mountains and crags intersected with gorges. Others would say that its name was given by its enemies, because of the bad luck which would strike everyone trying to conquer it, in some long gone days. The truth lies that the country carries its name by those who made it a state – the dynasty Crnojevic. Along with the dynasty of Petrovic they have remained the founders of a modern, small but proud, country in the Mediterranean.
Montenegro is one of the oldest European states. Maybe its name, Montenegro – as it sounds in the majority of world languages, will trick you into thinking that it is a country of South America. But if you look around the European map, one will discover that Europe with its entire national, cultural, and historically – geographical diversity hides a small, but in many ways special and attractive state in it.
The old town of Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in this part of the Mediterranean. It was succeeded in preserving its original form, so typical of towns between the XII and the XIV century. The asymmetric structure of the narrow streets and squares, combined with the numerous valuable monuments of medieval architecture, contributed to Kotor being placed on UNESCO’s “The world natural and cultural inheritance” list. The cultural inheritance of this town is enriched by the unique architectural styles and the ambient atmosphere. The fortification system of Kotor, which protects it from the sea, is actually a wall 4.5 km long, 20 m high and 15 m wide, and is preserved as one of the world’s historic values.
Budva is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has around 15,000 inhabitants, and is a centre of Budva municipality. The coastal area around Budva, called the Budvanska rivijera, is the centre of Montenegro’s tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and beautiful examples of Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic sea coast.
Cetinje is the centre of Cetinje Municipality . The city nestles on a small karst plain surrounded by limestone mountains, including Mt. Lovćen, the Black Mountain from which Montenegro gets its name. Cetinje is a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the center of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin culture and an Orthodox religious center. It is because of its heritage as a long-term Montenegrin capital that it is today the honorary capital of Montenegro.
The biggest and most important monument of Lovćen national park is Petar Petrović Njegoš’s Mausoleum. The location for his burial place and the mausoleum at the summit of Jezerski vrh was chosen by Njegoš himself as his last wish. However, Njegoš’s express wish was to be buried in a small chapel which he had built in his lifetime. This was done, but the original chapel was destroyed when the Austro-Hungarian army invaded Montenegro in First World War (1916). Njegoš’s remains were then transferred into Cetinje Monastery and buried in the chapel rebuilt by King Alexander in 1920s. Contrary to Njegoš’s express wishes to be buried in that chapel, the then communist powers of Montenegro destroyed the chapel and built in its stead a monumental mausoleum in Viennese Secession style. The local Bishopric (Mitropolija) of the Serbian Orthodox Church opposed the destruction and even took the matter to the Constitutional Court, albeit with no success. The design was that of Ivan Meštrović who, although world-famous, had never set foot on Lovćen.
Lake Skadar National Park holds a record among lakes for the number of superlatives attached to it. It is not only the largest lake in the Balkans, but one of the few remaining fresh-water marshes, the last resort of pelicans and the biggest bird sanctuary in Europe. Numerous monasteries, churches and fortresses, from the past of Montenegro, look as if they stopped time on the islands where they were built. They bring back memories of those that used to live and rule this area.
The Monastery of Ostrog is a monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church sitatued Against an almost a vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroska Greda, in Montenegro. It is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, who was buried here. From the monastery, a superb view of the Bjelopavlići plain can be seen Ostrog monastery is the MOST popular pilgrimage place in Montenegro.
The National Park of Biogradska Gora is renowned as a unique geomorphological region and, as such, it is attractive for scientific research. The seat of the park is in Kolašin. The national park abounds in cultural and historic heritage consisting of sacral monuments national building and archeological localities. Numerous authentic buildings of traditional architecture are found throughout the pastures and villages next to the virgin forest reserve on the Bjelasica mountain range.
The Tara River Canyon, also known as the Tara River Gorge, is the longest canyon in Montenegro. It is 82 kilometers (51 miles) long and is 1,300 meters (4,300 feet) at its deepest, making it the deepest river canyon in Europe. The canyon is protected as a part of Durmitor National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tara River cuts through the canyon. The Tara River, at its end making confluence with Piva, becomes Drina, and is some hundred and fifty kilometres long. In its passage through the Tara National Park, the river has a mean fall of 3.6 metres/kilometre, making a host of waterfalls and cascades possible, thus creating what is known as the Montenegrin Colorado.
Đurđevića Tara Bridge, which was designed by Mijat Trojanović, was built between 1937 and 1940 in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The project’s Chief Engineer was Isaac Russo. The 365 metres long bridge has five arches; the largest span is 116 metres The roadway stands 172 metres above the Tara River. At the time of its completion, it was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe.