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Budva is the metropolis of Montenegrin tourism thanks to the great number of beaches that make this a most desirable tourist destination. Apart from its natural beauty, its bay islands and beaches for example, Budva is rich in historic monuments. The Old town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of culture heritage. Crossed with narrow streets and squares are famous buildings, the Church Sv. Trojica, housing the tomb of the exquisite writer Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa, the Churches of Sv. Ivan, Sv. Bogorodica and Sv. Sava. During the summer months it turns into a City Theatre with numerous local performances and shows from abroad. In the Stari Grad (Old town) you can also visit many shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries. Monasteries Stanjevici, Podostrog, Rezevici and Gradiste are important historic and religious monuments of Budva.
Situated in the fields of Cetinje (pron: tze-tee-nyeh), at the base of the Lovcen mountain, Cetinje is a treasure of Montenegrin cultural and historical heritage. Its architecture from 18th and 19th century that comes from rich greenery of this small city, gives it a special pleasant feel. Cetinje was the capital of Montenegro during King Nikola’s reign and many embassies were built that give it today’s specific look. 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 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 with museums, as well as the Art Academy, parks and from Orlov Krs there is great view of the city and the mountain of Lovcen.
HERCEG NOVI (Montenegro)
Herceg Novi is recognizable by the abundance of mimosa trees and its numerous flights of stairs. It is a ‘city of the sun’, thanks to the large number of sunny days all year round. The centre of Herceg Novi is Stari Grad decorated by buildings dating back to the Ottoman ruling. Sahat – Kula (clock-toer) built in 1667 and Kanli – Kula in1483, fortress Spanjola (1538) and fortress Forte Mare (1687) are only a part of the cultural heritage of this charming town. Full of thick greenery, Herceg Novi hides numerous varieties of tropical and sub-tropical flowers. Towards the end of January the town becomes scented with the subtle fragrance of yellow and green mimosas and the festival of mimosas (Praznik Mimosa) is dedicated to this flower. During the summer months many festivals are organized to further enrich the tourist offer of this enchanted town.
Kolasin (pron: ko-la-shin) is city founded by Turks in 17th century. The restless Rivers Tara and Moraca stream along it and is surrounded by mountains. Sinjajevina, Bjelasica, Kljuc and Vucje embraced this little city. Kolasin is located at 954 m (3,130 ft) of altitude and offers excellent vacation in winter as well as in the summer. Because of altitude and favorable clime Kolasin is considered and air spa. A special attraction for tourists represents the Biogradsko Lake located in National park “Biogradska gora” which is one of three preserved virgin forest of Europe. The Biogradsko Lake is at 1094 m (3,588 ft) of altitude with walking paths around it.
Kotor is the largest town in Bay of Kotor being the biggest (and the only) the most southern fjord in Southern Europe. The town of rich cultural tradition, and one of the best preserved mediaeval urban areas of this part of the Mediterranean. Like the rest of Meditarranean, this was once part of mighty Roman Empaire and Venice also had a big influence on this town. Kotor town and walls that protect it were built gradually from the 9th to the 18th century. The walls are approximately 4.5 km (3 mi) long, with the height in parts reaching 20m (65ft), and 2-15m (6-50ft) wide. At 260m (852 ft) above sea level, there is St. John’s Hill (San Giovanni) with the fortress of the same name.
The town fortress can be accessed through one of two entrances. The first is located near St. Mary’s Church, and the second one is on “Pjaca od Salate” (Salad Square). Both routes meet and lead to the 15th century Church of Our Lady of Health (Madonna della Salute). From here, the path leads to the smaller fortress, from where it is possible to continue all the way up to St. John’s Fortress.
Main town can be entered through three gates. The biggest one is the Western Gate, which once could be accessed only from the sea. The present-day appearance of the gate dates back to year 1,555. It was built during the time of the Venetian prince Bernardo Renier, in the Renaissance-Baroque style which is testified to by the column and the arch made according to the “Bugnato” technique. The gate is surrounded with massive stone blocks, next to which are stone columns also consisting of massive stone blocks. Apart from this one, there are also the Southern, the oldest (10th century) and the Northern Gates.
Podgorica is the official commercial and cultural centre of Montenegro. The name originates in 1326 and it is built amongst five rivers, the Zeta, Moraca, Ribnica, Cijevna and Sitnica. Most of the city was destroyed during WW II, so Podgorica is relatively new, with modern buildings at every step of the way and green spaces as well as parks. Podgorica hosts a number of cultural events and there are many theatres, such as Crnogorsko Narodno, Gradsko and Dodest. Further cultural and historic monuments in and around Podgorica are Sahat-kula Adzi-pasa Osmanagica, the ruins of Nemanjica Grad, remnants of the city of Doclea, Stara Varos, and Vezirov. Podgorica has excellent transit connections with other centres.
During the Comunist Yugoslavia, this was Titograd (TGD). Today Podgorica is the capital of new budding democracy of small enclave of Montenegro with very diverse geographical layout, from Mediterranean Sea to high mountains covered with snow most of the year and canyons deep almost as Grand Canyon.
The Ottoman capture of Podgorica in 1474 interrupted its economic, cultural and artistic development. Podgorica became a kaza of the Sanjak of Scutari in 1479. The Ottomans built a large fortress in Podgorica, and the existing settlement, with its highly developed merchant connections, became the main Ottoman defensive and attacking bastion in the region. At the beginning of 1474 there were informations about intention of Ottoman sultan to rebuild Podgorica and Baleč and settle them with 5,000 Muslim families (most of Slav or Albanian origin) in order to establish an additional obstacle for cooperation of Principality of Zeta and Venetian Shkodër. The fortified city, with towers, gates and defensive ramparts, enabled the Ottomans to resist all attacks. In 1864, Podgorica became a kaza of the Scutari Vilayet called Böğürtlen ‘blackberry’. It was also known as Burguriçe in Albanian.
The Berlin Congress in 1878 annexed Podgorica to Montenegro, marking the end of four centuries of Ottoman rule, and the beginning of a new era in the development of Podgorica and Montenegro. The city developed quickly and became a strong marketplace. The first forms of capital concentration were seen. In 1904, Zetska savings bank, the first significant financial institution, was formed. It would soon grow into Podgorička bank. Roads were built to all neighbouring towns and, in 1902, a tobacco plant became Podgorica’s first significant commercial company.
World War I marked the end of dynamic development for Podgorica, by then the largest city in the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Montenegro. Podgorica was occupied, as was the rest of the country, by Austria-Hungary from 1916 to 1918. After the liberation by the allies in 1918, a controversial Podgorica Assembly was held at Podgorica Tobacco Monopoly building. The assembly marked the end of Montenegrin statehood, as Montenegro was merged with Serbia and incorporated in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Between the two world wars, the population of Podgorica was about 13,000.
SVETI STEFAN (Montenegro)
First, it was a typical small Mediterranean fishing village on an island just off Montenegro Adriatic coast with typical Mediterranean stone houses, cottages, cobbled-stone narrow streets, small town squares and even a small church. Then, for some reasons in 1940’s the fish disappeared and became scarce and residents of Sv. Stefan slowly started moving out looking for better opportunities to survive. Soon, almost the entire island was abandoned. Finally Yugoslav government resettled the few families that were left and turned the entire island into the most unique and unusual hotel-resort. The island was eventually connected by a short and narrow land-fill causeway with mainland. Time, neglect, poor management and last Balkan war left this island resort virtually in shambles. It was shut down for several years waiting for smart investors.
The Aman Resort, world renowned and one of the most prestigious luxury resort chains, took over Sv. Stefan resort and made sizable investment to upgrade and bring this unique resort to modern, luxury standards and turned it into really classy (and expensive) resort. The new resort opened (partially) in 2012 for the first time after many years of being shut down and neglected. This island-resort with its unique history is truly beautiful and worth visiting place. Sophia Loren and her late husband Carlo Ponti used to maintain here their summer residency when they wanted to get away from it all. In 1974 this was voted as the most unique hotel in the world by the World Travel Writers Association.
Sv. Stefan Aman resort is today the most prestigious and the most luxurious small island-resort in entire Europe. Small little hoses and cottages have been converted into most luxurious accommodation and no matter which language you speak, you will be able to read street signs; they are all shown in sea life symbols; sea star, sea horse, dolphin etc. Now under Aman management, the resort is ready to accommodate and host many more celebrities. Luxury yachts and jetsetters started discovering this amazing hideaway and resort will be open year-around to accommodate new demand.
Try to have a lunch at one of their terrace restaurants.
Tivat is nestled in the heart of the Kotor Bay with its wonderful coastline and with many beautiful beaches, coves, harbors, and still largely undiscovered. Tivat has very attractive hinterland and the one of only two commercial airports (TVT)in Montenegro, the other one being the capital of Podgorica (formerly Titograd-TGD). The rich archaeological findings and cultural and historic heritage testify of its early beginnings. Diverse cultural programmes, popular festivities and sport events have become synonymous with the town.
Tivat’s importance came in 1889 when the Naval arsenal was built by Austrians, and was later used as a naval military base of the Italian Navy, the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and the Army of Montenegro. The first torpedo was built here as well. The JNA enjoyed an international reputation as a powerful, well-equipped, and well-trained force. The base was also used by Russia and Libya as the technical base for maintenance, repair and overhaul of their ships and submarines.
The new owner of the naval base, Canadian billionaire Peter Munk, announced plans in 2011 to build in Tivat a luxury marina for mega-yachts, “Porto Montenegro “, which he claims will turn the city into the “Monaco of the southern Adriatic.” The project is almost completed and yes, many luxury yeachts can be already seen in this new marina.