Category Archives: Art and culture

risan55

Roman mosaics and 2nd-3rd century Villa Urbana in Risan

The rapid Romanisation of Risinium began after the subjugation of the Illyrians under King Gentius in 167 BC. Risinium became a typical Roman town, surrounded by walls, with a town centre – a forum in the Carina fields. Ancient tombs – necropolises – were located outside the walls, and in the southern side of town there was a residential area containing the villas of rich Risan landowners and traders. The remains of the eastern portion of a Roman urban villa were found in the early 20th century. Between 1956 and 1962 the mosaic flooring in four rooms of the villa was fully restored and conserved, and the first protective awning built. Another mosaic floor was discovered in 1972, on which conservation work was also done and a roof added.

risa2                                                                           Photo by TOKO

Partial restoration and conservation of all the walls of the villa around the central yard – the atrium – was also carried out. Roman mosaics decorate the floors of four of the five rooms in the eastern part of the villa, as well as two rooms in the western part. There are only traces of mosaic flooring in the remaining rooms. The technique used was one of large cubes of local grey and black stone, with motifs of the labrys – a double-bitted battleaxe originating from Crete. In the eastern wing of the villa a mosaic was laid displaying plant motifs, using stone cubes of varying size and colour (red, yellow, green, blue, black and white). In the middle there is a circular medallion depicting the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos, in the form of a winged boy leaning on the head of the bed. It is likely that this room was the bedroom of the villa’s owner – the dormitorium. Geometric chessboard-like patterns decorate the mosaic floor of the southern room, and beyond that there are a further two rooms with mosaics featuring geometric motifs and stylised sea life (cuttlefish and squid). It is thought that one of the corner rooms that do not have mosaics was the dining room (triclinium), with typical Roman couches.

risan                                                                              Photo by TOKO

700_Ulcinj (10)

Artistic and Archaeological Riches of Montenegro

Montenegro has a tradition of art going back to prehistory, as testified to by the archaeological finds of paintings by prehistoric man in Lipci near Risan dating to the 8th century BC. The drawing represents a deer hunt, and also features a symbol of the rising sun and others. Another drawing has been discovered on a stone tablet in the Prokletije mountains in the north of Montenegro, depicting a prehistoric man and a wolf.

The Crvena Stijena (Red Rock) site in Petrovići is around 30km from Nikšić and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. Remains from the Middle Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages have been found here, and are highly significant, testifying to the beginnings of life not just in this part of Montenegro but on the planet as a whole. For many years, local and foreign expeditions have been coming to this unique and internationally significant site. More than 26,000 items from the time of prehistoric man have been excavated here. A great many items used in everyday life have been discovered, such as for the procurement and preparation of food, but also non-utilitarian items. These include handmade stone items, snails and shells, as well as ceramic vessels.

The numerous medieval fortresses in Montenegro are an art-form in their own right. They feature Byzantine, Romanic, Gothic and Baroque construction styles, as well as stone forms and paintings. Through the ages these fortresses have played a military and feudal role, or were built as town fortifications. They are built of stone and feature surrounding walls and towers. These fascinating structures were raised in numerous coastal towns, where Illyrian, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Spanish influences predominate, such as in Bar, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Budva, Kotor, Risan, Perast, as well as in the north of Montenegro: Rijeka Crnojevića, Podgorica and the Lake Skadar area.

The National Museum at Cetinje includes: King Nikola’s Museum, the Museum of Petar II Petrovic Njegoš, the birth house of Njegoš, the Njegoš Mausoleum on Lovćen, Bishop Danilo’s Mausoleum on Orlov Krš, the Art Museum together with the Dado Đurić Contemporary Art Gallery, the Ethnographic Museum and the newly-opened Archaeological Museum and Lapidarium.

The National Museum houses collections of weapons, medals, flags, crests, stamps, photographs, as well as archaeological, numismatic, ethnographic and applied art collections. There are also the residence and the chapel raised in honour of the secular and spiritual leader, poet and philosopher Petar II Petrović Njegoš. During the 1970s the Montenegro Art Museum was known as the Art Gallery, and houses some 3,000 exhibits, including some of the most important works in contemporary Yugoslav and Montenegrin fine art.

700_Ulcinj (10)

Artistic and Archaeological Riches of Montenegro

Montenegro has a tradition of art going back to prehistory, as testified to by the archaeological finds of paintings by prehistoric man in Lipci near Risan dating to the 8th century BC. The drawing represents a deer hunt, and also features a symbol of the rising sun and others. Another drawing has been discovered on a stone tablet in the Prokletije mountains in the north of Montenegro, depicting a prehistoric man and a wolf.
The Crvena Stijena (Red Rock) site in Petrovići is around 30km from Nikšić and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. Remains from the Middle Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages have been found here, and are highly significant, testifying to the beginnings of life not just in this part of Montenegro but on the planet as a whole. For many years, local and foreign expeditions have been coming to this unique and internationally significant site. More than 26,000 items from the time of prehistoric man have been excavated here. A great many items used in everyday life have been discovered, such as for the procurement and preparation of food, but also non-utilitarian items. These include handmade stone items, snails and shells, as well as ceramic vessels.
The numerous medieval fortresses in Montenegro are an art-form in their own right. They feature Byzantine, Romanic, Gothic and Baroque construction styles, as well as stone forms and paintings. Through the ages these fortresses have played a military and feudal role, or were built as town fortifications. They are built of stone and feature surrounding walls and towers. These fascinating structures were raised in numerous coastal towns, where Illyrian, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Spanish influences predominate, such as in Bar, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Budva, Kotor, Risan, Perast, as well as in the north of Montenegro: Rijeka Crnojevića, Podgorica and the Lake Skadar area.

The National Museum at Cetinje includes: King Nikola’s Museum, the Museum of Petar II Petrovic Njegoš, the birth house of Njegoš, the Njegoš Mausoleum on Lovćen, Bishop Danilo’s Mausoleum on Orlov Krš, the Art Museum together with the Dado Đurić Contemporary Art Gallery, the Ethnographic Museum and the newly-opened Archaeological Museum and Lapidarium.
The National Museum houses collections of weapons, medals, flags, crests, stamps, photographs, as well as archaeological, numismatic, ethnographic and applied art collections. There are also the residence and the chapel raised in honour of the secular and spiritual leader, poet and philosopher Petar II Petrović Njegoš. During the 1970s the Montenegro Art Museum was known as the Art Gallery, and houses some 3,000 exhibits, including some of the most important works in contemporary Yugoslav and Montenegrin fine art.

hn

Explore the amazing Adriatic old town of Herceg Novi

The post below was originally written by Mila Bozic and published on Nov 8, 2016.

Fortress, small squares, old churches, narrow streets, exotic vegetation – all features of the town of Herceg Novi. Situated at the very entrance to one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Boka Kotorska (the Bay of Kotor), it abounds in historical and artistic heritage, unique and varied flora and day trip that are destinations surrounded by nature and suitable for visits all the year round due to the exceptionally mild, warm climate. The average annual air temperature in Herceg Novi is 16 degrees centigrade.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/1024_Herceg_Novi_Pogled_Sa_Mora_DSC0684.jpg

Whether you are coming from East or West, as you turn off the main highway into the centre of town itself, the first thing to greet you will be the magnificent Kanli Kula fortress. It is often said that the fortress, owing to its size and position, rules over the town. It dates from the 16th century, and like most of Herceg Novi is built of stone, with thick walls and towers. Kanli Kula is known across the Adriatic as a fantastic summer theatre stage, into which it was adapted in 1966. Every summer evening Kanli Kula is the venue for all kinds of concerts, film events and more besides. During the day visitors can tour the walls and enjoy the splendid view over the town for only €1 – the price of the entrance ticket. From here you can take the most beautiful photographs of the city and of the mouth of the Bay of Kotor. Descending the steps from Kanli Kula to the main town square, Nikola Đurković Square (previously called the Salt Square), our gaze alights on the Sahat or Sat Kula (the Clock Tower).

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/kW1zdZm_vyXaRHdljNwyTJRsty_7OgL24rwf01rwLScKSlQNGK-vfzYVWGI9GK7vFf4gXayRig=w1094-h615-no

The old clock at the top of the tower long withstood the rigours of time, only being replaced in 1995 with a new, electric one, and has always been one of the hallmarks of Herceg Novi. Built in 1667 during the time of Turkish rule, this tower, with steps running through it, is unusually positioned, and this fascinating structure has served as the main entrance to the town ever since it was built. The square is home to numerous cafes, banks, clothes stores and bookshops. Nearby is also the town market, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables every day, mostly home-grown, as well as freshly caught fish from local fisherman.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/2oGVLw1qQJpZPlLZ2yuxpi9TS6eyMnk4GB6XlGmPXJsJNbO8xF-bUtv_VGfH1kp6AvqUNwrYoQ=w1094-h615-no

As soon as we get to the bottom of the steps from the main square, through the Clock Tower, we come across a second Old Town square called Belavista, meaning “beautiful view”. Belavista Square is dominated by the Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Michael, unique for its stone iconostasis. The Old Town square is a jewel of architecture. The water fountain in the centre of the Belavista Square was recently reconstructed and is a real attraction for tourists.

https://www.montenegro.com/ic/c4/stories/com_city/herceg_novi/v/320_IST_2790_Herceg_Novi_Stari_Grad_0002.jpg

You can get down to the town promenade and beaches via any number of narrow passageways and steps. One of the most interesting is the passageway from Belavista  Square through Marka Cara Street (named after the writer) and the Catholic churches of St. Jerome’s (with its rich treasure-store) and St. Leopold Mandić’s. In this street lives a veritable dinosaur among trees – a Gingko biloba that has found its place amongst the numerous palms and seaside plant life.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1rG1naohnTtew0ROvNmKsNaHeJb7XJrfTbsfkGxTApzf4PhuXJ5ZxOMuYsj1qDqNua1u6utGZA=w1094-h615-no

This passageway will also take you to the 15th century Forte Mare fortress by way of a symbolic little bridge that connects the fortress with the Old Town. Built on a rock, it rises steeply above the shore itself, towering over the Town Beach and the harbour (the Škver). At the lower side of Forte Mare there is a door that leads from the promenade to the top of the fortress, built into the walls themselves, and the upper door is also known as the Sea Door (Porta di mare) The Forte Mare Fortress is visible from all around and, as its name suggests, is a true sea fortress. Beginning on 1st July every year, films are shown here, turning it into an open-air cinema under the starry sky – a unique experience. It can be toured between 7 am and 7 pm every day. Tickets for individual visitors are €2 and €1 per person for group visits.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/fortemare.jpg

Descending to the Pet Danica Promenade, if we look towards the eastern part of town we can see the Citadela fortress. Standing in the sea itself, connected to the town centre by its walls, this tower was built during the time of Venetian rule. The earthquake which struck Herceg Novi  in 1979 completely demolished this fortress, the old walls of which still lie in the sea.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/citadela.jpg

If you decide to head in the other direction, toward the town harbour and the open-air water polo pool, you will see the Railway Station on your right, now wonderfully renovated as a tourist facility. This was a unique railway station in view of the fact that it was built on the very shores of the sea, next to the town harbour.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/setaliste.jpg

Little-known is the fact that trains once ran in the Boka along the Pet Danica Promenade and that the main station was in Zelenika, a few kilometres along the coast . The railway was officially opened on 16th July 1901 when the first train arrived in Zelenika carrying high officials of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which ruled the Bay of Kotor at the time. The railway station building in Herceg Novi was built in 1934 thanks to the much-respected mayor of the time Mirko Komnenović. It was built of stone and reconstructed and reopened in 2005.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kaktusi-1024x576.jpg

From the terrace of the “Station” there is a view of the small marina and lighthouse, where fishing and tourist boats and yachts moor. The Škver, as it is popularly known, is the best place to rent a craft or hop on one of the small boats that take trippers to popular spots around Herceg Novi that are most easily accessed by sea. In the summer months, when the town is very busy, Rose, Mamula and Žanjice are three not-to-be missed destinations, offering natural beauty, historical sights and a relaxing atmosphere.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/rose1-768x1024.jpg

Not only is Rose a beautifully-preserved little Mediterranean village, it is also one of the oldest settlements in the region.It is mentioned as far back as the 4th century by the name of Resnium. Around Rosa, both on land and in the sea, there are some very important archaeological sites. A great many divers come here to explore underwater and to tour the old shipwrecks from times gone by that lie on the sea bed. Rosa is also home to a very well-known diving camp. Alongside the beach, where there are several restaurants, there is the old Forte Rose fortress where there is also a restaurant and tourist amenities.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mamula-1024x768.jpg

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/putujemo-1024x768.jpg

The little rocky island of Lastavica on which the Mamula fortress stands is set on the sea route to Žanjice, at the very mouth of the Bay of Kotor. Although the Mamula fortress has a dark history it is an impressive sight. It is one of a series of important fortifications (together with Arza and Prevlaka) constructed by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1853 in order to defend the mouth of the bay. It was symbolically named after the Austrian general Lazar Mamula whose idea it was to raise a fortress on the island. Its remarkable architecture makes this fortress one of the most attractive in the Adriatic. The entrance to the fortress is on the north-eastern side of the island, where there is also a drawbridge. Although difficult to access, the site should not be missed, both for a tour and for some swimming in the summer months.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/zanjice-1024x768.jpg

If we continue towards the open sea we will reach the Žanjić beach, one of the most popular in Montenegro. This beach is special because of its crystal clear sea, naturally white pebbled beaches and ancient olive groves growing right next to the beach. You can take a look inside the Church of St. John, dating back to 1881 and located in the olive groves just a few steps from the beach. There you can hear the interesting story about this church and the idyllic location that is Žanjice, or take a stroll through breathtaking natural surroundings to the nearby Mirišta beach.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/brodic-1024x768.jpg

16

Why you shoud put Great Montenego Tour on your BUCKET LIST

„Here, everyone gets a free shot. It will burn a little bit but it will kill all the germs and you’ll warm up“, our guide said and passed a small cup of Rakia known as local (and very strong) brandy. „Cheers and bottoms up!“, she said and everyone drank. It was 10:00 am.
„Now, since we followed Montenegrin tradition, we can proceed to breakfast!“, the guide added smiling while leaving the small dark smoked room where prosciutto is being made.

Just a regular morning at the oldest restaurant in Montenegro „Kod Pera pod Bukovicu“.

We started the famous Great Montenegro Tour from the office of „360 Monte“ Travel Agency. We’ve passed to the mini-bus just outside the walls of Kotor and headed to the mountains that were still blocking the sun even though it was 8:30 am.

As we started driving up the 25 curves of the Old Austro-Hungarian Road from 19th century, some travelers from the group put down their Lonely Planet books about Montenegro since it was much more interesting (and fun) listening to our guide telling all important information about this unexplored and astonishing place.

one

Sun was struggling with the huge “black mountain” Lovćen that we were about to conquer. It was so apparent how Montenegro got its name.
We stopped at 9th serpentine to capture waking town of Kotor while the stupendous cruiser with 3.000 passengers was trying to reach the port of the Old Town below us.
As we were driving higher, the cruise was getting smaller and the Bay wider and deeper.
Each bent was rising us until we reached a vintage point from 1.000 meters of altitude at 25th bend.

two

Oh my!
Everyone. Speechless.

You can hear only camera clicks.

Boka Bay with its glacial origin reveals history of fiords, showing dramatic movements of land that had intimate and at the same time the most wild and passionate encounter with deep ink blue water. At some places its depth reaches impressive 60 meters.
High elevations are definitely different appearance from other parts of Adriatic coast. When you see mountains growing up high like crazy, you’ll know you’re in Montenegro.

Even though the view was impressive enough to wake everybody up, we still needed a coffee so the tour continued through the slopes of Mt. Lovćen at Njeguši. The legendary village where the best Montenegrin prosciutto (smoked dry ham) is made. This is the place where you want to stay and take as many deep healthy breaths as possible – in a moment you feel fresh crispy air, in next, your senses will be irritated by prosciutto smell which will immediately make you crave food.

Courteous driver suddenly started shouting something that no one understands at the sheep which were blocking the road, and the inquisitive tourists (including myself) used that opportunity to capture more of the day.

three

As we reached 1.150 meters, the mini-bus stopped at the beautiful countryside house with a wide flowers-decorated terrace. It was chilly outside but pleasant.

four

10:00 am. Food time.
And free rakia shots.

 

After filling up with the energy (and big cups of coffee), the group was ready to burn the tasty ham with climbing the top of Lake peak where the mausoleum was placed.
“The sea of rocks”, as the Lovćen NP is also called, has no river or lake to discover, the road is damaged by strong melting snow in springtime, limestone shattered on sides and roots of trees sticking out from the ground. While we tried to capture this dramatic scenery from another planet surrounded with endless rocks, two elevations emerged – Štirovnik (1749 m) as the highest and Lake Peak as the following (1659 m).

six

All right,
The climbing can start!
461 step to the top – 70% of Montenegro to be seen!

Do not start without water, sunglasses and all possible cameras that you have.

From 1/3 of the way we were already amazed – the tour guide was showing enormous nature oasis Skadar Lake which spreads 70% across Montenegro and 30% in Albania.

seven

While we got to the top, everybody were breathless, but stunned.

eight

Don’t miss the story and the statue of the Peter II Petrović Njegoš, ruler of Montenegro, the tallest known man in Balkans in 19th century.
As the lovers of art and I were beaming all over with joy with viewing the masterpiece done by famous sculptor Ivan Meštović, the other people were admiring 18 kg of pure gold that was sparkling from the ceiling.

nine

On the other side of the mausoleum a narrow path guided to a rocky circle and to – THE TOP OF THE WORLD.

ten

Almost all Montenegrin land below our feet.

Spectacular.

The breeze was just to cool us down from jumping – not from the top of the mountainJ, but up to capture the famous “jumping photo” which is really unbelievable! (Your guide will show you how to do it, one second of effort and you get picture like that):

11

This adventure slow down during the ride to Cetinje where half of the bus was fully using the “nap time”.

From the steep and high elevated peak we went down to a valley where the Old Royal Capital was tucked away.

12

Grounded, colorful houses and richly decorated former embassies from 19th century were showing royal history of this place, but many of the wrecks even covered in poster were revealing turbulent events that occurred many decades and centuries ago. The story of the guide completely followed the scenery, definitely enjoyable and simplified.

13

Within its best glory – next stop was The River of Crnojević!
Many of the people said that it reminds them to Vietnam or New Zealand, but nothing similar to Europe.
Without capturing “the most popular postcard picture in Montenegro” don’t think of leaving this this place.

14

It was 15:00 pm, and as the temperature was rising, the smell of grown figs bewitched our senses and again the food was only point of interest.

 

Romantic view to the river from the restaurant “The Last Port” (symbolically called by the owner who was asaylor for 50 years) distracted us from lunch briefly, but as soon as the fish soup was at the table, we devoured it.

The food was matching location, so the main course (trout) was caught in Skadar Lake and the finest unlabeled wine was supplied from local vineyards.

15

Do not think twice when it comes to boat ride! As that is optional on the tour (with surcharge), the whole group has to decide together. When you see the river and that crazy beauty, it will be very easy to make your mind.

One hour with a swimming option if the day is too hot was just enough to see and feel all the lush vegetation rich in fish and birds flying everywhere.

16

Flock of white fat geese was staring at us as we were passing so we pointed our zoom to them. Herons were showing off proudly standing on one feet, while the cormorants were mostly careless about the tourist, rather occupied drying their wings on the sun.

http://english.blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2016/09/17.jpg

Our skipper provided some homemade vine that he made himself.
It was a blast.

18

From the peace and river heaven, the tour continued to Budva – again completely different then everything seen so far.

Budva is “Miami of Montenegro” with beautiful beaches, palm trees, fancy shops and, as our guide said, never-ending party.

19

Even the Old Town is shiny, just to match all the new construction around.
Walking tour remind us of the ancient history of this place and the giant mosaic floor from a Roman house returned us for a moment back in time.

20

Overwhelmed with Montenegrin astonishing beauty and all the new information learned we closed up the day in Budva with delicious gelato and satisfied went back to Kotor driving along with the sunset.

21

This is a post written in collaboration with the „360 Monte“ Travel Agency.

TAJNA-ĆEMOVSKOG-POLJA-1

Montenegro Wine Tour

If you love wine and want a unique holiday  then you should not miss going on one of  the wine tours on offer in Montenegro.
It is not widely known that Montenegro, apart from its beautiful seaside and mountain villages, also boasts regions that are famed for producing exceptional and world-renowned wine varieties. France, Italy and Portugal have for many years been building credibility as top tourist destinations thanks to wine tourism. The many scenic regions of our country are perfect for enjoying this type of tourism. The mild Mediterranean climate, the composition of the soil and the favorable location provide ideal conditions for cultivating vineyards and growing grapes. The best-known grape-growing areas are Crmnica, Nahije, Komani, Bjelopavlici and other wine-producing villages around Lake Skadar. Montenegrin wines are produced from various types of grape, including Krstač, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Vranac.

vlcsnap-2011-11-01-14h56m55s199

In 2010 and 2011, signage was put up and the “Wine Roads” of Montenegro were fully marked out. A tourist map of the wine tours can be picked up in local tourist offices in any town in Montenegro, at hotel receptions and in travel agencies. If you like an active holiday, the Wine Roads offer you a chance to visit wine cellars, taste wines, walk through the vineyards and even take part in grape-picking. Wine can be tested, tried and purchased in wine cellars, while some wineries also offer accommodation, so visitors can get the complete experience, learn about the history of the winery, see wine being made and of course enjoy the finished product.

hn

Explore the amazing Adriatic old town of Herceg Novi

Fortress, small squares, old churches, narrow streets, exotic vegetation – all features of the town of Herceg Novi. Situated at the very entrance to one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Boka Kotorska (the Bay of Kotor), it abounds in historical and artistic heritage, unique and varied flora and day trip that are destinations surrounded by nature and suitable for visits all the year round due to the exceptionally mild, warm climate. The average annual air temperature in Herceg Novi is 16 degrees centigrade.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/1024_Herceg_Novi_Pogled_Sa_Mora_DSC0684.jpg

Whether you are coming from East or West, as you turn off the main highway into the centre of town itself, the first thing to greet you will be the magnificent Kanli Kula fortress. It is often said that the fortress, owing to its size and position, rules over the town. It dates from the 16th century, and like most of Herceg Novi is built of stone, with thick walls and towers. Kanli Kula is known across the Adriatic as a fantastic summer theatre stage, into which it was adapted in 1966. Every summer evening Kanli Kula is the venue for all kinds of concerts, film events and more besides. During the day visitors can tour the walls and enjoy the splendid view over the town for only €1 – the price of the entrance ticket. From here you can take the most beautiful photographs of the city and of the mouth of the Bay of Kotor. Descending the steps from Kanli Kula to the main town square, Nikola Đurković Square (previously called the Salt Square), our gaze alights on the Sahat or Sat Kula (the Clock Tower).

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/kW1zdZm_vyXaRHdljNwyTJRsty_7OgL24rwf01rwLScKSlQNGK-vfzYVWGI9GK7vFf4gXayRig=w1094-h615-no

The old clock at the top of the tower long withstood the rigours of time, only being replaced in 1995 with a new, electric one, and has always been one of the hallmarks of Herceg Novi. Built in 1667 during the time of Turkish rule, this tower, with steps running through it, is unusually positioned, and this fascinating structure has served as the main entrance to the town ever since it was built. The square is home to numerous cafes, banks, clothes stores and bookshops. Nearby is also the town market, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables every day, mostly home-grown, as well as freshly caught fish from local fisherman.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/2oGVLw1qQJpZPlLZ2yuxpi9TS6eyMnk4GB6XlGmPXJsJNbO8xF-bUtv_VGfH1kp6AvqUNwrYoQ=w1094-h615-no

As soon as we get to the bottom of the steps from the main square, through the Clock Tower, we come across a second Old Town square called Belavista, meaning “beautiful view”. Belavista Square is dominated by the Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Michael, unique for its stone iconostasis. The Old Town square is a jewel of architecture. The water fountain in the centre of the Belavista Square was recently reconstructed and is a real attraction for tourists.

https://www.montenegro.com/ic/c4/stories/com_city/herceg_novi/v/320_IST_2790_Herceg_Novi_Stari_Grad_0002.jpg

You can get down to the town promenade and beaches via any number of narrow passageways and steps. One of the most interesting is the passageway from Belavista  Square through Marka Cara Street (named after the writer) and the Catholic churches of St. Jerome’s (with its rich treasure-store) and St. Leopold Mandić’s. In this street lives a veritable dinosaur among trees – a Gingko biloba that has found its place amongst the numerous palms and seaside plant life.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/1rG1naohnTtew0ROvNmKsNaHeJb7XJrfTbsfkGxTApzf4PhuXJ5ZxOMuYsj1qDqNua1u6utGZA=w1094-h615-no

This passageway will also take you to the 15th century Forte Mare fortress by way of a symbolic little bridge that connects the fortress with the Old Town. Built on a rock, it rises steeply above the shore itself, towering over the Town Beach and the harbour (the Škver). At the lower side of Forte Mare there is a door that leads from the promenade to the top of the fortress, built into the walls themselves, and the upper door is also known as the Sea Door (Porta di mare) The Forte Mare Fortress is visible from all around and, as its name suggests, is a true sea fortress. Beginning on 1st July every year, films are shown here, turning it into an open-air cinema under the starry sky – a unique experience. It can be toured between 7 am and 7 pm every day. Tickets for individual visitors are €2 and €1 per person for group visits.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/fortemare.jpg

Descending to the Pet Danica Promenade, if we look towards the eastern part of town we can see the Citadela fortress. Standing in the sea itself, connected to the town centre by its walls, this tower was built during the time of Venetian rule. The earthquake which struck Herceg Novi  in 1979 completely demolished this fortress, the old walls of which still lie in the sea.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/citadela.jpg

If you decide to head in the other direction, toward the town harbour and the open-air water polo pool, you will see the Railway Station on your right, now wonderfully renovated as a tourist facility. This was a unique railway station in view of the fact that it was built on the very shores of the sea, next to the town harbour.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/setaliste.jpg

Little-known is the fact that trains once ran in the Boka along the Pet Danica Promenade and that the main station was in Zelenika, a few kilometres along the coast . The railway was officially opened on 16th July 1901 when the first train arrived in Zelenika carrying high officials of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which ruled the Bay of Kotor at the time. The railway station building in Herceg Novi was built in 1934 thanks to the much-respected mayor of the time Mirko Komnenović. It was built of stone and reconstructed and reopened in 2005.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kaktusi-1024x576.jpg

From the terrace of the “Station” there is a view of the small marina and lighthouse, where fishing and tourist boats and yachts moor. The Škver, as it is popularly known, is the best place to rent a craft or hop on one of the small boats that take trippers to popular spots around Herceg Novi that are most easily accessed by sea. In the summer months, when the town is very busy, Rose, Mamula and Žanjice are three not-to-be missed destinations, offering natural beauty, historical sights and a relaxing atmosphere.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/rose1-768x1024.jpg

Not only is Rose a beautifully-preserved little Mediterranean village, it is also one of the oldest settlements in the region.It is mentioned as far back as the 4th century by the name of Resnium. Around Rosa, both on land and in the sea, there are some very important archaeological sites. A great many divers come here to explore underwater and to tour the old shipwrecks from times gone by that lie on the sea bed. Rosa is also home to a very well-known diving camp. Alongside the beach, where there are several restaurants, there is the old Forte Rose fortress where there is also a restaurant and tourist amenities.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mamula-1024x768.jpg

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/putujemo-1024x768.jpg

The little rocky island of Lastavica on which the Mamula fortress stands is set on the sea route to Žanjice, at the very mouth of the Bay of Kotor. Although the Mamula fortress has a dark history it is an impressive sight. It is one of a series of important fortifications (together with Arza and Prevlaka) constructed by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1853 in order to defend the mouth of the bay. It was symbolically named after the Austrian general Lazar Mamula whose idea it was to raise a fortress on the island. Its remarkable architecture makes this fortress one of the most attractive in the Adriatic. The entrance to the fortress is on the north-eastern side of the island, where there is also a drawbridge. Although difficult to access, the site should not be missed, both for a tour and for some swimming in the summer months.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/zanjice-1024x768.jpg

If we continue towards the open sea we will reach the Žanjić beach, one of the most popular in Montenegro. This beach is special because of its crystal clear sea, naturally white pebbled beaches and ancient olive groves growing right next to the beach. You can take a look inside the Church of St. John, dating back to 1881 and located in the olive groves just a few steps from the beach. There you can hear the interesting story about this church and the idyllic location that is Žanjice, or take a stroll through breathtaking natural surroundings to the nearby Mirišta beach.

http://blog.montenegro.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/brodic-1024x768.jpg

 

risan55

Roman mosaics and 2nd-3rd century Villa Urbana in Risan

The rapid Romanisation of Risinium began after the subjugation of the Illyrians under King Gentius in 167 BC. Risinium became a typical Roman town, surrounded by walls, with a town centre – a forum in the Carina fields. Ancient tombs – necropolises – were located outside the walls, and in the southern side of town there was a residential area containing the villas of rich Risan landowners and traders. The remains of the eastern portion of a Roman urban villa were found in the early 20th century. Between 1956 and 1962 the mosaic flooring in four rooms of the villa was fully restored and conserved, and the first protective awning built. Another mosaic floor was discovered in 1972, on which conservation work was also done and a roof added.

risa2                                                                                 Photo by TOKO

Partial restoration and conservation of all the walls of the villa around the central yard – the atrium – was also carried out.
Roman mosaics decorate the floors of four of the five rooms in the eastern part of the villa, as well as two rooms in the western part. There are only traces of mosaic flooring in the remaining rooms. The technique used was one of large cubes of local grey and black stone, with motifs of the labrys – a double-bitted battleaxe originating from Crete. In the eastern wing of the villa a mosaic was laid displaying plant motifs, using stone cubes of varying size and colour (red, yellow, green, blue, black and white). In the middle there is a circular medallion depicting the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos, in the form of a winged boy leaning on the head of the bed. It is likely that this room was the bedroom of the villa’s owner – the dormitorium. Geometric chessboard-like patterns decorate the mosaic floor of the southern room, and beyond that there are a further two rooms with mosaics featuring geometric motifs and stylised sea life (cuttlefish and squid). It is thought that one of the corner rooms that do not have mosaics was the dining room (triclinium), with typical Roman couches.

risan                                                                                  Photo by TOKO

16

Why you shoud put Great Montenego Tour on your BUCKET LIST

„Here, everyone gets a free shot. It will burn a little bit but it will kill all the germs and you’ll warm up“, our guide said and passed a small cup of Rakia known as local (and very strong) brandy. „Cheers and bottoms up!“, she said and everyone drank. It was 10:00 am.
„Now, since we followed Montenegrin tradition, we can proceed to breakfast!“, the guide added smiling while leaving the small dark smoked room where prosciutto is being made.

Just a regular morning at the oldest restaurant in Montenegro „Kod Pera pod Bukovicu“.

We started the famous Great Montenegro Tour from the office of „360 Monte“ Travel Agency. We’ve passed to the mini-bus just outside the walls of Kotor and headed to the mountains that were still blocking the sun even though it was 8:30 am.

As we started driving up the 25 curves of the Old Austro-Hungarian Road from 19th century, some travelers from the group put down their Lonely Planet books about Montenegro since it was much more interesting (and fun) listening to our guide telling all important information about this unexplored and astonishing place.

one

Sun was struggling with the huge “black mountain” Lovćen that we were about to conquer. It was so apparent how Montenegro got its name.
We stopped at 9th serpentine to capture waking town of Kotor while the stupendous cruiser with 3.000 passengers was trying to reach the port of the Old Town below us.
As we were driving higher, the cruise was getting smaller and the Bay wider and deeper.
Each bent was rising us until we reached a vintage point from 1.000 meters of altitude at 25th bend.

two

Oh my!
Everyone. Speechless.

You can hear only camera clicks.

Boka Bay with its glacial origin reveals history of fiords, showing dramatic movements of land that had intimate and at the same time the most wild and passionate encounter with deep ink blue water. At some places its depth reaches impressive 60 meters.
High elevations are definitely different appearance from other parts of Adriatic coast. When you see mountains growing up high like crazy, you’ll know you’re in Montenegro.

Even though the view was impressive enough to wake everybody up, we still needed a coffee so the tour continued through the slopes of Mt. Lovćen at Njeguši. The legendary village where the best Montenegrin prosciutto (smoked dry ham) is made. This is the place where you want to stay and take as many deep healthy breaths as possible – in a moment you feel fresh crispy air, in next, your senses will be irritated by prosciutto smell which will immediately make you crave food.

Courteous driver suddenly started shouting something that no one understands at the sheep which were blocking the road, and the inquisitive tourists (including myself) used that opportunity to capture more of the day.

three

As we reached 1.150 meters, the mini-bus stopped at the beautiful countryside house with a wide flowers-decorated terrace. It was chilly outside but pleasant.

four

10:00 am. Food time.
And free rakia shots.

 

After filling up with the energy (and big cups of coffee), the group was ready to burn the tasty ham with climbing the top of Lake peak where the mausoleum was placed.
“The sea of rocks”, as the Lovćen NP is also called, has no river or lake to discover, the road is damaged by strong melting snow in springtime, limestone shattered on sides and roots of trees sticking out from the ground. While we tried to capture this dramatic scenery from another planet surrounded with endless rocks, two elevations emerged – Štirovnik (1749 m) as the highest and Lake Peak as the following (1659 m).

six

All right,
The climbing can start!
461 step to the top – 70% of Montenegro to be seen!

Do not start without water, sunglasses and all possible cameras that you have.

From 1/3 of the way we were already amazed – the tour guide was showing enormous nature oasis Skadar Lake which spreads 70% across Montenegro and 30% in Albania.

seven

While we got to the top, everybody were breathless, but stunned.

eight

Don’t miss the story and the statue of the Peter II Petrović Njegoš, ruler of Montenegro, the tallest known man in Balkans in 19th century.
As the lovers of art and I were beaming all over with joy with viewing the masterpiece done by famous sculptor Ivan Meštović, the other people were admiring 18 kg of pure gold that was sparkling from the ceiling.

nine

On the other side of the mausoleum a narrow path guided to a rocky circle and to – THE TOP OF THE WORLD.

ten

Almost all Montenegrin land below our feet.

Spectacular.

The breeze was just to cool us down from jumping – not from the top of the mountainJ, but up to capture the famous “jumping photo” which is really unbelievable! (Your guide will show you how to do it, one second of effort and you get picture like that):

11

This adventure slow down during the ride to Cetinje where half of the bus was fully using the “nap time”.

From the steep and high elevated peak we went down to a valley where the Old Royal Capital was tucked away.

12

Grounded, colorful houses and richly decorated former embassies from 19th century were showing royal history of this place, but many of the wrecks even covered in poster were revealing turbulent events that occurred many decades and centuries ago. The story of the guide completely followed the scenery, definitely enjoyable and simplified.

13

Within its best glory – next stop was The River of Crnojević!
Many of the people said that it reminds them to Vietnam or New Zealand, but nothing similar to Europe.
Without capturing “the most popular postcard picture in Montenegro” don’t think of leaving this this place.
14

It was 15:00 pm, and as the temperature was rising, the smell of grown figs bewitched our senses and again the food was only point of interest.

 

Romantic view to the river from the restaurant “The Last Port” (symbolically called by the owner who was asaylor for 50 years) distracted us from lunch briefly, but as soon as the fish soup was at the table, we devoured it.

The food was matching location, so the main course (trout) was caught in Skadar Lake and the finest unlabeled wine was supplied from local vineyards.

15

Do not think twice when it comes to boat ride! As that is optional on the tour (with surcharge), the whole group has to decide together. When you see the river and that crazy beauty, it will be very easy to make your mind.

One hour with a swimming option if the day is too hot was just enough to see and feel all the lush vegetation rich in fish and birds flying everywhere.

16

Flock of white fat geese was staring at us as we were passing so we pointed our zoom to them. Herons were showing off proudly standing on one feet, while the cormorants were mostly careless about the tourist, rather occupied drying their wings on the sun.

17

Our skipper provided some homemade vine that he made himself.
It was a blast.

18

From the peace and river heaven, the tour continued to Budva – again completely different then everything seen so far.

Budva is “Miami of Montenegro” with beautiful beaches, palm trees, fancy shops and, as our guide said, never-ending party.

19

Even the Old Town is shiny, just to match all the new construction around.
Walking tour remind us of the ancient history of this place and the giant mosaic floor from a Roman house returned us for a moment back in time.

20

Overwhelmed with Montenegrin astonishing beauty and all the new information learned we closed up the day in Budva with delicious gelato and satisfied went back to Kotor driving along with the sunset.

21

This is a post written in collaboration with the „360 Monte“ Travel Agency.

700_Ulcinj (10)

Artistic and Archaeological Riches of Montenegro

Montenegro has a tradition of art going back to prehistory, as testified to by the archaeological finds of paintings by prehistoric man in Lipci near Risan dating to the 8th century BC. The drawing represents a deer hunt, and also features a symbol of the rising sun and others. Another drawing has been discovered on a stone tablet in the Prokletije mountains in the north of Montenegro, depicting a prehistoric man and a wolf.
The Crvena Stijena (Red Rock) site in Petrovići is around 30km from Nikšić and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. Remains from the Middle Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages have been found here, and are highly significant, testifying to the beginnings of life not just in this part of Montenegro but on the planet as a whole. For many years, local and foreign expeditions have been coming to this unique and internationally significant site. More than 26,000 items from the time of prehistoric man have been excavated here. A great many items used in everyday life have been discovered, such as for the procurement and preparation of food, but also non-utilitarian items. These include handmade stone items, snails and shells, as well as ceramic vessels.
The numerous medieval fortresses in Montenegro are an art-form in their own right. They feature Byzantine, Romanic, Gothic and Baroque construction styles, as well as stone forms and paintings. Through the ages these fortresses have played a military and feudal role, or were built as town fortifications. They are built of stone and feature surrounding walls and towers. These fascinating structures were raised in numerous coastal towns, where Illyrian, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Spanish influences predominate, such as in Bar, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Budva, Kotor, Risan, Perast, as well as in the north of Montenegro: Rijeka Crnojevića, Podgorica and the Lake Skadar area.

The National Museum at Cetinje includes: King Nikola’s Museum, the Museum of Petar II Petrovic Njegoš, the birth house of Njegoš, the Njegoš Mausoleum on Lovćen, Bishop Danilo’s Mausoleum on Orlov Krš, the Art Museum together with the Dado Đurić Contemporary Art Gallery, the Ethnographic Museum and the newly-opened Archaeological Museum and Lapidarium.
The National Museum houses collections of weapons, medals, flags, crests, stamps, photographs, as well as archaeological, numismatic, ethnographic and applied art collections. There are also the residence and the chapel raised in honour of the secular and spiritual leader, poet and philosopher Petar II Petrović Njegoš. During the 1970s the Montenegro Art Museum was known as the Art Gallery, and houses some 3,000 exhibits, including some of the most important works in contemporary Yugoslav and Montenegrin fine art.