Category Archives: Art and culture

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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):

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Art Through Ages – Montenegro / Museum of Herceg-Novi

Pre-historical period to antiquity period – Boka region, Herceg Novi Montenegro

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In order to appreciate Montenegro’s artistic culture, one cannot refer merely to a few well-known monuments, rather, one should consider all works of art of this region and the circumstances in which they were produced and later discovered, to truly appreciate the tale of this place. At times, it is also important to consider allegorical documentation favored by the ancient Greeks when we speak about the art of this small region.

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Montenegro, is a small country, but the place has ‘old bones’ and it is one of the oldest regions known to early civilizations. If one thinks of its history, it is very difficult to define Montenegro’s geography in different historical periods since this very little region has been of interest of many imperialist powers though ages. Between many wars, Montenegro has been hit by natural disasters. As in neighboring Greece, earthquakes periodically destroyed many man maid objects of historical importance but there are still  many worth of mentioning.

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For example Locality of Malo Rose which dates from 6th to 10th century represents the beginning of the Christianity. From the church of the St. Toma in the village of Kuti and the churh in the village of Suscepan have been preserved stone decorative plastics, from 9th to 11th century, and altar stone partition – parapet plate.

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Most of Montenegro’s land is made up of Karst formations, but it is also rich in white marble, especially near places of the ancient Doclea. The second Roman manicipium is found here, which showed dedication and artistic spirit of the people that ones lived here since the grain of Montenegro’s marble is not fine and compact and it was very difficult to work with it die to its hardness, far greater that that of Pentelic or Carrera marbles that are somewhat soft and more approachable material.
For centuries, Montenegro was considered as a place that lacks material and modern riches, inaccessible for travelers, with a rigid terrain and very raw and untouched wild beauty. Its simplicity dates back in the ancient times, and has been maintained for generations and centuries. Testament to this are pure forms of several works (that people of northern villages still use) such as antique Cup with a handle and high cylindrical neck of backed clay, decorated with broad bands and orientation, displayed at the museum. This reminded me of my grandmother’s credenza full of very old backed clay dishes. However, this particular work of art found in the museum dates back to 2100-1900 B.C.

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Additionally two bowls, that have been discovered in the region, have small particles of metal, which introduces us already the next period – the early stages of the antiquity times. Objects such as small metal sharp harpoons and broken spears are seen on the dusty shelves of this tiny museum, and they have small faded Cyrillic writings below them. The alphabet itself is ancient, and even though Latin alphabet is commonly used in this region, many schools teach Cyrillic as a second alphabet to encourage new generations to stay true to its ancient roots.

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In Montenegro, the Neolithic Age, with all of its three phases such as lower, middle and upper phase, are represented by ceramic artifacts used for every day life. However, there are many more traces of Eneolithic cultures than of Neolithic ones, and this makes the evaluation of style and artistic trends more difficult.

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Some scholars believe that the decorations on Eneolithic bowls constitute of some sort of prehistoric sign system serving to identify particular races, each having their own group of symbols. One the other hand, some believe that these decorations form a part of figurative and and aesthetic language. One of the most important facts is that despite the small size of our country, one can forget to mention an enormous variety of folkloric traditions.

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The ethnological study of the dance, needlework, decorative art, costumes, jewelry, engravings, colors of the designs on terracotta bowls and, the local folk art of nearly every town, explains the large wave of migration from the north coast of the Black Sea (the Indo-European migration) which had tremendeous influence on this area. Although scientific proofs of many migrations are evident, sceentists are unable to identify a single Eneolithic “race” in Montenegro. On the basis of various facts and evidence found in the region, that there were several races. This is why historians still call Montenegro’s Eneolithic people by the generic name of “Indo-Europeans”. With that in mid, please refer to the following works of art which is a testimony of the first dwelling traces of human communities:

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One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

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Etched / engraved names with bayonets of the Russian soldiers, dating 1807 during the war with Napoleon, are decorating the authentic door on the ground floor. Later, this building gained the official title of the Regional Museum of Herceg Novi. Partial restorations of the museum occurred in 1979, 1994, 1996. and 2001.
In front of the Regional Museum there is an amazing Mediterranean and subtropical botanic garden, with more than a hundred selected plants, which are decorating park space of 1000 square meters. Many very exotic and extravagantly unique plants found its space here in this beautiful garden. Many kinds of palm trees, Agave plants, cactuses, aloes and many other plants grow in very unusual shapes and colors. During the blooming season, the blooms refine the ambiance. Here, we can find different sorts of climbing plants like Pitosporums, also the coastal Pine trees, Mimosas flower trees, Camellias, Magnolias and the fragrant and medicinal Mediterranean herbs.

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Mirko Komnenic donated his home as a foundation to the town of Herceg-Novi. In his Living Will and Testament, he wanted this building to be used in a form of town’s museum.
Mirko Komnenovic was active during the Balkan wars, he worked with propaganda and intelligence services against Austro-Hungary. Also, he was a prisoner of the Mamula Tower during the First World War. He was elected for the ambassador of Boka Kotorska in the National Parliament of the Monarchy of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in 1923. and 1925. Also , he held the president position of the community of Herceg-Novi in 1930. He became the Minister of Social Politics and the National Health in 1935.
He was honored with many medals. These are one of many: White Eagle with swords, St. Sava’s of the first and the third degree; Russian: St.Vladimir’s 4th class, St. Stanislav`s 5th class, St. Ana’s 2nd degree; with French Legion of Honor, and Czechoslovakian officer Revolutionaries` cross.
Another interesting fact that demonstrates how great this man really was is his wish that his entire earnings and proceeds should be donated to the local orphanage home to help the orphans of Herceg-Novi, regardless of their religion or ethnic background.
This Museum houses a historical, archaeological, ethnological and icon collection of art.

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.

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

 

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

 

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Art Through Ages – Montenegro / Museum of Herceg-Novi

Pre-historical period to antiquity period – Boka region, Herceg Novi Montenegro

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In order to appreciate Montenegro’s artistic culture, one cannot refer merely to a few well-known monuments, rather, one should consider all works of art of this region and the circumstances in which they were produced and later discovered, to truly appreciate the tale of this place. At times, it is also important to consider allegorical documentation favored by the ancient Greeks when we speak about the art of this small region.

muzej5

Montenegro, is a small country, but the place has ‘old bones’ and it is one of the oldest regions known to early civilizations. If one thinks of its history, it is very difficult to define Montenegro’s geography in different historical periods since this very little region has been of interest of many imperialist powers though ages. Between many wars, Montenegro has been hit by natural disasters. As in neighboring Greece, earthquakes periodically destroyed many man maid objects of historical importance but there are still  many worth of mentioning.

muzej6

For example Locality of Malo Rose which dates from 6th to 10th century represents the beginning of the Christianity. From the church of the St. Toma in the village of Kuti and the churh in the village of Suscepan have been preserved stone decorative plastics, from 9th to 11th century, and altar stone partition – parapet plate.

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Most of Montenegro’s land is made up of Karst formations, but it is also rich in white marble, especially near places of the ancient Doclea. The second Roman manicipium is found here, which showed dedication and artistic spirit of the people that ones lived here since the grain of Montenegro’s marble is not fine and compact and it was very difficult to work with it die to its hardness, far greater that that of Pentelic or Carrera marbles that are somewhat soft and more approachable material.
For centuries, Montenegro was considered as a place that lacks material and modern riches, inaccessible for travelers, with a rigid terrain and very raw and untouched wild beauty. Its simplicity dates back in the ancient times, and has been maintained for generations and centuries. Testament to this are pure forms of several works (that people of northern villages still use) such as antique Cup with a handle and high cylindrical neck of backed clay, decorated with broad bands and orientation, displayed at the museum. This reminded me of my grandmother’s credenza full of very old backed clay dishes. However, this particular work of art found in the museum dates back to 2100-1900 B.C.

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Additionally two bowls, that have been discovered in the region, have small particles of metal, which introduces us already the next period – the early stages of the antiquity times. Objects such as small metal sharp harpoons and broken spears are seen on the dusty shelves of this tiny museum, and they have small faded Cyrillic writings below them. The alphabet itself is ancient, and even though Latin alphabet is commonly used in this region, many schools teach Cyrillic as a second alphabet to encourage new generations to stay true to its ancient roots.

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In Montenegro, the Neolithic Age, with all of its three phases such as lower, middle and upper phase, are represented by ceramic artifacts used for every day life. However, there are many more traces of Eneolithic cultures than of Neolithic ones, and this makes the evaluation of style and artistic trends more difficult.

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Some scholars believe that the decorations on Eneolithic bowls constitute of some sort of prehistoric sign system serving to identify particular races, each having their own group of symbols. One the other hand, some believe that these decorations form a part of figurative and and aesthetic language. One of the most important facts is that despite the small size of our country, one can forget to mention an enormous variety of folkloric traditions.

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The ethnological study of the dance, needlework, decorative art, costumes, jewelry, engravings, colors of the designs on terracotta bowls and, the local folk art of nearly every town, explains the large wave of migration from the north coast of the Black Sea (the Indo-European migration) which had tremendeous influence on this area. Although scientific proofs of many migrations are evident, sceentists are unable to identify a single Eneolithic “race” in Montenegro. On the basis of various facts and evidence found in the region, that there were several races. This is why historians still call Montenegro’s Eneolithic people by the generic name of “Indo-Europeans”. With that in mid, please refer to the following works of art which is a testimony of the first dwelling traces of human communities:

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One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

One of those dwellings were discovered in the cave Vranjaj, under the peak Radostak near Herceg-Novi. They date from the Neolithic period (5000- 4000 BC).  More intensive populating became in Eneolith (2000 – 1700BC) and also during Bronze Age. The Bronze Age goblet with ornament from the cave Vranjaj. During the Bronze and Iron Age, burring under tumuluses was intensive – Glogovik, Vranjaj, and Djevojacke Grede.

In 1953, a home of Mirko Komnenic, is turned in the National Museum of Herceg-Novi.  It is a beautiful structure designed in the late-baroque style, and it was built in the late 18th century. Pseudo-baroque expansions and attached additions had altered the original appearance of the museum, making it look grand.

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Etched / engraved names with bayonets of the Russian soldiers, dating 1807 during the war with Napoleon, are decorating the authentic door on the ground floor. Later, this building gained the official title of the Regional Museum of Herceg Novi. Partial restorations of the museum occurred in 1979, 1994, 1996. and 2001.
In front of the Regional Museum there is an amazing Mediterranean and subtropical botanic garden, with more than a hundred selected plants, which are decorating park space of 1000 square meters. Many very exotic and extravagantly unique plants found its space here in this beautiful garden. Many kinds of palm trees, Agave plants, cactuses, aloes and many other plants grow in very unusual shapes and colors. During the blooming season, the blooms refine the ambiance. Here, we can find different sorts of climbing plants like Pitosporums, also the coastal Pine trees, Mimosas flower trees, Camellias, Magnolias and the fragrant and medicinal Mediterranean herbs.

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Mirko Komnenic donated his home as a foundation to the town of Herceg-Novi. In his Living Will and Testament, he wanted this building to be used in a form of town’s museum.
Mirko Komnenovic was active during the Balkan wars, he worked with propaganda and intelligence services against Austro-Hungary. Also, he was a prisoner of the Mamula Tower during the First World War. He was elected for the ambassador of Boka Kotorska in the National Parliament of the Monarchy of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in 1923. and 1925. Also , he held the president position of the community of Herceg-Novi in 1930. He became the Minister of Social Politics and the National Health in 1935.
He was honored with many medals. These are one of many: White Eagle with swords, St. Sava’s of the first and the third degree; Russian: St.Vladimir’s 4th class, St. Stanislav`s 5th class, St. Ana’s 2nd degree; with French Legion of Honor, and Czechoslovakian officer Revolutionaries` cross.
Another interesting fact that demonstrates how great this man really was is his wish that his entire earnings and proceeds should be donated to the local orphanage home to help the orphans of Herceg-Novi, regardless of their religion or ethnic background.
This Museum houses a historical, archaeological, ethnological and icon collection of art.

 

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24th Kotor Children’s Theatre Festival

The Festival is traditionally held the first twelve days of July in Kotor – a magical backdrop, a UNESCO World Heritage site in one of the most beautiful bays in the world. It begins with the mayor of Kotor handing the keys of the Old Town to the children and thus, symbolically, the care of the town to them. The Festival was established in 1993 just a dozen steps from the building of the Kotor theatre in which the first puppet show was held in 1829.

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It is the most important festival dedicated to the theatrical arts and to children and young people in South-Eastern Europe. It has been declared a cultural event of special significance in Montenegro and is supported by the European Union Culture Programme 2007-2013. It is held during the summer holiday season in the most beautiful locations in the Old Town.

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The walls, squares, piazzas and piazettas become stages, and the theatre brings together all the arts in the joy of creativity and the creation of joy. After 200 years it brings the theatre back to Kotor to stay. The Festival is devoted to children and young people, but also to all those who nurture the child within them. It seeks to safeguard the values of peace, tolerance, equality and education. It serves to recognise and encourage the interdisciplinary abilities of children and their contribution to the future development of society. Or to use the words of UNICEF: Today’s children: Tomorrow’s world. It encourages the professional development of children’s and youth theatre, presenting the best in puppet, dramatic and multimedia shows from Europe and the world over.

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In its 23 years, the Festival has:
– been attended by more than 350,000 people at 50 locations
– staged more than 435 theatrical performances
– taken more than 20,000 children through 750 artistic programmes
– hosted 2,700 artists from 43 countries.

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