Montenegro is a land of differences which go together perfectly. It will be clear to you that people of various faiths and cultures live in Montenegro when you see in the same town Orthodox monasteries, Catholic cathedrals, and minarets. Harmony and belonging are a particular mark of this area. Ostrog Monastery in Danilovgrad, St Tryphon’s Cathedral in Kotor, Hussein Pasha’s Mosque in Pljevlja, and numerous other buildings bear testimony to the fact that living side by side is possible.
When you head towards Cetinje it is important to know right away that this is a special Montenegrin story. A museum city, the city of rulers, history, art, culture, and the city of the royal family. Today it is a royal capital which stubbornly preserves its authenticity and tradition. Here everything remains almost untouched since the time when the Petrović royal family walked through its streets. When you visit Eagle Rock, Cetinje Monastery, King Nikola’s Palace, the Billiard Room, Njegoš’s mausoleum on Mt. Lovćen… it will be clear to you just why Cetinje was selected to be the place of royalty. In the city under Lovćen three great Christian holy relics are preserved: the icon of Our Lady of Philermos, the hand of St John the Baptist, and a fragment of the Holy Cross. And this is only a part of what is kept in Cetinje…
These stone grave markers are under UNESCO protection and for centuries have testified to times very little is known about, and which carry a large dose of mystique. They are best preserved in Durmitor and you will find them in Bare Žugića, Novakovići, and Rudinice, but you can also find them if you go to areas of Piva in Plužine. This cultural phenomenon, which is linked not only to Montenegro but also to the neighbouring countries, is becoming more and more interesting to archaeologists the world over.
Can you wander back in your imagination to the age when Romans ruled the area of Montenegro? To do this it is only necessary to visit the oldest settlement on the Boka Kotorska – Risan, which hides a real archaeological treat – an architectural monument roughly two thousand years old. Here there is an entire complex of ruins of a Roman villa urbana from the 2nd century AD.
Only 3 km from Podgorica is located the ancient city of Doklea which was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. According to legend, the Roman emperor Diocletian was also born here. The ruins of many facilities, constructions and buildings are preserved here, and the archaeological excavations in the area of the ancient settlement are one of the main tourist attractions and subjects of scientific interest.
To be in Nikšić and in Montenegro in general and not visit the most significant prehistorical locality Red Rock is a real pity. This is potentially one of Europe’s most important archaeological sites. Here life began around 200,000 years ago. This cave was home to a prehistorical population, offering them safety from bad weather and other dangers. Today, the traces of the people who once lived here offer valuable information about the history of the Balkans and also of Europe.
During the 13th and 14th centuries, Brskovo was one of the most developed and most significant mining cities in the region, and at one time also a royal palace. Today the town of Mojkovac is here, which preserves the ruins of towers, excavations of old walls, and enormous archaeological potential which is yet to be researched.
In the vicinity of Bijelo Polje, history preserves a story of multiethnicity and tolerance. This story is told by two tombstones in the Vraneš Valley, which testify to the love between one Pava and Ahmet-pasha. On one is a cross, on the other a crescent, and together they send a message about the essential values of civilisation.
In the extreme north, in the place called Komina, near Pljevlja, are the ruins of yet another Roman town. The yet-to-be-researched necropolis of this puzzling archaeological locality is one of the most important ancient sites in Montenegro. It is believed that in the 2nd century AD this necropolis grew into a town in which Illyrians and Romans lived.