Fortresses and ancient cities

Tivat
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It's just three kilometers from a tourist city Tivat, there is one small abandoned settlement. In as little as 50 years ago it was inhabited by the generations, who lived, loved and worked, but now just bats live there... One is terrified by the view of rotten walls, forsaken weedy houses, broken stairs and destroyed roofs. Looking for a better place for living, people left their homes and moved to more favorable places. Entering any house, one may notice that things remain on the same place, as if someone is still lives there, unless everything is terribly rotten and rusty.
Podgorica
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On the territory of Montenegro there is a huge number of historical monuments, which many conquerors left at different times. Impressions of past cultures are observed in the architecture of many ancient cities and temples of Montenegro, monuments and sculptures, in the visual arts and painting, folklore and everyday life of the local population. Currently in Montenegro there is a huge amount of archaeological excavations and large architectural complexes (about 50), the oldest defensive fortresses, as well as many sacred objects and memorial monuments of the liberation wars. We will tell you about one such valuable historical object in Montenegro in this article.  Ancient Roman city of Dioсlea.​  The Zeta Plain, which now houses the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica was inhabited in ancient times. Just 3 kilometers northwest of the modern capital, at the confluence of the Zeta and Moraca rivers was the ancient city of Dioсlea, in which, according to legend, the Roman emperor Diocletian was born. This city was founded by the Romans as far back as the 1st century AD, and it was it which later gave the name to the state on this territory - Duklja. The name was chosen only because in the local dialect "Dioсlea" is...

Bar
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Aqueduct was built in XVI century during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The construction was used to feed the town with water from the spring of Rumia mountain, as well as a bridge via the valley. The total length of aqueduct is 3 km, it consists from seventeen rider arches of different width, which are located on eighteen trumeaus made of rough-finished stones. Water came out under the pressure from the top moved along the surface of the construction through the system of ceramic pipes consisted of fragments 12cm in diameter and 30cm length. After a destructive earth quake in 1979, the aqueduct was completely destroyed. Today it is reconstructed and can be used in theory. In reality, the unique system of ceramic pipes was not preserved.
Kotor
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Town-fortress Kotor is situated in the north-west of Montenegro, not far from Croatian Dubrovnik, in the south-west part of Boka Bay, at the foot of the mountain ridge Lovcen. The Bay of Kotor (Boka Bay, Italian Bocche di Cattaro) is one of the most butted into deep of the continent part of the Adriatic Sea. It consists of a few small bays, connected with each other with rather narrow straits, making together one of the best natural harbours of Europe. Because of unique mixture of different cultures, the Old town of Kotor and fortification around it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Here you can find the traces of various epochs: the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque.   Fortress around of old town Kotor.Fortress of Kotor is a beautiful example of medieval fortification, which includes: main, massive fortified wall, 16 meters wide, 20 meters in height and length - 4.5 km, which surrounds the Old Town of Kotor and rises to the top of the hill;. stone staircase leading to the bastion of St. Roko (Sv Roko) and the Church of Our Lady of Remedy (Gospa od zdravlja); the highest point of Kotor is the strengthening of Saint Ivan (bastione di San Giovanni - "Illyrian fort") on top of the mountain. The...

Niksic
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Bedem Fortress is located in the western part of modern Niksic on the site of the old town of Upper Onogosht. The first mention of the fortress Bedem was recorded in 1518. The fortress was built by the Turks in XVIII century after the conquest of the Slavic Onogosht. The upper town was surrounded by walls, where the Ottoman administration was, while the lower part of the settlement, inhabited by artisans, was outside the fortification and had their own defense system. Fortification was divided into western and eastern parts, besides the outer castle walls, it also had six towers located at the corners of the fortress. There is an oldest part of the fort in the middle of it - Castel, which was built in the VI century in the Roman period. The central building of the bastion includes a room for the guard and a deep basement, used for the storage of ammunition. High area on the height of the fort were artillery platforms before, each of which housed 6-8 guns. The fortress was always a place of battles for the town during the many wars, the last battle at the walls of the bastion took place in 1878, when Niksic was set free by Montenegrin Prince Nikola I. Then Niksic gradually started to become urban settlement, and the need...
Bar
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Fortress Besac is located not far from Skadar lake on a small hill, near town Virpazar in Bar town-council. Fortress Besac is one of the oldest military fortification preserved at the territory of the modern Montenegro. It was built during the times of the Ottoman Empire at the second half of XX century. However some towers behind the fortress wall trace history to medieval Zeta State. In ancient times the fortress bordered Slavic and Turkish territory. That's why today it presents a significant historical value not only for Montenegro, but also for the whole Balkan peninsular. Today, the fortress is half destroyed, although it is planned to build tourist military memorial complex. It can be approached by gravel-road from auto road Podgorica-Bar.

Bar
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The fortress of Grmozur, among the inhabitants of the region of Crmnica, known as the "Snake Island" is one of the many military-historical sites that have remained since the Montenegrin-Turkish confrontation. It was built relatively late, compared to other Turkish fortresses in this region, however, it managed to play a significant role both in the military conflict itself and after its end. The fortress is located on the island of the same name Grmozúr near the village of Godinje, the municipality of Bar, in the northwestern part of Skadar Lake. The fortification was built by the Turks in 1843 after they captured neighboring fortresses - Vranjina, Lesendro and Zabljak. The erection of another Fort Grmozur allowed the Ottoman Empire to organize an extended fortified line consisting of several fortresses and extend its influence to a significant part of Skadar Lake. The fortress has an area of about 430 m² and is surrounded by stone walls 50-120 cm thick. The fortress building is divided into two parts, each of which has its own door. On the perimeter there are defensive towers. In 1878, the fortress was captured by Montenegrin troops, and in the same year, King Nicolas I ordered the establishment of a prison on a...
Sutomore
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While in Montenegro, by all means visit the dilapidated castle Haj Nehaj, which is located on the mountain of the same name. Fortress, with a funny name for the Russian language,Haj Nehaj is located in the south of the Montenegrin coast, near towns Sutomore and Bar. It is clearly visible from the main Adriatic highway, but difficult to access. The fortress stands at an altitude of 230 m above sea level, from three sides it is surrounded by impenetrable walls and high precipices, and only one, western side has a small path leading to the gates of fortification, on which in stone carved winged lion - the emblem of the Venetian Republic. True to date, it is not there any more, and it is unknown, whether it has been stolen nowadays, or it was destroyed by Turks, but the fact remains. Nowadays, tourists, who want to familiarize themselves with this monument of military architecture of the Middle Ages, also use this path. We can imagine right away what kind of roads were in Europe in the Middle Ages. The name of the fortress Haj Nehaj comes from the word "hajati" - worry, fear. That is the literal translation - "Worry - do not worry" or "Be afraid - do not be afraid." And this is due to the fact that the north-western...

Herceg Novi
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There is a lot of historical and cultural sites, ancient monuments and other attractions in Montenegro. All of them are interesting and exciting in their own way, but really "scary" ancient structures draw tourists’ attention. What does a terrible place mean? Many facilities in Montenegro are shrouded in a terrible secret, somewhere there is a dark past, in others we feel with whole body the energy of pain and suffering, and some places are simply horrible, because of their emptiness. Fortress Kanli Kula relates to such a historic place that has bloodstains in his past. However, all this is history, and it, like everything else, has both disadvantages and advantages. About all this we will try to tell you right now. Kanli Kula: a castle, a fortress, a theater and a prison.One of the most popular places in Montenegro, which annually attracts millions of tourists from around the world, is a fortress of Kanli Kula in Herceg Novi, the name of which, in Turkish, means "bloody tower". Such "bloody" name of the fortress was not accidental, because for many years the castle was considered not only a defensive fortress... Name Kanli Kula was given by Turks, prevailed here over 400 years ago. During the reign of the Ottoman...
Budva
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Fortress (fort) Kosmac is an ancient fortress built by the Austrians as a defensive structure and a vantage point. While Montenegro had no access to the sea and the fortress served as a watershed between the lands of Austria-Hungary and Montenegro territory. The complex was built over 10 years, and construction was completed in 1850. The total area of fortifications, including two floors, basement and a spacious courtyard, is impressive - 1064 m²! Inside the bastion, there was a tank with a supply of water, and nearby - outside the walls of fortress, there were barracks, but today, nothing is left. Exterior view of the fortress appears upon the eye as a majestic central circular bastion, which runs two wings, which, in their turn, also ends in round bastions, but smaller ones. The walls are arranged in three layers. The outer layer is made of very smooth adjusted to each other stones. The middle layer - medium and very small stones of irregular shape mixed with a solution. The inner layer is made of roughly processed stones.About Fortress importance for Austria-Hungary, testified the fact, that in 1875 the bastion even won the visit of the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef. Later the fort was used by the Austrians during...

Bar
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Fort Lesendro was erected in the XVIII century and still recalls the confrontation between Montenegro and Turkey. In the past, before the construction of a dam with an automobile and railroad, the fortress of Lesendro was located on a small elongated island, which, due to its position at the mouth of the river Crnoevic, was often called the "key from the lake". That is why the island fortress has become a constant "apple of discord" in the Montenegrin struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire. It is believed that this fortress was founded by Peter II Petrovic-Njegus in 1832. It is not known for sure, whether he built it from scratch, or there already existed a fortress, which he fortified.Fortress Lesendro served to protect against attacks by Turkish troops and individual robbers and ensured safe trade and fishing on the Skadar Lake. Montenegrins owned it 11 years until 1843, when the Turks seized the fortress from garrison 20 people, taking advantage of the fact that king Peter with the army was on the Grahov field, assisting Herzegovina. Learning about this, Peter Njegus returned with the army and unsuccessfully tried to repulse the fortress, firing her artillery from the Thin Cape on the eastern shore of the...
Budva
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Mogren Fortress (it’s also Jaz troop) was built in 1860 by the ruling at the time Austro-Hungarians to defend the western borders of Budva. The fortress was a powerful fortification of almost rectangular shape with high walls and towers at the corners. With its help, troops took control of all the approaches to the city, including the sea. Since the fortress was involved in the two world wars, some objects have been completed at that time. For example, during the Second World War, the fortress was used as a warehouse of weapons and ammunition. To this day only walls of the fortresses and bunkers are preserved, which are poorly visible from the road because of the dense vegetation. The fortress is located on a promontory Mogren between the beaches Mogren and Jaz just a kilometer from the town of Budva and it offers a great panoramic view of the entire western coast of Budva Riviera.There are 3 ways to get to the fortress Mogren:By car when leaving Budva towards Tivat on Yadranski highway, just before the tunnel (about 1 km from Budva), turn left at the sign "Tvrđava Mogren". On foot from Budva or the old town of Budva in the direction of Tivat, by the sidewalk along the route. The way from the center of Budva takes...

Ulcinj
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The powerful fortress wall surrounds the old town of Ulcinj. It is located on a high rocky promontory and is washed on three sides by the Adriatic Sea. In the eastern part of the town there is a Kalaja Castle, in the north wing there are fortress gates, which are the only entrance to the town from the land side. There is now an archaeological and ethnographic museum of Ulcinj in the old town. The dominant feature of the castle and around the Old Town is the tower Balsica, in which an art gallery is arranged. Near the tower, a former building of Catholic Cathedral of the Virgin Mary is located, where in the Middle Ages there was a Department of Ulcinj bishop (today the building of the cathedral is occupied by the archaeological museum). On the south side of the Old Town there is a Bay, bounded by the cape Ratislav on the south, where is a small town beach (Mala beach, Montenegrin - Mala plaža).  
Herceg Novi
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One of the historical monuments of Montenegro is the fortress Španjola, which is located on one of the highest hills of Herceg Novi, at an altitude of about 170 meters above sea level. The hill, at the top of which the fortress was built, is called Bajer. The fortress is located to the northeast of the old town of Herceg Novi, not far from the main Jadranski put (the Adriatic highway), which runs along the coast and connects numerous settlements in Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia. Lifehack: people call the fortress "Spanjola", which literally means "Spanish fortress", but in official documents it is referred to as Gornji grad. Outside the bastion of Spanjola looks very impressive and although almost nothing is intact inside it, it is worth a visit... In addition to the already mentioned elegant view of the surroundings, the fortress can offer a unique and amazing excursion to the past. Here you can still see the ancient barracks, loopholes and various farm buildings, touch the mighty walls and military structures that came into the power of nature (ivy, grass and trees) and disappear upon our eyes, but despite this, they retained the rebellious spirit of the past.History of the fortress of...

Kotor
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We already told you about the Old City of Kotor, but did not specifically mention the most interesting part of it - the fortress of St. John (venet. San Giovanni). The fact is that to get acquainted with this incredible place we decided to make a separate article and it is better to take the whole day (or at least half a day) to visit a fortress. If you face the mountain, under which the Old Town of Kotor is located, and look up, you will see an amazing ancient building - an extended fortress wall, whimsically winding along the slope. This is the very fortress on the walls of which made the majority of photographs advertising Montenegro on numerous tourist leaflets. A wall over 4 km long was built, rebuilt and strengthened from the 9th to the 19th century. The viewing platform (one of the extreme points) of the fortress of St. Ivan is located at an altitude of about 280 meters above sea level! You can climb only on foot in several ways: through the Old Town of Kotor, by stone stairs or along an old mountain path outside the city. The path is rather complicated and tedious, but the time and effort spent are worth seeing with your own eyes the breathtaking panorama of the Bay of Kotor. Defensive structures near the...
Tivat
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In Montenegro, there are quite a lot of different ancient fortresses and forts. But all these historical places are not any medieval feudal castles - "eagle's nests", where lords lived - owners of the surrounding lands, as in Western Europe. Here they are really powerful defenses, where military garrisons stood and repulsed the constant offensive of enemy troops from all sides. And even if in some of them local aristocrats also lived, after themselves they did not leave even a hint of luxurious palace chambers and their elite residence in the fortress walls. In the territory of present Montenegro, some buildings were built to protect them from pirates (like the Fortress of the Holy Cross in Perast), some Montenegrins erected to protect themselves from invaders, and many were built by conquerors themselves to control the local population. Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the Kotor lands were controlled by the Austrian Empire, the Austrians did not become an exception and began to erect here their modern and purely military fortresses for the defense of the occupied lands. Until now, many fortresses of the times of Austria-Hungary have survived in Montenegro, some of them are in good condition, some are...

Budva
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A powerful fortress wall around the Ancient Town of Budva in Montenegro was rebuilt by the Venetians during the Renaissance after a devastating earthquake in the 17th century. The first defensive constructions of the city were erected here in the 9th century, and one of the ancient fortress walls was part of the Benedictine monastery that overlooked the coast. According to ancient engravings in the museum of Budva, the city fortifications of the 16th century has six somewhat elongated towers and one round one, between which stretched thick walls laid out of a hewn stone. Its borders were unchanged for several centuries, as well as the number of residents of the city did not exceed 1000 people. After the massive earthquake in Montenegro on April 15, 1979, with the magnitude of 7 points the "Old Grad" in Budva, like its fortress, was again destroyed and restored only by 1987. To date, the Old part of Budva is an architectural monument of antiquity and is protected by UNESCO. The Old Town of Budva is a whole open-air museum with a huge number of attractions, cultural sites and historical monuments where people still live in medieval buildings of hewn stone, and its protective fortress walls are another tourist attraction...
Cetinje
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Zabljak Crnojevic (rarely Zabljak Crnojevica, Montenegrin, Žabljak Crnojevića.) is a medieval city and fortress in Montenegro on Lake Skadar on a rock near the mouth of the Moraca River. The name comes from the Slavic Zabljak - marshy place where there are loads of frogs. Few people know, but the ancient capital of Montenegro, is not Cetinje, as many got used to think, but the medieval town of Zabljak on Skadar Lake. Not to confuse with the modern town of Zabljak in the north of Montenegro. However, back then, when Zabljak was a capital, there was not even such a name as Montenegro, and there was the Slavic principality of Zeta, located on the plains areas of Podgorica (Zeta plain) and Cetinje mountains (Mountainous Zeta). The last stronghold of the state of Zeta, the predecessor of Montenegro is Zabljak Crnojevica. This fortress belongs to the period of XI - XV centuries, and located in one part of the Skadar Lake, at the confluence of 4 rivers. Zabljak Crnojevica is referred to the significant monuments of fortification architecture. It is an important cultural heritage of the Skadar Lake basin. After wandering among the fortress walls, once a mighty fortress, we go down to the waterfront, and then go by boat to the...

Tivat
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The Mamula island fortress is located on water boundary of two countries, Croatia and Montenegro, between Prevlaka and Luštica peninsulas. The island has been formerly known as Lastavica till Austro-Hungarian general Lazar Mamula has built a defensive fortress in the middle of the 19th century. The fortress has been preventing the enemy entrance into Boka Kotorska bay. Since then island fortress has been called Mamula.The diameter of the fortress is 200 meters and the height is 16 meters. During the World War I the Austrians have been using the fortress as a prison. And during the World War II, since May 30, 1942 Italian fascists have made a concentration camp out of prison.  There is information that Montenegrin patriots were cruelly tortured in this prison. There is just a memorial stone memorizing about this.Today, the fortress is protected by the Government as a cultural monument. It is preserved in good condition and attracts the tourists. There is also a park with numerous tropical and subtropical plants and unique species of Mimosa. Besides, the buildings of bakery and control tower, old spiral stairs are preserved. Despite that the pier is damaged, tourists come to plunge into history for one-hour...
Herceg Novi
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Forte Mare fortress, which means "Sea fortress", stands on the rocks in the southern part of Old Town of Herceg Novi. It is located near the main port of Herceg Novi, on the coast of the Bay of Kotor. It is assumed that the first stone was laid here at the end of the XIV century (in 1382) by the Bosnian king Tvrtko I to protect the city from attacks from sea. According to some reports, facing the bay fortress wall at that time had a special attachment for the mooring of ships approaching the city. A monument to the king is still on the waterfront opposite the Maritime Fortress. This part of the ancient fortifications initiated the founding of the city of Herceg Novi and in the Middle Ages, protected the city of Herceg Novi from attacks. Since then, the castle was rebuilt many times, and its present appearance is already far from the original. Until the 18th century, during the Turkish and Venetian rule, the castle had been subjected to renovation and expanded several times - in addition, defensive fortifications were built to the fortress - teeth on the defensive walls and loopholes for guns. In that times, this fortress was called Yak Kula (Jaka Kula) or "Kula Abaspashe", which means "powerful fortress". When in the...

Budva (Old town)
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The medieval fortress of St. Mary in Budva, also known as the Citadel, is one of the most monumental buildings of the Old City. Completely autonomous construction, in the past equipped with everything necessary in the event of a long siege, is considered an important monument of fortification architecture, which today plays the role of a popular tourist attraction and cultural and entertainment center. In historical sources, the fortress of St. Mary was first mentioned in 1425. It was built to protect Budva from attacks from the sea in cases where the strength of ordinary city walls was no longer sufficient. Inside the bastion there was an arsenal and supplies of food, which made it possible to withstand successfully the long siege, and the multi-layered arrangement of fortress walls guaranteed the inaccessibility and strength of the Citadel. The citadel is the keeper of the Budvanian history, located on the southern part of the rocky reef in the old Budva. The citadel was built in the beginning of 840, but, unfortunately, only the northern tower and the northern and eastern walls remained. But the buildings of the XV century: the buildings of the former barracks, the gates, fortress walls and the ruins of the Church of...
Bar
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Do you know why we call Montenegro an amazing country? Here, so many towns, so many completely fantastic histories; so the village is the treasure of antiquities; so the rock is the legend. Just imagine, in every near-shore Montenegrin town, there is preserved old part or as they say, Old Town. One of our favorites is the Old Town of Bar. From the center of modern Bar, the easiest way to get here is by bus or by car. But it is possible to have a walk, if you are not afraid of 40 minutes getting uphill. In any case put walking shoes, you have too much to walk. Hardly entering the gates of Old Bar and time stops. The town, the history of which counts more than 2500 years, is uninhabited long. Paved paths have been grass-green , tumbledown walls of old buildings are ivy-cloaked. However, research and restoration works are held here. Visits a small museum and have a look at mosaic fragments dated 5-6 centuries, shatters of ceramics 6-8 centuries B.C., amazingly beautiful vessels made of murano glass found by archeologists. Then walk around the endless narrow streets and find miraculously spared frescoes and bas-reliefs in out-of-the-world spots. Do not forget to make photo near a huge 2000-year olive tree. And when get...
Budva
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Once we find ourselves in any Montenegrin town for the first time, we start walking around its old part, because all history and the most interesting are here. Today we have a walk around Budva.Belfry of the St. Ivan's church is the highest building in Old Budva and is seen from a distance. Walking along the quay toward the port, you will run into a defensive wall.  Today, it is difficult to believe that in the beginning of 20th century, the whole Budva was located behind this wall. Entering inside through the one out of five gates, you will find yourself in a tangle of narrow streets. Practically all buildings are inhabited. There are private apartments and small hotels. Cafes, shops and bakers are on the first floor always. In 1979 the town had suffered seriously from earthquake. But it was reconstructed completely as it was built by the Venetians. Now it is a typical example of Mediterranean Venetian architecture.There are some nice museums in Old Budva. For example, at the Archaeological museum, there is an amazing detailed collection of items of various epochs, which were found during local excavation. Everything is there, ancient amphoras barnacle-encrusted, arming, golden jewels and household items. The most...

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Montenegro is amazing and incredibly beautiful country, on the territory of which you can find historical monuments of architecture at every turn. Every year there are more and more of them, and many are now under the protection of UNESCO. The old town of Budva, Kotor, Bar and Herceg Novi, the ancient fortifications and buildings, castles of rulers - these great monuments of history, surrounded by magnificent primary nature will charm even the most demanding tourist!

No wonder that all this diverse "ancient" Montenegro attracts millions of tourists from all over the world each year. In our Reference You can find information on the most popular castles, fortresses and old towns of Montenegro: photos, descriptions with tips and interesting facts, location map and reviews of visitors.

We advise you to visit these places, where you inevitably forget about the fast moving modern world outside, about problems and concerns, and everyday life fades into the background, giving a way to a fairy tale.
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