Podgorica

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 Podgorica is the capital and largest city of the country, covers an area of approximately 1,500 km². According to the latest census, it has a population of nearly 200 thousand people. The city is in a valley surrounded by mountains, and during the walk you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the mountains and hills of Podgorica. By the way, there are several hills in the capital, and one of them is called Gorica, which explains the origin of the name of the city. Urban landscapes are complemented by the rivers Moraca and Ribnica.
 
The history of the city.
 
 The convenient geographical location and favorable climate of the valley 2000 years ago brought here Illyrian tribes. Later, these territories were conquered by the Romans, and here there were three settlements - Alata, Birziminium and Doclea.

 In V century after the fall of the Roman Empire, the first Slavic tribes came to these lands, who were continuing the war with Byzantium in the hope to form their own state. On the bank of the river Ribnica, they founded a new city with the same name. The first mention of Rybnica dating back to the Nemanjic dynasty, a founder of the dynasty - Stefan Nemanja was born in this city. The name of "Podgorica" was first mentioned in archival documents in 1326. Exactly in the XIV century the economic significance of this place enhanced, due to the fact that the city was on the trade route between Serbia and Dubrovnik.

 However, in 1474, the Turks conquered the city and turned it into a fortified bastion for protection from the rebel raids of Montenegrin tribes, repeatedly tried to recover it. At the same time the Depedogen fortress was built in the city. The end of the 400-year Ottoman occupation was laid only at the Berlin Congress in 1878, which recognized the independence of Montenegro. Thus, the city became a part of the new state.

 The first years of the XX century were a period of active development of Podgorica, there were large enterprises, and new roads were built. Yet with the beginning of World War I a rough patch occurred again in the history of the city. In 1916, it came under Austro-Hungarian occupation, which lasted until 1918. And in the course of the bombing during the Second World War Podgorica was almost completely wiped out. On 19 December, 1944 the city was liberated by partisans.
 Being a part of Yugoslavia, on 13 July, 1946 the city acquired a new name Titograd, received in honor of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, and a new status - the capital. The historical name Podgorica was returned to the city on 2 April, 1992.

Sights.
 
 Podgorica attracts tourists for its historical and architectural monuments, museums and galleries.

 First of all, you can visit the Town Museum of Podgorica, founded in 1950, it holds unique exhibits related to the Illyrian and Roman eras. The exhibition is divided into 4 sections: archaeological, ethnographic, historical and cultural-historical. In the collection of the museum there are books printed by Bozidar Vukovich, old maps and coins, traditional costumes and household items.

 At the exit of the museum on the left there is a crossroad. Reach it and turn right – walk two blocks and,you will see the monument to Alexander Pushkin and his wife Natalya Goncharova. The monument was erected in 2002 as a sign of special respect for the work of the poet, which once was admired by a chief writer of Montenegro - Petar II Petrovic Njegos. By the way, monument to Njegos is nearby.
The monument to Pushkin
 In the city center there is the main square of the capital with a fountain in the middle - Republic Square - venue for all kinds of events: concerts, and spontaneous markets.
Having walked to the street Sloboda (if you stand back to the fountain in the square, then you need to follow to the left), you will come to the hill Gorica, which is a park area. It was it, that gave the name of the city. Nearby is the oldest building in Podgorica and the main attraction - the Church of St. George, which is located at the foot of Gorica, built in X-XI centuries. There are frescoes of 1670th, and in the altar area there was once a secret underground passage.
Gorizia and Church of St. George
Lifehack: Gorica is a great place to take a walk: climb the shady alleys of the hill, you can reach the very top, overlooking the whole city.

 In Gorica there is a memorial to Partisan – fighter opened in 1957. 97 heroes are buried here, who died in the national liberation struggle waged by the Yugoslav partisans against the Nazi occupiers, with the support of the Soviet troops in 1941-1945.

 Having returned from Gorica on the wide boulevard of Ivan Crnojevic, walk along it to the right, past the municipal stadium, and you will get to one of the city landmarks - the bridge "Millennium". It connects the two banks of the Moraca river and was built in 2005 by architect Mladen Ulevich. Length of the bridge is 140 meters, and the height of the pylon - 57 m. The construction cost 7 million € to the state. Particularly picturesque the bridge is at night, in the light of the special illumination.
Millennium bridge
 A year earlier, on the bank of the Moraca river, a monument to Vladimir Vysotsky was erected - if you cross the bridge it will be on the left. Nearby there is a pedestrian Moscow Bridge 105 m long.

 At some distance from the center there is the district of Stara Varos, a small old town of Podgorica. Since the time of the Ottoman occupation there were narrow winding streets, two mosques and the Clock Tower, or the Sahat-kula. The tower was built in 1667, and the clock was set there, specially imported from Italy, for a long time remained the only one in the city. The height of the tower is 16 m.
Clock Tower
 If you want to continue walking around the city, be sure to visit the picturesque park of Petrovich, it’s Krusevac. There is a church of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrios in it. Also here is the Palace of Petrovic, where is the Petrovich Gallery of Art, and also includes the "House of the Guardians of Honor", the palace chapel and other buildings. Since 1995, the gallery is located in the "Contemporary Art Center". The gallery features more than 1,500 works of art from all over the world. The halls of the gallery regularly hosts exhibitions, attracting the attention of many fans of painting and sculpture.

 There is the Church of Christ's Resurrection in Podgorica – the largest operating church in Montenegro.
Temple of the Resurrection of Christ
 Its construction, begun in 1993, was carried out on the donations of believers, as well as with the financial support of the Government.

 There are 2 large shopping centers in the city. "Delta City" is a trade zone under the roof of which have housed more than 70 shops, playgrounds for children, beauty salons, a food court and a multiplex cinema. "Mall of Montenegro" was opened in 2010. It houses a large supermarket, a gym, children's playground, bowling alley, food court, coffee shops, even with live music, disco (Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9:00 pm- 3:00am) and many clothes stores.

 In the center of Podgorica, there is a large concentration of restaurants. Among the local fish dishes, soup, fish stew, fried and smoked fish are worth trying out. Meat lovers can be recommended the lamb in a pot. Often meat dishes in Podgorica are prepared with clotted cream - salted cream. Local cheese and honey are good in Podgorica. Lozovac – grape hooch can be ordered as an accompaniment to dinner, served here with prosciutto (dried meat).
 
How to get to the city.
 
 On arrival at Podgorica airport is best to order the urban taxi because the cost of private services may be overstated. Sophisticated travelers say that in 800 meters down the road from the airport in Podgorica is a railway stop "Aerodrom". It takes seven minute to get to Podgorica from it. But the downside of this trip is a long interval between trains.

 From Podgorica itself, or rather from the bus station, one can easily get to any destination in Montenegro and beyond. Within the city, you can use buses or minibuses. One trip costs about 0,8 EUR, tickets can be purchased at the driver.
 
City hotels.
 
 Being the capital, the city can offer a wide range of options for settlement. Among which, the Hotel Podgorica 4 * can be distinguished, located on the picturesque banks of the River Moraca, in the immediate vicinity of the city center, or hotel Ramada 4 * - the owner of award "Best Hotel in Podgorica 2012".

 Podgorica is the main city of Montenegro. One may not call it a typical European capital, but Podgorica is worth a visit because of its unique atmosphere, that wonderfully combines old and new, in the city one can get acquainted with the culture of Montenegro, and in the summer take a dip in the river and sunbathe.

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