The Old town of Ulcinj is situated in the southern part of the Montenegrin coast and occupies a rather large area. It is well preserved and does not look like other ancient settlements of Montenegro: there is a peculiar atmosphere of the Middle Ages and surprisingly few people. You can get to the fortress through the gates located on the beach. To do this, you need to go along the embankment to the walls of the fortress and climb a small staircase.
The fortress of Ulcinj is on a hill, therefore from here the magnificent panorama of a seaside part of a city burst upon the eye. The thickness of the fortress walls reaches 20 m, and in some places they are built by cyclopean masonry from large stones without gaps and fastening mortar. The fortress of Ulcinj has a rich history, and the proven facts are intertwined with fiction. For example, they say that at the end of the XVI century, after being captured by pirates for five years, famous Miguel de Cérantes lived here. Adherents of this theory connect the name of the heroine of his novel "Don Quixote" of Dulcinea del Toboso with the Venetian name of the city – Dulcigno. However, from the biography of the writer it is known that, having been taken into prison, he lived in Algeria.
Walking along narrow streets to the northern part of the fortress, you will see the unique St. Mary's mosque-church, built in 1511. Initially it was a Catholic church. The oldest parts of this building are a door jamb and fragments of the western wall. From the Christian period, the Gothic rosette window above the main entrance and the edging of the archway have also been preserved. In some places under the limy coating of the facade you can see the remains of fresco painting of the 16th century. In 1693, the church was rebuilt into a mosque, one of the exits were immured, four windows were cut in the facade and a minaret was built.
Today there is the Museum of Local Lore. Among its exhibits there is an antique pedestal for sculpture with a carved dedication of the ancient Greek goddess of hunting Artemis V-IV BC. e., medallion depicting Artemis in the helmet, tools of the Bronze Age era, fragments of the church of the IX century and other artifacts. In front of the mosque church there is the Slave Square. On it in the XVII-XVIII centuries there was the largest market of the slave trade - pirates from Malta, Algeria and Tunisia sold here "live goods."
At the highest point, next to the museum, is the Citadel, which was an important defensive structure, as well as the Balsic Tower. The tower was built in the first half of the XV century and for a long time was the tallest building in Ulcinj. Its name was received on behalf of the Serbian dynasty Balsice - here was their summer residence.
In the next two-story building, restored in the XX century there is the Ethnographic Museum. In its exposition there are objects of everyday life of almost all peoples who inhabited the surroundings of modern Ulcinj at different times: Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Albanians and Montenegrins. At the entrance there is a fountain with drinking water, built by the Turks in 1779 and it’s still functioning.
The era of the Venetian Republic in Ulcinj is represented by only two palaces - the Chamber of Venice, built in the XV century as the residence of the governor, and the Balsic Yards of the XIV century. Now they are both converted into hotels, but the appearance has almost remained unchanged.
In the evening the fortress is highlighted, and numerous cozy restaurants and cafes
are waiting for their guests.
What to see in the vicinity of the city?
To the west of the Old Town is the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, built in 1890 on the site of a medieval monastery. This is a very quiet place, from where you can see a beautiful view of the fortress walls. Near the church there is a picturesque grove of mighty olives and an old cemetery.
It is also recommended to explore the amazing shore of Ulcinj, riddled with small picturesque bays. This amazingly beautiful place is located to the east of the Small Beach, near the Hotel Albatros. You can get here by the road leading to the hotel, but not reaching it.
From the "Albatross" along the coast through the forest there is a path that ends at the canal. Behind it the Great Beach begins - the main attraction of the Ulcin Riviera. And although to go 2 km to it, you will not regret, because along the way you can enjoy beautiful scenery and swim in the place you like.
Lifehack: next to the beach hotel "Albatross" is the Women's Beach. It is believed that the local hydrogen sulphide source, volcanic sand and pine forest air create a special microclimate that has a beneficial effect on the reproductive system of women.
Hotels in Ulcinj
in Ulcinj are ready to offer their guests accommodation of different levels. Quite large is the choice of modest hotels, designed for unassuming travelers. But, regardless of the cost of living, hospitality and joy are waiting for the guests of all hotels. In the Old Town, too, there is where to live.
The doors of many cafes, restaurants and bars are open almost around the clock: they all work "to the last client". The menu is usually based on local products, very fresh and tasty. As in other seaside towns, there are many restaurants offering a wide variety of seafood dishes.Picturesque, like almost all the coastal cities of Montenegro, Ulcinj has its own special face, its own special color
. And the night illumination of streets in Ulcinj is considered the most bright and beautiful on all the coast.