Guide: Montenegro's Ancient Cities

June 20th 2023 in Travel
Guide: Montenegro's Ancient Cities

Montenegro is a small country in the Balkans that boasts a stunning natural beauty, a rich cultural heritage, and a turbulent history. Montenegro was once part of various empires and kingdoms, such as the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian, Serbian, and Yugoslav. Montenegro also gained its independence twice, in 1878 and 2006, after fighting for its freedom and sovereignty. Montenegro's ancient cities reflect its diverse influences and its resilient spirit. They offer a glimpse into the country's history, culture, and attractions. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most fascinating ancient cities in Montenegro, their history, culture, and attractions. Whether you are a history buff, a culture lover, or a curious traveler, you will find something to inspire you in these timeless destinations.


Kotor is one of the most famous and popular ancient cities in Montenegro, and for good reason. Kotor is located at the end of the Bay of Kotor, a fjord-like inlet that is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Kotor was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC as Acruvium. Kotor later became an important trading and maritime center under the Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian rule.

Kotor's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by impressive fortifications that date back to the 9th century. Inside the walls, you can admire the architecture and monuments of Kotor's old town, such as the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, a Romanesque church with a Gothic facade and a rich treasury, the Maritime Museum, a museum that displays the history and artifacts of Kotor's naval tradition, the Church of St. Luke, a 12th-century church with both Catholic and Orthodox altars, and the Clock Tower, a 17th-century tower with a clock that marks the entrance to the main square.

Kotor is also a lively and charming city with a vibrant culture and nightlife. You can enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and cafes along the narrow streets and squares. You can also catch a festival or a concert at one of the churches or palaces that host cultural events throughout the year.


Cetinje is another ancient city that dates back to Montenegrin statehood. Cetinje was founded by Ivan Crnojević in 1482 as the capital of the Principality of Zeta. Cetinje later became the seat of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral, the spiritual and political leader of Montenegro. Cetinje also became the capital of the Kingdom of Montenegro in 1878 and remained so until 1918.

Cetinje's old town is a historical and cultural center that preserves its royal and religious legacy. You can explore the history and culture of Cetinje's old town, such as the Cetinje Monastery, a monastery that houses the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje and the right hand of John the Baptist, the Biljarda, a former residence of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, a prince-bishop and a poet who wrote The Mountain Wreath, the King Nikola's Palace, a palace that was the home of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš, who ruled Montenegro from 1860 to 1918, and the National Museum of Montenegro, a museum that consists of several buildings that display the art, history, and ethnography of Montenegro.

Cetinje is also a modern and dynamic city with a youthful atmosphere and a creative spirit. You can enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and pubs along the main street Njegoševa. You can also visit one of the many art galleries or studios that showcase contemporary art and design.


Podgorica is another ancient city that is now the capital and largest city of Montenegro. Podgorica was founded by the Illyrians in the 3rd century BC as Duklja. Podgorica later became an important Roman city under the name Doclea or Dioclea. Podgorica also changed its name several times under different rulers, such as Ribnica, Birziminium, and Titograd. Podgorica was heavily bombed during World War II and was rebuilt as a modern city after the war.

Podgorica's old town is a contrast of old and new, with traces of its past and signs of its future. You can see the architecture and monuments of Podgorica's old town, such as the Clock Tower, a 19th-century tower that is the symbol of Podgorica, the Stara Varoš, the old Turkish quarter with mosques and narrow streets, the Millennium Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Morača River and is a landmark of Podgorica, and the Duklja Archaeological Site, a site that reveals the remains of the ancient Roman city of Doclea.

Podgorica is also a lively and cosmopolitan city with a diverse culture and nightlife. You can enjoy the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants and bars along the Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog or in the City Kvart. You can also catch a show at the Montenegrin National Theatre or visit one of the many cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year.

Montenegro's ancient cities are more than just historical relics. They are living and breathing places that offer a unique blend of past and present, culture and nature, tradition and innovation. Whether you want to learn about the history, admire the architecture, enjoy the cuisine, or relax by the sea, you will find something to suit your taste in these amazing destinations.

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