Cetinje is located in South-East Europe, at 42° 23′ 27” north latitude and 18° 55′ 45” east longitude. It is situated in karst area (Cetinjsko field), dimensions of about 7 km², with average altitude of 671 m.
Cetinje is located 12 km air line from the Adriatic Sea and 15 km air line from Skadar lake. Today it is on the highway Podgorica – Cetinje – Budva, that opens it to trafic of the interior of Montenegro and the Montenegrin coast. Cetinje is 27 km far from Budva, and 31 km far from Podgorica, from the airport in Podgorica 37 km, from the airport in Tivat 49 km and 67 km from harbor in Bar.
Cetinje field is formed in the eastern mainland below the mountain Lovcen,whose highest peaks are Stirovnik (1749 m) and Jezerski vrh ( Lake peak 1660 m). On the top of the Lake peak is the mausoleum of Petra II Petrovica Njegosa. From all parts od Cetinje field the view is blocked by desolate stretch of limestone hills with steep slopes. Extremely karst ground caused that at the edge of Cetinje field several caves are formed. By their channel length, number of rooms and wealth of cave jewelry the most attractive Cetinjska in the verytown, and Lipska which is close to the town.
Cetinje has a temperate continental climate characterized by dry and hot summers with average temperatures of 20°C and mild and humid winters with average temperature of 2,1°C. Average annual temperature is 11°C, with annual amplitude of 20,1°C.
Cetinje is famous for it’s abundant spring and autumn rains and it’s among the rainiest towns in Europe with about 4000 mm water sediment per year. However, beside the high rainfall Cetinje field and it’s immediate surroundings are free of outer and rivers and with rare sources, which is the result of karst configuration and geological composition of terrain.
TERRITORY AND POPULATION
The Municipality of Cetinje covers an area of 910 km², or 6,6% of total area of Montenegro (13.812 km²). The town s an area of about 5 km². According to the census of 2003, in the municipality of Cetinje live 18.842 inhabitants, which makes 2.8% of total population of Montenegro. On the territory of town Cetinje 15.353 inhabitants live. Of the total number of inhabitants in the municipality of Cetinje, 8.879 are men, and 9.603 women.The nationality of the population consists of 90% Montenegrins.
The first written data on the medieval town Zabljak come from the middle of the 15th century, the time of dynasty Crnojevic. It is possible that it was founded in the 10th century during dynasty Vojislavljevic. It is certain that it lodged Crnojevici, wherefore it’s known as „Zabljak Crnojevica“. It is known that it was the capital of Stefan Crnojevic, and then Ivan Crnojević, who dwelleth in him from the 1466 to the 1478, when it was occupied by Turks. The town stayed under Turkish rule until1878 when the decision of the Congress of Berlin awarded it to Montenegro.
In the center of the town the palace of Ivan Crnojevic was located as well as the church of St. George, cistern for water and housing facilities of military and economic character. It’s surrounded by mighty walls with towers and gate, of which some parts are made in time before the use of firearms. A good part of the preserved fortification was made at the time of Ivan Crnojević, and marked the Venetian way of building, while others belong to theperiod of Turkish domination.Today Zabljak is abandoned, but its suburb is still alive.
Church Rodjenje Bogorodice ( Virgin birth), known as Vlaska church, built in the mid-fifteenth century.The current form was received in 1864.
Church yard is fenced with unique fence made of pipes rifles seized in the liberation wars against the Turks in 1858 and 1876 – 1878. On both sides of the entrance two medieval tombstones are located – tomb decorated in relief shows that it originates from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century.
Monastery with the church Rodjenje Bogorodice ( Virgin birth) was built in 1484 by the master of Zeta Ivan Crnojevic, at a place called Cipur, in Cetinje. Based on the preserved remains of monasterie complex, the old description, drawings and plans, it can be concluded that this is a complex and powerful monastic complex, which was surrounded by walls on which relied residance buildings, towers and supporting facilities. In the center of the complex the church Rodjenje Bogorodice (Virgin birth) was located, in the northern part there was another small church dedicated to Saint Peter. The building was built on the strong arched opening, through which the river Crnojevic ran, it probably served for Crnojevica printing.
It is assumed that the church had a look of the three-nave basilica, which was formed in an open porch supported by a series of columns. Capitals columns were decorated with reliefs which were made in the spirit of the late Gothic and Renaissance, where among other things, is presented the coat of arms of family Crnojevic.
Cenojevic monastery was destroyed to the ground by the Turks in 1692. On the site of the original church Rodjenje Bogorodice (Virgin birth), Prince Nikola built in 1886 the palace chapel where now are resting mortal remains of the town founder Ivan Crnojevic, as well as the remains of King Nikola and Queen Milena.
At the foot of Orlov Krs on a site where Crnojevic Ivan’s palace was located, Bishop Danilo built in 1701 Cetinje Monastery by incorporating into it elements from architectura elements of Crnojevic monastery which was destroyed. Core of the complex is a one-nave church with a modest dimension dedicated to the Virgin Birth, there is the iconostasis from the middle nineteenth century, the work of Greek masters. In the southern choir a shrine is located with the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje, while at the entrance are the tombs of Prince Danilo and Grand Duke Mirko, father of King Nikola I Petrovic. In the monastery one of the largest Christian relics is kept, the hand of St. John the Baptist. In so-called Njegoš residence, a monastery museum is situated, which is by richness and diversity of the museum exhibits the most important institution of it’s kind in Montenegro.
Cetinje monastery, as a harmonious architectural whole, today is a symbol of Montenegrin spirituality, freedom and enlightenment.
Njegos’s residence known as Biljarda is located in the historical town of Cetinje close to the Cetinje monastery.nIt was built in 1838 by the plan of the Russian emissary James Ozereckovskog with substantial financial assistance of Russia. Initially called New House, it soon got a new name – Biljarda by Njegoš billiard.
The basic architectural concept of Billiard matches the simple format of medieval palace. It is an elongated rectangular stone building with two floors,with very modest processing, covered with lead, surrounded by a high stone wall with round towers at the corners and gates on each side. The building at that time when it was raised was impressive. The length is of over 70m and it is 7.5 m wide, with 25 rooms, including 11 on the first floor and 14 on the second floor. It certainly leaves a strong impression on visitors. A certain number of rooms Njegos used for his personal needs, while the majority was intendent to the Senate, panache and other state bodies, as well as for respected guests to stay.
Biljarda has also to his successors, until 186., served as a residence, first for Prince Danilo, and then briefly for Prince Nicholas. This famous building primarily related to Njegos was, except for residential purposes, used for accommodation of various state institutions. After moving from the monastery for some time Njegos’s Printing Shop was located there founded in 1843. Later it was used as seminary, high school and briefly Maidan Institute. At the beginning of this century it was used for housing ministry, and between the two world wars for the needs of military institutions.
In the yard of Biljarda from 1916/17 a relief map of Montenegro is located with the pavilion which has cuts the fence wall.
Today in the Billiard Njegos’s museum is located.
Palace of King Nikola
The building of the Palace of King Nikola I Petrovic, to the people known as the Palac, was started around 1863 with the first years of the reign of Prince Nikola, and the construction was ended in 1867. The interior of the palace was adapted with it’s appearance to residential and family life, and it had a muffled luxury in which dominated the taste of modern art – secession. The interior is particu;arly highlighted by its mosaic floors, walls covred with silk wallpaper, plastering ceilings richly decorated, luxurious elements of lighting, furniture parts and so on.
In the palace from 1926 The State Museum of Montenegro is located and the interior is kept almost in its unchanged appearance.
Hospital Danilo I
The first hospital building in Montenegro was built in 1873 from monetary gifts received in baptism of Crown Prince Danilo (1871), by the plan of French court doctor Frileja, who was entrusted with the selection of location. It was named after the first secular ruler of Montenegro. Because of “military – technical needs,” especially because of war material storage, the hospital was put into operation in 1875. First patients were the wounded in the Hercegovacki uprising. It is a two-story building, which has a rectangular base.
Famous building of Cetinje theater, called “Zeta house” initially next to the stage, was intended to accommodate the archives, museums and reading room with library. The construction was started in 1884 and it was designed by Joseph Slade. It was completed in 1892. The first theater with “Balkan Empress” of Prince Nikola I Petrovic was made the 1888 in the still unfinished building.
The original interior was luxurious and modern, made in imitation of European chamber theatre with rich stucco decorations, friezes and painted ceiling. More recently, the stage was extended, interior was renewed and the contemporary crops that enable the smooth maintenance of all types of theatrical performances.
Castle of Prince Danilo, also known as Blue Castle, built in the 1895 is located in the space between the two town parks. For its construction, which started in April of 1894, Italian and the best local craftsmen were engaged. A zear later, in1895, a court room was surrounded by a high wall while in front of the main facade a low wall with metal rods was made. The rods were made at a military factory Obod. That same year, in the courtyard area a tennis court and swimming pool were made. In the midlle of 1910 electric lighting was introduced. Prince Danilo used the residential building until 1916. Today the building is an affirmed gallery.
Cetinje, as royal capital of Montenegro , has been cultural and educational center of Montenegro for five centuries. There are five republic institutions: the Central National Library “Djurdje Crnojevic”, The National Museum of Montenegro, Archive of Montenegro, Republic Institute for Preserving Cultural Heritage and Montenegrin Royal National Theatre “Zetski Dom”. All these institutions keep, process and give at disposal enormous literary treasure, exhibits and archivalia and protect both mobile and immobile cultural monuments throughout Montenegro.
Printing and publishing activity
Cetinje has a rich publishing and printing tradition. The printing house of Crnojevici (1492-1496) and the books published there are of great importance for Montenegrin culture and history as well as for the culture of other Orthodox Balkan people’s culture and history as well as for the culture of other Orthodox Balkan people. Its greatest contribution refers to spreading Cyrillic alphabet and it represents an important link to a chain of the world culture. The tradition of Crnjojevica printing house was later continued by: “Njegos” printing house, which worked between 1833 and 1839, The State Printing House which was founded in 1858. It was renamed in 1952 and since then it has been known as “Obod”, as well as many other social and governmental printing houses.
Since 1835, when in Cetinje the first Montenegrin literary and scientific annual called “Grlica” (“Turtledove”) was released and when the first Montenegrin papers named “A Montenegrin” was published in 1871, sixty different papers and over thirty magazines have been published. In the year of 1914, at Cetinje, a town having less than 6 000 inhabitants, the amazing 6 daily papers were published.
Thanks to the early printing and publishing production, Cetinje today has the oldest libraries of Montenegro, where the oldest books and documentation of great value are being preserved. This makes Cetinje internationally recognized as well. The oldest library is the library of Cetinje Monastery, which was founded in 15th century at the time when printing house of Crnojevici started operating. Today, seventy-five old manuscripts written in Cyrillic, incunabula and many old liturgical books are kept there. The first public reading room in Montenegro known as “The Reading Room of Cetinje” was founded in 1896. Since its founding it has been the cultural center of Montenegro. The fruitful activity of this reading room was continued by the town library and reading room called “Njegos”, which disposes of over 63 000 books and volumes of periodicals. Cetinje is also famous for its museums: Museum of Cetinje Monastery, State Museum, Njegos’ Museum, Ethnographic museum, The History Museum, Art Museum and Electric Industry Museum of Montenegro. All these museum, except the Museum of Cetinje Monastery and Electric Industry Museum are intergrated in one institution called The National Museum of Montenegro. Numerous museums and a huge fund of museum items that are kept there make Cetinje a town-museum.
Cetinje has been the town of culture throughout the history, and remained as such up until today. Every 2nd year the international exhibition called Cetinje Biennial is being held there. Its founder is Prince Nikola, the great-grandson of King Nikola I.
Museum of Cetinje monastery
The museum of Cetinje monastery contains a rich fund of the monastery treasury and it is located at the part where there are monastery shelters. In its china closetsthere are rather valuable items made of various, mostly precious materials.
Among the numerous exhibited displays, those regarded as very significant are epitrachelion of Sava Nemanjic, dating back from 13th century, the banner of the Balsic family (14th century) and the crosier of Ivan Crnojevic (15th century).
In the museum there are also precious displays such as archbishop’s chasubles belonging to the rulers from Petrovic-Njegos dynasty. These are bishop Danilo’s chasuble with omophorion, sakkos, epigonation and ivory mace, the chasuble of Petar I Petrovic Njegos with sakkos, omophorion, epitrachelion and silver mace as well as the chasuble of Petar II Petrovic Njegos with omorphion and epigonation.
Apart from the chasubles, many applied art collections are being kept in the museum. There are items made of gold, silver-gilt with ornaments made of filigree, gems and jewels. There are also very beautiful wooden hand-made crosses such as the cross of archimandrite Gregory and Nestor dating back to 17th/18th century and the cross of Metropolitan Rufim made by Djuro Cojnacanin, an artist, in 1634.
In the museum of Cetinje Monastery there is a collection of manuscripts, incunabula and paleotypes of immeasurable value. This collection includes manuscripts such as “The Gospel of Divos” dating back to the middle of 14th century, “Trebnik” with miniatures and “Four Gospels” from the monastery of Piva. The collection also includes incunabula like Cososlov, printed in Svaipolt Fiola printing house in Krakov in 1491 and a copy of Oktoih the First Courier dating back to 1494. As for the paleotypes, there are a few of them made by printers Bozidar Vukovic Podgoricanin and his son Vicenco and their followers. The museum disposes of a rich collection of icons dating back to the time between 17th and 19th century as well.
The History Museum
The History Museum of Montenegro was founded in 1989 and it is located in the Governmental House. It comprises the whole social-economic, political military and cultural history of Montenegro. Central exibition and museum as a whole are divided into six sections:
– Pre-Slavic period (from the very beginning to the time when Slavs came) ;
– Medieval period (from the perid when Slavs came till the 18th century) ;
– Period from 16th to 18th century;
– Founding of Montenegro (1796-1878);
– Period of Modern Montenegro (1878-1916);
– Period of Montenegro as one of the Yugoslav republics (from 1918 on).
The oldest documentation makes a part of the collection of archive records. These archeological materials come from Doclea, Budva and many other important towns of Montenegro. Collection of war trophies represents a special curiosity. This material has not been neither purchased nor received as a gift; they are part of Montenegrin history. Historical survey of Montenegrin development was presented by all its characteristics-cultural, educational, economic and social ones.
Ethnographic museum was founded in 1951. It is housed in the building of Serbian embassy and it has a collections that represent economic conditions, nutriment, textile industry, clothing, arms, music instruments, as well as other elements of material and spiritual culture of Montenegro. The impressive exposition of national art is of a great importance. Its value is proved on exhibitions in London, Moscow, Prague and in other cities abroad and in our country. During the fights for freedom that lasted for centuries, national art collected art intentions of Montenegrins, as it was the only art expression of this people.
The biggest and most important monument of the NP Lovćen is Njegos’ Mausoleum. The location for his burial place perched at the summit of Jezerski Vrh was chosen by Njegoš himself as his last wish. However, Njegoš was buried in a small chapel which he had built during his lifetime.
This was done, but the original chapel was destroyed when the Austro – Hungarian army invaded Montenegro. Njegos’ remains were then transferred into the Monastery of Cetinje and buried in the chapel which was rebuilt by King Alexander in 1920s. Contrary to Njegos’ wish to be buried in that chapel, the then communist powers of Montenegro destroyed the chapel and built a monumental mausoleum in Viennese Secession style instead. The local Metropoly of the Serbian Orthodox Church opposed the destruction and even took the matter to the Constitutional Court, with no success whatsoever. The design was that of Ivan Meštrovic who, although world-famous, had never set foot on Lovćen.
The protests erupted in 1970 with many famous Yugoslav public figures, of both Montenegrin and non-Montenegrin origin, complaining of what they described as barbaric breaking of Njegos’ legacy.
The museum dedicated to Montenegrin ruler Petar II Petrovic Njegos was founded in 1951 in restored BiliardHouse. Beside Biliard House which was Njegos’ residence, there is placed Njegos’ library and the library of his predecessor Petar I Petrovic. There are many books from all fields ranging from universal decimal classification, philosophy, religion, to history and geography, published between 1549 and 1851. The library is in possession of the original script of Njegos’s masterpiece “Mountain wreath”( Gorski vijenac ) “ as well as the different editions of the book in south Slavic and other languages.
In the museum Njegos’s belongings are on display. You can see his armchair, rest chair, bishop’s rope-the gift of Russian Synod and two portraits in oil on canvas; one was painted by Johan Bes, the other by Josip Tominc.
Also, Njegos’s precious personal belongings could be found in the museum: golden pen, ink pot, ring, agenda, personal weapons and national instrument gusle!
Njegos’ native home
Njegos’ native home, which is located in village Njegusi hamlet Erakovici , is now a museum which judging by the way it looks, gives a clear idea how Montenegrin houses looked at the beginning of XIX century. The space where Rade Tomov made his first steps and where he spent his childhood is full of ethnographic material and nice examples of handcraft tools which was unavoidable decoration of each Montenegrin home. With fine arts and other material, additional information is given about Petar II Petrovic and Petrovic dynasty.
The National Museum
The National Museum was established in 1890. From 1926 it was moved in the King Nikola I palace. The museum represents the reconstruction of the residence of the last Montenegrin ruler Nikola I. In it’s interior the work and living space of the King and his family has been reconstructed. In the room there are authentic samples of furniture and many other objects used in everyday life by the King and his family. The museum is in possession of many rich collections, with special place for important fine art collection.
As part of the National Museum, in the place of former house of family Martinovic, the gallery studio “Dado” was opened in 2002. The space of former atelier of artist Dado Djuric, has been transformed into place for promotion of Montenegrin art scene.
The Art Museum of Montenegro was founded in 1950, first as the Art Gallery of Montenegro. It is located in former Government House (Vladin dom). Its key collection of paintings is formed of five minor collections- Collection in memory of Milica Saric – Vukmanovic, Collection of copies of frescoes, Collection of Icons, Collection of Montenegrin paintings and Collection of Yugoslav people which represents an overview of XIX and XX century art with works of Serbian and Croatian romanticists with a slight tinge of academic realism by: Đura Jakšić, Đorđe Krstić, Novak Radpnjić, Stevan Aleksić, Vlaho Bukovac, Celestin Medović, Uroš Prdić, Paja Jovanović and others: then works of Serbian and Slovenien impresionists such as Milan Milovanović, Nadežda Petrović, Ivan Grohar, Matija Jame, Matija Sternen, Rihard Jakopić and others. Among expressionist, paintings of Jovan Bijelic, Petr Dobrović, Zora Petrović and Milan Konjevića stand out. Poetic Realism is represented in the paintings of Marko Čelebanović, Nedjeljko Gvozdenović, Peđa Milosavljević, Ivan Tabaković. Post-war art is represented by works of Aleksa Čelebanović, Rudolf Sabljic, Miodrag B. Protic , Marije Pregelja, Nikole Martinoskog and others.
Tripo Kokolj in his baroque paintings represents the commencement of collection of Montenegrin paintings proceeds with romantic, realistic and impressionist paintings by: Anastas i Špiro Boćarić , Milo Vrbica, Ilija Sobajić, Đoko Popović, Pero Poček, Kosta Milićevič and sculptures by Marko Brezanin and others. The secon part of the collection consists of paintings representing art of Sezanism, Post-cubism, Modern Classicism, Expressionism and Poetic Realism, those pieces of art were painted by Milo Milunovic, Mato Đuranović, Miloš Vušković, Mirko Kujačić, Mihailo Vukotić, Petar Lubarda, Jovan Zonjić, Milan Božović and sculptor Risto Stojović.
In the rich Post-War collection there are numerous works of painters and sculptors such as: Niko Đurović, Mirko Kujačić, Sav Vujović, Veliša Leković, Vuk Radović, Gojko Berkuljan, Aleksandar Prijić, Branko Filipović, Dado Đurić, Uroš Tošković, Vojo Stanić, Đorđe Pravilović, Nikola Vujošević, Miloš Šobajić, Dimitrije Popović, Slobodan Slovinić, Đeljoš Đokaj, Marko Borozan, Luka Tomanović, Stevan Luketić, Ante Grzetić, Drago Đurović and many other contemporary artists and sculptors.
Collection in memory of Milica Šaric – Vukmanovic as a legacy of Svetozara Vukmanovića – Tempa and his wife, contains a tinge of foreign artists : Renoir, Picasso, Chagall, Salvador Dali, Rivera, Renato Gutuzo, Decko Uzunov.
In the Collection of Icons, Icon Printing School of the bay of Kotor deserves special attention as well as a few old icons of foreign origin, while collection of Copies of Frescoes comprises copies of the most valuable works of fresco painting in Montenegro. The oldest icon in this collection is the Lady of Philerme. According to the legend, this icon was painted by angels. The icon is considered among 30 most famous christian relics. It became part of the museum collection in 2001. ( It is kept in the blue chapel of Government Home) , so that people could experience its cultural, religious, historicaal and art values.
National park Lovcen
National park Lovcen encompasses the central and the highest part of the Lovcen mountain chain, with over 6.220 hectare of territory. It has been proclaimed National Park in 1952. Located in in the southwest part of Montenegro between Skadar basin, and towers above the Bay of Boka Kotorska and Riviera of Budva. Lovcen rises from the edges of the see, and towers above the Bay of Boka, and shadows the old seafaring town of Kotor.
In a relatively small area numerous and various forms of terrain could be found, especially in the central part of mountain, where the Lovcen has it’s peaks on Stirovnik and Jezerski vrh. Its slopes are stony, with numerous hollows and deep clefts, thus giving specific look to the landscape.
As it is situated between two different nature components , sea and continent, Lovcen is impacted by both climate types. All those different impacts have influenced very rich and heterogeneous world of flora and fauna. Very important value of this national park is in its cultural and historical heritage.
The steep Lovcen’s serpentines are a unique architectural relic. The old road from Kotor leads through mountain Lovcen to Njegusi , a picturesque home village to both Petar I Petrovic the last royal ruler of Montenegro and Petar II Petrovic Njegos. Petar II Petrovic Njegos was a Montenegrin ruler and poet from XIX century.
The most grandiose monument of National park Lovcen is the Mausoleum of Njegos, built on Jezerski vrh, the poet himself chose this particular place for his grave during his lifetime.
In this area you can see the authentic folk architecture. Old stone houses, guvna – authentic places where villagers gathered for celebrations, as well as cottages in katuns – the summer settlements for farmers.
Nearby lookout point offers unforgettable panoramic view on the Bay of Kotor and Katun Province which famous poet Bernard Shaw named “ Stone Sea”.