An Adriatic jewel, this small country is teeming with rich culture, diverse landscapes, and surprising features. Montenegro’s array of superlatives paints a vivid picture of a country that consistently punches above its weight. Prepare to be intrigued and inspired as we embark on this fascinating exploration of interesting facts about Montenegro and its record-breaking features and achievements.
Montenegro is home to the Tara River Canyon that flows through Durmitor National Park, the deepest canyon in Europe and the second deepest in the world. Also known as the Tara River Gorge, it is one of the most striking natural features of the country and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses an array of rugged peaks, glacial lakes, and verdant pine forests. It is a paradise for thrill-seekers, offering many opportunities for white-water rafting, hiking, canyoning, and zip-lining. Visitors can experience breathtaking views from the Đurđevića Tara Bridge, an engineering masterpiece that arches 170 metres above the river.
It’s a common belief that the Dutch people are the world’s tallest nation. However, recent research contradicts this, indicating that the people living in the Balkans are, in fact, taller. Moreover, the more current data implies that Montenegro is home to the tallest population in the world, with an average height of 183 m (6 ft). That highlander height doesn’t come as a surprise, considering a big part of the country’s landscape is mountainous terrain.
Located in the town of Bar, Montenegro, there’s a remarkable natural and historical phenomenon – an ancient olive tree, known as the “Stara Maslina”. This old olive tree is one of the oldest in the world and certainly the oldest in Europe, and it’s believed to be around 2,000 years old, although some estimates place it as older, up to 2,400 years. Despite its age it still produces olives, showcasing its resilience and strength. According to the legend, feuding families would come together around this olive tree to reconcile their differences and restore harmony.
The Mausoleum of Njegoš, located in Lovćen National Park, holds the title of the highest mausoleum in the world, at an altitude of 1,657 metres, on the second-highest peak of the Lovćen mountain range. It is dedicated to Petar II Petrović Njegoš, a Montenegrin poet and philosopher who served as the country’s bishop and ruler in the 19th century. To reach the mausoleum, you must ascend a total of 461 steps. At the top, they are greeted by a chapel housing Njegoš’s tomb and a 28-ton statue of the poet. Even if historical attractions don’t typically captivate you, the view alone makes the climb worthwhile. On clear days, the sweeping view stretches all the way to the Adriatic Sea.
Skadar Lake distinguishes itself as the largest lake in the Balkans and additionally holds the title of the greatest cryptodepression in Europe, attributed to its unique position six metres beneath sea level. Stretching across Montenegro and Albania, it boasts an impressive display of biodiversity and natural beauty. It is one of the five national parks of Montenegro and an important habitat for aquatic birds in Europe, with pelicans, storks, and ibis being one of the many bird species you can spot here. Boat tours, bird watching, swimming, and kayaking are among the most popular activities here.
The Crnojević printing house, also known as Cetinje printing house or Štamparija Crnojevića in Montenegrin, holds the honour of being the first national printing house in the world. It was established in 1493 by Đurađ Crnojević, the ruler of Zeta (an old name for Montenegro), in Cetinje. The first book printed here was “Oktoih Prvoglasnik”, in 1494. It was the first printed Cyrillic book among the South Slavs, as well as the inaugural Montenegrin and Orthodox liturgical publication. It contributed greatly to the spread of literacy in this region and made books accessible to the literate population.
When it was completed in 1973, Mala Rijeka Viaduct was the highest railway bridge in the world. It is a part of the Belgrade-Bar railway and is noted for its impressive height, making it the highest railway bridge in Europe. It is located between the stations of Kolašin and Podgorica, in a section of the railway known for its challenging terrain.
From the towering heights of its citizens and mountainous peaks to the depths of its lakes and canyons, from its ancient olive tree to the world’s highest mausoleum, Montenegro defies expectations in more ways than one. While it might be a small country on the map, these interesting facts about Montenegro and its unique record-breaking features certainly place it on the global stage.