Pljevlja and its surroundings have a very turbulent and rich history. The oldest preserved traces of human life comes from the second millennium BC and belonged to the early Bronze Age. Archeological findings testify to the lives of people in this area which were discovered in the village Gotovuša, about ten kilometers north-west from the town. There were found “tumuli” (grave embankment of earth and stone), pins, buckles-fibula, spiral bracelets, rings of bronze and other objects. From this period is also one finding of rings and beads, in Kalušići. In the second half of the first millennium BC, this area was inhabited by tribes Pirusta who were skilled miners and brave warriors. Pirusta in the third century BC has become a part of a large tribal alliance, known as the Illyrian state. The presence of Roman civilization, from first to fourth century, confirme excavations of village Municipium S found in the husk. Only the first letter of its name is known, because it is the only letter on the tombstones. It is believed that Municipium S was formed in the second century AD, and also that it was one of the most important municipal (municipal) villages in the interior province of Dalmatia, in which all the band entered the field of lyric. Despite the strong Roman influence, Illyrian element has long been held, which gradually accepted Roman culture, and in the third and Fourth Ages also the Christian religion, but also managed to maintain its individuality. Situated at an important line of communication with which Roman legions moved from Salona (Solin) towards inner Municipium S, it had strategic and economic importance, and was the center of a large military and administrative areas. Wider environment of Pljevlja is also rich in archaeological finds from this period. So in Potpec, 14 kilometers south of Pljevlja, was noted the existence of a small Roman settlement, the Lever Tara where were discovered the remains of the temple in honor of the Roman god Mithras, and along the Roman road a number of milestones.
Arrival of Slavs in late sixth and early seventh century has stopped the strong economic and cultural development of this area, nad probably at that time Municipium S was destroyed. Slightly later Slovenian towns start to grow in ruins or in the vicinity of the existing major settlements. Thus, in the vicinity Municipium S formed early Slovenian resort, which is in the writings of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine in the tenth century, mentions a city Breznik. City Breznik whole area and were later in the state of Raska. At the end of the fifteenth century Pljevlja fall under Turkish rule. With the arrival of the Turks Pljevlja was given a new name – Taslidža, which means a stone bath. Economic development did not stagnate, but on the contrary, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was developed into a strong center of trade and craft center. Because of this in 1575 the seat of herecegovačkog Sanjak bey was moved from Foca to Pljevlja, where he remained until 1833, and then moved to Mostar. At that time Pljevlja was the largest city in Herzegovina after Mostar. From eighteenth-century economic development of Pljevlja was stagnating as a result of a strong Turkish influence of the feudal system. The position of the Christian population began to deteriorate rapidly with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Duties are continually multiplied and increased, a robbery and assault were more common.
Tenth of September 1879 in Pljevlja entered Austougarska army that kept them under its rule until 1908. Under the provisions of Berlin Congress, besides the right to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Austro-Hungarian empire was tacitly acknowledged a special interest in Sandzak by allowing to keep its army in Pljevlja, Priboj and Prijepolje . Nearly thirty years of presence of the Austrian army was reflected in the economic and social life in Pljevlja. For needs of garrisonthere were built fashionable military camps and other tourist attractions, with wich they wanted to show the superiority of European civilization. The Turkish authorities have accepted the challenge and began to raise more public facilities. Thanks to that township of Pljevlja has changed its appearance. Based on the Turkish census of 1908, Pljevlja had 14 000 inhabitants. After the second Balkan War, with an agreement between Kingdom of Serbia and Montenegro, formalized in 1913th in Bukurest, for the first time Pljevlja became part of Montenegro.
The outbreak of World War II, Pljevlja division of 6000 soldiers joined the Montenegrin Sandzak Army, which was commanded by sirdar Janko Vukotic in all operations and participated in the famous battle Mojkovac 7th January 1916.
With the creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. the municipality was being divided into two districts – pljevaljski and boljanički, and in 1929 was incorporated into the Zeta provinces.
In World War II Pljevlja also suffered great pain and suffering. Besides 570 deaths of partisan fighters in Pljevlja 1830 there were more victims of the war. On the night of December 1st 1941, took place the famous battle of Pljevlja. The occupation of the city during the war replaced the Italian and the German army. Pljevlja was first released 22nd September and was free until 15 December 1943. Final release happened 20th November 1944. Today it is celebrated as the day of the municipality of Pljevlja.
According to the latest census in the territory of the municipality Pljevlja in 2003 there were 35 751 inhabitants. Here’s how the population, according to available data varied since 1921:
• 1921 – 26 798,
• 1931 – 31 436,
• 1948 – 35 926,
• 1953 – 40 876,
• 1961 – 46 677,
• 1971 – 46 843,
• 1981 – 43 316,
• 1991 – 39 578,
• 2003 – 35751.
Arrival of the Romans
It is believed that the first settlement at the site of today’s Pljevlja occurred at the time of the Illyrians, specifically their tribe Pirusta in III-II century BC. Romans then took away Pljevlja from Illyrians and came to this region around the first century AD. There are opinions that in that time a bigger city had already emerged in this region that belonged to the province of Dalmatia. Previous archaeological investigations at the site Komini village, 3 km west of Pljevlja confirmed that in this area was the city with all the urban amenities. Only the first letter of the town is known so the site is named Municipium “S”.
Arrival of the Slavs
Arrival of Slavs is not precisely dated, probably it is a 6-7 century. The settlement built by Slavs was erected on ruins of the Roman town Breznica and was named after the river Breznica which runs the entire length of Pljevlja basin. Breznica – the name of the village, and the name of the old Serbian Parish, remained until the thirties of the fifteenth century when the documents first mention Pljevlja. Apparently Pljevlja have been an important commercial city on the crossroads of Dubrovnik, Kotor, and Bosnia to Istanbul.
As its name Pljevlja
Legend tells that Pljevlja was named after the”ljeva”, which was dispersed by the wind through the city with a rich monastery estates in which was developing grain. Richness of the city was significantly contributed by trade and caravan route to Constantinople, and also mining. In the mine “Hollow Rock” lead and zinc were extracted even by Saxons. People from Pljevlja exported leather, wax, lead, mercury in considerable quantities first through Dubrovnik and later alone, in Italy … With the Turks , Pljevlja in the sixteenth century changes the name again in Raslidža (Taslidža), which in Turkish means – stone bath. During the Turkish rule, Pljevlja remained a significant urban center and the famous shopping center. Since 1580 to 1833 was the seat of Herzegovina Sandzak-beg, and in the seventeenth century for a certain period of time the seat of Herzegovina. It was considered the largest city of Herzegovina after Mostar. By the writing of Evdije Celebi, Pljevlja was completely burned in 1682 in great fire, and in 1818 in the explosion of gunpowder burned the entire downtown and killed many people. Austro-Hungarian army in 1879 came to Pljevlja and established a military garrison. During the next thirty years in Pljevlja existed Austro-Hungarian army and the Turkish civil authorities.
Austro-Hungarian empire left Pljevlja in 1908, and Montenegro and Serbia were liberated from the Turks on 27 October 1912, after nearly 450 years.
In such a turbulent past, in which were often alternated lords and rulers, many historical monuments were destroyed or damaged. Some of them were destroyed in the battles for the conquest of Pljevlja, part of them perished in the fires that have hit Pljevlja two times, as recorded, and some of them were destroyed with time and human neglect.
The remains of the Illyrian “tumuli” are scattered in several places in Pljevlja area and they are the only testimony of Illyrian presence in our region.
Roman Town – Municiipijum S
Certainly the most important remains of antiquity, is the archaeological site of Roman town “Municipuium S”, 3 km southwest of the village Komini. On several acres, under a thin layer of soil, lay the contours of the Roman city with walls, monumental building, city streets and necropolis. Detailed archaeological excavations were carried out only on two necropolis found were detailed research. Younger called. Nekroplola II is more extensive and richer with archaeological material. Both can be dated between the second and fourth century AD. In the necropolis II have been found items related to the Roman religion, culture, economics and many articles for daily use. All the moving material from this site is located in Regional Museum in Pljevlja.
There are more medieval monuments and they are different degrees of preservation. Near the village Kozice, 20 km from Pljevlja, are the remains of city Koznik that documents mention in the first half of the fifteenth century and which is likely to be the protection of the nearby mines of lead and zinc.
Ten kilometers away from Pljevlja on the hill Kukanj are the ruins of large summer residence of the famous Herceg Stjepan Vukovic-Kosače, from the first half of the fifteenth century. City Kukanj is mentioned many times in the documents contained in Dubrovnik archives. It was built on a hill above Čehotina, Kukanj completely dominates the surroundings. Even the ruins of his work is powerful, it is possible to locate the tower, watchtower, the walls that surrounded the city. It was destroyed by Turks probably after 1465, when they defeated Herceg Stjepan the second time and when Pljevlja and its area fell under the rule of Turks.
Homeland Museum in Pljevlja was founded in 1952, and is located in a not quite adequate space in the Cultural Center. For its status the museum is of a complex type, with the departments of History, Archaeology and Ethnology and valuable collection of art by famous yugoslav authors from XIX and XX century.
Extremely rich fund of about 5000 museum units and large study material from the previously investigated sites, virtually continuously monitors the history of human life in the region od Pljevlja area of the early prehistory to the present, which is about twenty thousand years. Tens of thousands of excavated “kremnih”, stone and bone artifacts are the result of years of research with the prehistoric human dwellings in the canyon of the river Ćehotina, cave under the top of Gospic, Malisina rocks, ect. dating in the oldest explored prehistoric human settlements in the territory of Montenegro.
By obtaining a more adequate space adequate to its great possibilities, the museum would significantly contribute to the cultural and tourist offer of the city.
Monasteries and churches
At about 1.5 km from the city, straitened rocks, surrounded by lush greenery and calmness that disturbs only the murmur of Biserka is the monastery of Holy Trinity (in some documents referred to as the Vrhobreznica). Most likely built on the ruins of the monastery of Nemanjic period. The first written document of the “Holy Trinity” comes from 1537, when it was mentioned jeremonah Sava, the first known trojički copyist. Repeatedly rebuilt and upgraded, the current form dates from XVI century when in the time of Abbot Visarion was built the main church. At the end of the same century, it was added the porch, the gift from monk George Poblaćanin, his son Ananije and nephew of landowners Vojin. The narthex and nave were painted by the end of the sixteenth century. The painting was done by Strahinja of Budimlja, a respected biographer who painted a number of churches and monasteries in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. In the XVI, XVII and XVIII century monastery of the Holy Trinity was known as a very significant scribal and literary center. Dozens of manuscripts created in the “Holy Trinity” as the work of trojičkih diac (scribes). The most important creator in this area is famous Gabriel Trojičanin who has, between 1633 and 1651, overwritten several books of which the best known are: Šestodnev Jovana Egzarha, Kozma Indikoplov, continued Vrhobrezničkog Hronografa, several Psaltira and several important books. Simultaneously with Gabriel Trojičaninom in the monastery worked an iluminahor and icon painter Andrija Raičević who has adorned manuscripts Šestodnev i Kozma Indikoplov very succesfully. For Raicevic binds several icons created in mid-seventeenth century. In the monastery library are stored valuable books on parchment and paper from the XIII and XIV century and known correction sheets. Mileseva printing from 1557, which are among the oldest previously known orekturne handles. There are 824 Turkish documents relating to the monastery or on its numerous properties. Unfortunately some of the important manuscripts created in the “Holy Trinity” are found in foreign museums and archives: in Prague is part of Vrhobremničkog chronograph (Chronicles)and one psalter, in Russia in St. Petersbur is the known officer of Pljevlja from the fourteenth century. The monastery treasury, in addition to more valuable items of silver, gold and timber related to worship, “Sharjah” and valuable old fabrics and ecclesiastical embroidery, chains for the books, a large golden chalice Abbot Stephen, very famous, exceptionally crafted Kivot (Darohranilica from 1576.), Silver chained “stick” Saint Sava … It contains the objects came from a workshop of the famous goldsmith John Hočanina (Fočanina) of the sixteenth century. In the monastery are kept doors and two choirs which were done in very rare and expensive technique of bone inlays. In the fire in 1859, monastery lodgings were completely burned and were masterfully restored some time later and with the church in the middle make a harmonious whole. Monastery of Holy Trinity for all the time the Turkish government was one of the most important religious, educational, cultural and national headquarters of the Orthodox population, not only of Pljevlja area but for the population of Montenegro, for the so-called Old Raska and Sanjak of Herzegovina. In addition to the Monastery of Holy Trinity as the oldest and most important Orthodox church, in Pljevlja area are the remains or were mentioned in the documents about fifteen monasteries and churches from Nemanjic period and somewhat later period. In Djurdjevića Tara, 35 km from Pljevlja these years is being renewed Monastery of St. Archangel Michael from the fourteenth century, that was destroyed at the end of the last century.
In the second half of the sixteenth century, more specifically around 1570, church of Saint Nicholas in Dubočica was built. With the construction of artificial lake in Ćehotina for needs of termal in Pljevlja, the original church was relocated in Otiloviše ten kilometers away and completely restored. At about 5 km from Pljevlja, the Ilino hill is the church of St. Elias from 1769, many times demolished and rebuilt. It was not until 1927 in Pljevlja was built, at the intersection of the town, church dedicated to Mother Paraskeva Prepodobna popularly known as Saint Petka. Date 27 October is very important for Pljevlja and people that live there. That day 1912 Pljevlja was exempt from the Turks, after many centuries of slavery and on the same date in 1918 by Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War II.
Hussein Pasha Mosque
In time of occurrence of Hussein-Pasha Mosque there are no completely accurate data. It was built probably in 1569, as the foundation of a high dignitary in the Turkish government of that time Boljanic Hussein Pasha, who is originally from the village Poljanic, twenty kilometers from the town.
The kinship with the famous and very powerful vizier of Mohammed Pasha Sokolovic and probably under his auspices, Hussein Pasha Boljanić in the second half of the sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, the imperial court in Constantinople made an extraordinary career. Among other things he was governor of Misiru (Egypt) with the title of royal vizier, governor of Baghdad, governor of Sanjak of Herzegovina and the Bosnian governor Ealjata. In accordance with Turkish customs of that time, he gave the mosque to his homeland with all related facilities, “šedrovan” (fountain), the clock tower, a caravanserai, bazaar and hammam. Today, the mosque, is still partially preserved: beautifully crafted water fontana and clock tower.
Some believe that the Hussein-Pasha Mosque was built by the plans of the known masters Harduin who also designed the Mostar Bridge. In any case, though not big, the mosque is one of the most harmonious and beautiful Islamic shrines in the Balkans. With its 42 meters height, slender minaret, with several domes and two blinds, decorative domes, an extraordinarily successful exterior and interior decoration, it is a high architectural masterpiece of harmony and originality. In the mosque are kept one of the most beautiful Islamic manuscripts, and more valuable old books, especially the Koran known from the sixteenth century, and the whole interior of the mosque is a veiled with old expensive carpets.
Besides Hussein Pasha or so called Great Mosque in Pljevlja there are three mosques: Rizvanija near Miletus-gardens, and mosques in Jalija and behind the Fire station.