Cetinje

Montenegro's former capital, Cetinje a town of great historical heritage was founded in the 15th century.

The founding of Cetinje was the result of incursions on the part of the Venetian Republic (from the north and the west) and the Ottoman Empire (from the south and the east) which squeezed the local population away from the inland valleys and coast and into the mountains. Located on a small plateau in the midst of inaccesible, rocky peaks, Cetinje could be easily defended and, indeed, remained unconquered until world war II. In a way, the town is the physical manifestion of Montenegro's mountain culture and independent spirit.

Although a longtime royal stronghold, it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that many of the town's great public buildings were constructed. In the 19th century, the Montenegrin court was known for its able diplomacy, resulting in many strategic marriages and the construction of very impressive embassies, all of which survive to this day. The most important of these are the Austro-Hungarian, British, French, Italian and Russian.

Cetinje is the site of the National Museum of Montenegro, a collection of five buildings (including the impressively modest royal palace) that are worth a visit to understand the fascinating history of this country. Although roads to Cetinje were not built until the early 20th century, it can be easly reached by car from Budva, as well as from Kotor via the very scenic old road.

The nation's official capital may have shifted to Podgorica, but verdan Cetinje, with its pastel facades and blooming summer Linden trees, remains its historical and cultural heart.

Things to do

  • Explore the National Museum of Montenegro

  • Lunch at Belvedere Restaurant: one of the best views in the country

  • Strolling down its wide, paste coloured streets

  • Marvelling at the diorama of Montenegro, a full scale model of the entire state