Easily reached by car from Podgorica and Budva, or via the steep and scenic serpentine road from Kotor, Cetinje is a town of surprising historical heritage and is well worth a visit to understand the fascinating history of this country. The nation’s official capital may have shifted to Podgorica, but verdant Cetinje, with its pastel façades and blooming summer Linden trees, remains its historical and cultural heart. A half-day visit combined with a walk on Mount Lovcen for example, makes for an excellent excursion.
The cradle of Montenegrin civilization and its Eastern Orthodox religion, as well as its cultural and educational centre, Cetinje was founded in the 1500s after incursions from the Venetian Republic and the Ottoman Empire pushed the local population away from the inland valleys and coast up into the mountains, to its current location on a small plateau in the midst of inaccessible peaks. Easily defended, it remained unconquered until World War II. A manifestation of Montenegro’s mountain culture and independent spirit, roads into town were’t laid until the 20th century, while it’s oldest building, the 1450 Vlaska Church ( (Court Church) was constructed with a fence fashioned from the barrels of captured enemy rifles. But Cetinje is best known for its cultural past, once attracting freethinking rebels, intellectuals, and artistic figures, from all over Montenegro and Eastern Europe. Under King Nikola’s reign in the 19th and 20th century’s splendid public buildings with a Montenegrin court were constructed. Noted for savvy diplomacy and strategic marriages, the king issued a constitution, welcomed a free press, and erected an array of impressive embassies Austro- Hungarian, British, French, Italian and Russian which survive to this day.
- Explore the National Museum of Montenegro, a collection of five buildings, including the modest former royal palace
- Lunch at Belvedere Restaurant: one of the best views in the country
- Strolling Cetinje’s wide streets lined in pastel-coloured houses
- Marveling at the diorama of Montenegro, a full scale model of the entire state
- Visit village Njegusi in Cetinje municipality and explore its significant well-preserved traditional folk architecture
- Taste the cheese and “Prsut” ham that this area is famous for