Cetinje

cetinjeCetinje is the honorary capital of Montenegro. The town offers historical and cultural influences as well as modern amenities. The small city sits on a landscape surrounded by Mt. Lovcen as well as other limestone mountains.

The town’s historical heritage is vast. It was founded during the 15th century and quickly became the center of life and culture for Montenegrin people. It is due to this vast heritage that Cetinje is now the honorary capital of Montenegro.

Turkish fueled conflicts led Ivan Crnojevic, ruler of Zeta, to move his country’s capital to Mt. Lovcen. In Cetinje in 1482, Crnojevic’s court was constructed and a monastery followed just two years later. With the building of the monastery and court, this new capital was founded and called Cetinje, for the River Cetina. The monastery quickly became home for the Zeta metropolitan region so the town was considered not only the center for the material life but for the spiritual as well.

Progress was interrupted during the final years of the 15th century. Zeta lost independence in 1499 and the only free region of the territory lay between the Bay of Kotor and the Crnojevic River. During the following two centuries, the city slowed development. It fell under Venetian and Turkish rule and during the 16th and 17th centuries, the monastery was destroyed. During the latter years of the 17th century, Cetinje was under rule by the Petrovic Dynasty and began once again to grow.

When Montenegro gained its independence in 1878, Cetinje became its capital. Buildings were modernized and foreign consulate buildings were constructed for French, Italian, British, Russian and Austro-Hunarian rulers. Under rule of Prince Nikola I Petrovic, Cetinje began to make great progress. The first hotel, the Lokanda, was built as well as the Prince’s Palace and a hospital. When Montenegro was declared a kingdom in 1910, Cetinja experienced even more development. The Government House was built and the population of the city grew to more than 5,000 citizens.

Between the first and second World Wars, Cetinje expanded its boundaries and when the Parliament of Montenegro decided to move the administrative center to Titograd, the city when through harder financial and economic times. Building industrial regions while neglecting the cultural and traditional capacities lost the city its hold on prosperity. During the end of World War II, the city was neglected as a destination for tourism and developed its industrial center. Today however, tourism is alive and well in Cetinje.

The city offers a number of interesting sights including the Cetinje Monastery, the Vlaska Church which was built in 1450, the Zetski dom royal Theater and many historical foreign embassies all of which offer ancient architecture and historical importance. Cetinje holds the oldest libraries in all of Montenegro as well. The Library of Cetinje Monastery was founded at the end of the 15th century and contains Cyrillic manuscripts and other historical liturgical books.

Cetinje is connected via three lane motorways to Budva and Podgorica with each town lying about 19 miles from the city. An old historic road that runs from Kotor to Cetinje offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes and the Bay of Kotor.

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