When visiting a foreign country, especially the seaside, people often get so mesmerized by the beauty of the sights, that they tend to remain in the same place during their entire stay. I must admit I was one of those. But thank God I didn’t make the same mistake when I visited this little country in the Balkans called Montenegro. This country has an amazing coast but it has magnificent mountains as well, so I would have been truly sorry not to have seen bits of both.
Those travelers that have to experience have thought me that sometimes the best way to get the feel of a country is to visit its most important historic town, and in Montenegro, that town is certainly the Old Royal Capital Cetinje. I found it quite easy to get there from the seaside, and I guess it is the same case no matter where you are in the country, since Montenegro mostly lives off of tourism, so many transfer companies are available. If you really want to learn about the history of Montenegro and some fun, little-known facts, a guided tour is a warm recommendation.
On my tour, I have learned that the charming little town of Cetinje was founded back in the 15th century, by the ruler Ivan Crnojević. The town was named after a river Cetina which used to run through the field where the settlement was built.
According to my guide (who was excellent by the way) much of the history of Montenegro, both old and new, can be told here since Cetinje has always been in the middle of all the crucial developments in the country.
I went to visit the beautiful monastery of Cetinje, originally built by Ivan Crnojević in 15th century. Since then it was destroyed a few times but always rebuilt and in this current state, it has been standing since 1927. What I didn’t know is that this monastery holds some of the most sacred relics of Christianity, such as the hand of St. John the Baptist and the particle of the Holy Cross. The story about them was truly amazing, and everyone who visits should ask their guide about it, you will not regret it. The third relic which traveled with these two is the icon of Holy Mother Philermos, and that one is kept in The National Museum, which is also in Cetinje.
Since it is the old royal capital, here you will find the Royal Court where the famous Montenegrin Royal family Petrovići lived and ruled. When you book your tour you can go and visit the residence of the Royal Family and see how they used to live. I have learned that the last of them King Nikola I managed to form strong political ties with many of the big European countries by marrying his daughters off to those countries’ royal families, and in doing so, he secured Montenegro its independence at the Berlin Congress in 1878.
The Royal family were the patrons of art so this town is also a home of the Royal Theatre, the University of Arts, and the National Library of Montenegro.
Cetinje is a small town but full of life. It’s cobblestoned streets and fragrant linden trees have made me feel invigorated and truly happy to have come for a visit.
As far as the people go, apparently if you were to ask anyone from other cities in Montenegro, what are the inhabitants of Cetinje famous for you will most definitely hear stories about their unorthodox humor and great cuisine. Honestly as far as the food goes these people really know what they are doing.
Numerous restaurants offer a variety of amazing food from both Montenegrin and foreign cuisine. I can highly recommend anything domestic, cause I tried a lot. The people here will brag about their smoked ham, which is a specialty in this area and when you try it you will understand why, they will teach you to drink their brandy, which is quite strong but delicious and does not miss an opportunity to try the cheese they make.
.If you are more of an adventurous type, and you want to spend your day truly exploring everything there is to see here, you can, like I have, go and climb the many steps to the top of Mount Lovćen. The climb is not easy but the more you go up the more breathtaking the view is and once you reach the top you will feel invincible. Along the way, your guide will tell you the story of the ruler of Montenegro Petar II PetrovićNjegoš who is buried on the top of the mountain in a magnificent mausoleum.
The vistas from the top are stunning to say the least. It is important to say that no bad photo can be taken here.
The mountain itself is a part of a National Park Lovćen (one of five National Parks in the country) and it slopes down south all the way to the Adriatic sea. Over 1 500 types of plants grow here, and that is one of the reasons the state decided to protect the area.
Once we came down the steps (and that was much easier) it was time to leave this beautiful little town and go back to the seaside.
I was so happy to have decided to visit Cetinjecause here one can learn a lot of history, see a lot of monuments, taste some amazing food and drinks and make great photos