Montenegro - the Adriatic's last undiscovered secret...

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Montenegro - Culture & Art

Cultures that exist in today’s Montenegro contain traces and influences of Mediterranean, Central European, Eastern European and Oriental civilizations from various times.

In the village Lipci near Risan, in a cave, prehistoric man had painted a deer hunt and a ship. In the opposite part of Montenegro, high in the mountain Prokletije, prehistoric man had drawn himself and wolf on a stone plate. At the prehistoric site Crvena stijena (Red Rock) near the village of Petrovići, 30 km from Nikšić, a 31 cultural layer was discovered.

In some parts of the country, in unpopulated areas, you can find large tombstone, standing tomb-stones, altars and foundations of pagan temples. In villages you can still hear many old traditions. Legends say that those who rescued from Atlantis settled in the Bay of Kotor. Some believe that Homer’s Troy once flourished near Skadar Lake. Some claim that the Celts named major mountains and rivers…

The Illyrians, Hellenes, Romans, Slavs, Turks … they all tended to leave traces of their homeland on these new shores incorporating pieces of their own traditions in Montenegro’s wildness – in stone, language, image, sound, respect for God … Archaeological sites and museums keep their traces. The remains of old Roman temples have been standing here for two thousand years as well as aqueducts, cities, bridges (Risan, Budva, Akruvium, Ulcinj, Doclea, Municipium S)…

Perhaps this eternal interweaving of cultures and artistic influences is the thing that is most beautiful in Montenegro, what has resulted from continuous movement and touching of tribes and nations. Interweaving of East and West, paganism and Christianity, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, Christianity and Islam, Byzantine and Romanesque postulates, traditions and modern times … they have all influenced on the development of artists.

The cult of beauty of the word lives even today. Through the centuries of the struggle for the preservation or gaining freedom, through the centuries of poverty and hunger, word managed to preserve its dignity and strength and it is the one which gave meaning to life. That is why it was cherished with special care. Art is also typical to this area. Frescoes and icons of known and unknown artists, ornaments in stone, silver and gold and engraving kept in temples have great value. The new age is marked by painters and other artists who are highly respected in Europe and worldwide.

It is hard to resist the charm of medieval towns and fortresses on the Montenegrin coast

  • Old Towns and Temples

It is hard to resist the charm of medieval towns and fortresses on Montenegrin coast: Budva, Kotor, Risan, Perast, Herceg Novi, Bar, Ulcinj …

This is where Byzantine school and Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque waves in architecture, stone sculptures and paintings are touching and interweaving. The city of Kotor is, as part of the world cultural heritage, under UNESCO’s protection.

A substantial part of the old religious architecture is also well preserved. The following monasteries single out for their monumentality and beauty: the monasteries of Morača, Piva, Sveta Trojica (Holy Trinity), Đurđevi stupovi, Savina and Ostrog – one of the world’s greatest shrines. There is also the St. Trifun Cathedral; Gospa od Skrpijela (Church of Our Lady of the Rocks) …

As for Islamic religious objects Husein Pašina Džamija (Hussein-Pasha’s Mosque) in Pljevlja stands out for its beauty.

  • Artists

Monastery treasuries keep medieval hand-written books. One of the oldest and most beautiful is Miroslavljevo jevanđelje (Miroslav’s Gospel), written in the 12th century in the Church of St. Petar in Bijelo Polje.

In 1493 the Crnojevic’s printing house placed on the hill Obod printed “Oktoih prvoglasnik” – the first printed book among the Southern Slavs. Great achievements in the 19th century literature inspired writers of the 20th century, and tradition of great storytellers and keepers of the language is cherished even today.

Folk literature is also of exceptional value and Europe had discovered it only in the 19th century. Stories, poems, legends, fairytales, anecdotes and proverbs are derived from life in beautiful nature which even when it was not so king to people brought joy to them and they admired it deeply. The nature also had large influence on artists: most are obsessively devoted to the landscapes and expressive expression.

In Montenegro today all contemporary music trends are present. There is a growing number of singers and composers of pop music who are very popular in the region.

  • Cultural Events

During the three summer months, especially on the coast, various events of mixed contents are held – concerts, literary evenings, exhibitions, theater plays and performances.

The programs are diverse and of high quality, evening or all-day programs, and often world-famous artists take part.

In summer music and film festivals are held as well as book fairs and art colonies – most often under the open sky.

During the winter, holidays in the glory of flowers or wine are organized with rich cultural program.