Cetinje: Wikis


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Coat of arms
Cetinje is located in Montenegro
Location of Cetinje
Coordinates: 42°23′N 18°55′E / 42.38°N 18.92°E / 42.38; 18.92
Country  Montenegro
Settlements 94
 - Mayor Milovan Janković (DPS) (DPS - SDP)
 - Total 910 km2 (351.4 sq mi)
Population (2003 census)
 - Total 15,137
 Density 20/km2 (51.8/sq mi)
 - Municipality 18,482
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 81250
Area code +382 41
ISO 3166-2 code ME-06
Car plates CT
Website http://www.cetinje.me/
Presidential Palace

Cetinje (Serbian: Цетиње, Cetinje, Italian: Cettigne, Greek: Κετίγνη, Ketígni, Turkish: Çetince) is a town in Montenegro, located at ( 42°23′11″N 18°55′30″E / 42.38639°N 18.925°E / 42.38639; 18.925 ). It is also a historical and the secondary capital of Montenegro (Пријестоница/Prijestonica), with the official residence of the President of Montenegro. It had a population of 15,137 as of 2003.

It is located in the southern Montenegro municipality of the same name (population 18,482 in 2003). The city nestles on a small karst plain surrounded by limestone mountains, including Mt. Lovćen, the Black Mountain from which Montenegro gets its name.

Cetinje is a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the center of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin and an Eastern Orthodox religious center. It is because of its heritage as a long-term Montenegrin capital that it is today the honorary capital of Montenegro.



The founding of Cetinje was conditioned by the historical, political, and economic background in the 15th century. Wars of conquest led by the Turks forced Ivan Crnojević, the ruler of Zeta at that time, to move the capital of his country from the fortified town of Žabljak to the inaccessible parts, to Obod in 1475, and soon after it at the foot of Mt. Lovćen. In the field of Cetinje in 1482 his court was built and two years later the monastery was built as well. By building the court and the monastery a new capital was founded. Its name was Cetinje. It was named after the River Cetina that runs through it. The new monastery became the domicile of the Zeta metropolitan. So, Cetinje turned out to be not only the center of secular life but also the spiritual center where Đurađ Crnojević, the son to Ivan Crnojević, founded the first printing house in the Slavic South.

Rapid progress of Cetinje under the rule of the Crnojević dynasty was interrupted at the very end of the 15th century. Actually, Zeta lost its independence in 1499 so the only free part of the country, which was called Montenegro since then, was reduced to a mountainous territory between Crnojević River and The Bay of Kotor.

In the next two centuries Cetinje stagnated in its development. It was very often under the attack of Venice and the Turks. So, in the 16th and 17th century Cetinje was exposed to tough temptations. In this period the court and the monastery of the Crnojevići dynasty were destroyed. It was only by the end of the 17th century, in 1697, that Cetinje began to flourish again under the rule of the Petrović dynasty and Danilo Petrović as its founder.

Leading the liberation wars and strengthening the unity in the country preoccupied Danilo and his successors. They didn’t have enough time to dedicate to the building of Cetinje. It was only during the rule of Petar II Petrović Njegoš that the remarkable progress has been made. In 1838 his new royal residence called Biljarda (Billiard house) was built. Cetinje was enlarged by building new houses that gradually led to urbanization.

Montenegrin independence was recognized by the decision of the Berlin Congress (1878) and so Cetinje became the capital of a European country.

Many modern buildings designed for foreign consulates were built due to the newly established relations with various European countries. The buildings of the French, Russian, British, Italian and Austro-Hungarian consulates are regarded as the most beautiful of these.

Cetinje made great progress under the rule of Prince Nikola I Petrović when numerous public edifices were built. Those include the first hotel, called ‘Lokanda’, then the new Prince’s palace, the Girls’ Institute and the hospital. This period also saw the first tenancy houses. In the 1860 report Cetinja had 34 households.

Montenegro was proclaimed a kingdom in 1910. This had a great effect on its development. At this time the Government House, the symbol of state power, was built. The population census from the same year recorded a massive growth in the world's smallest capital, registering 5,895 inhabitants.

Between 1878 and 1914 Cetinje flourished in every sense. Many renowned intellectuals from other South-Slavic parts came to stay there and made a contribution to the cultural, educational and every other aspect of life.

At the time between the two World Wars, Cetinje expanded its territory, as it was now a centre of the Zeta region. But when it was decided by the Parliament of Montenegro that the administrative organs should be located in Titograd (previously and presently Podgorica), Cetinje went through a harsh crisis. By building certain industrial sections and at the same time neglecting the development of the city's traditional and potential cultural and tourist capacities, the chance to create a strong basis for more solid prosperity was lost.


Cetinje is the administrative centre of Cetinje municipality, which has a population of 18,482. The town of Cetinje itself has 15,137 citizens, and is the only town in the municipality with a population of over 1,000.

Population of Cetinje:

  • March 3, 1981 - 14,088
  • March 3, 1991 - 15,946
  • November 1, 2003 - 18,482

Ethnic groups (1910 census):

Ethnic groups (1991 census):

Ethnic groups (2003 census):

  • Total - 18,482


Court Church in Cetinje

Cetinje was neglected as a tourist destination for a long time after the end of World War II. Instead, it was developed as an industrial center, with footwear and white goods factories (which eventually closed down with the collapse of the socialist economy).

This proved to be a mistake, as Cetinje has favourable conditions for the development of tourism. Its attractions are unlike those of the coastal resorts of Budva or Kotor - Cetinje is mainly attractive as the cultural and spiritual centre of Montenegro, vital for understanding Montenegro's history.

Cetinje has numerous points of interest, among which are Cetinje Monastery, Vlaška church (built in 1450, with its fence made out of barrels of captured enemy rifles), Biljarda, numerous museums, Zetski dom royal theatre and historic foreign embassies. Many of the old embassies and other administrative buildings are now schools of various kinds, and the town has many young people.

Cetinje Monastery

With the privatization of the "Grand Hotel" and relocation of some administrative offices from Podgorica to Cetinje, it is expected that Cetinje will recover from neglect to become a significant point of interest on Montenegro's tourism map.

For the tourist with a car, Cetinje is easily accessible from Budva on the coast, and for the more venturesome, up the steep road from Kotor. There is a natural two or three-day tourist driving route from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to: Cavtat, Kotor, and Budva, Cetinje in the mountains, Ostrog Monastery in the high cliff, and back down the mountains through Bosnia/Serbia to Dubrovnik.

In the near of Cetinje on the ground owned by family Vujovic is Lipska pecina, according to several sources one of the biggest caves in the former Yugoslavia. It starts in the village Lipa (on ground owned by family Vujovic) and end in the mountains directly over the Adriatic sea. The cave was open for tourists with a guide till 1967, since then only for organised private visits.


“Zetski Dom” Theatre

Cetinje has been the cultural and educational centre of Montenegro for five centuries. There are five republic institutions: Đurđe Crnojević Central National Library, the National Museum of Montenegro, the Archives of Montenegro, the Republic Institute for Preserving Cultural Heritage and the Zetski Dom Montenegrin Royal National Theatre. All these institutions keep, process, and provide public access to enormous literary treasure, and protect both mobile and immobile cultural monuments throughout Montenegro. The oldest - and for a long time the most important - cultural institution in the town is the monastery of Cetinje.

Printing houses

Cetinje has a rich publishing and printing tradition. The Printing House of Crnojevići (1492-1496) and the books published there are of great importance for Montenegrin culture and history as well as for the culture of other Orthodox Balkan peoples. Its greatest contribution refers to spreading Cyrillic type. Thus, it represents an important link in a chain of world culture. There were a number of printing houses that continued this great printing tradition. These are: Njegoš Printing House, which operated between 1833 and 1839 and the State Printing House which was founded in 1858. It was renamed in 1952. Since then it has been known as Obod.

Since their foundation to the present day, Cetinje printing houses have published over 3,000 books, a major contribution to the Montenegrin cultural heritage. The first Montenegrin literary and scientific annual, Grlica (Turtledove), was published in 1835, while the first Montenegrin newspaper, ‘The Montenegrin’, was established in 1871. Since then, sixty different newspapers and over thirty magazines have been published. In 1914, as a town of fewer than 6,000 inhabitants, Cetinje supported six different daily newspapers.


The oldest libraries of Montenegro, where the oldest books and documentation of great value are preserved, are located at Cetinje. This makes Cetinje internationally recognized as well. The oldest library among these is the Library of Cetinje Monastery, which was founded by the end of the 15th century at the time when the Printing House of Crnojevići started operating. Today, seventy-five old manuscripts written in Cyrillic, then four incunabula, and many old liturgical books are kept there.

The first public reading room in Montenegro known as The Reading Room of Cetinje was founded in 1896. Since its founding it has been the cultural centre of Montenegro. The fruitful activity of this reading room was continued by the Town Library and the Njegoš reading room, which offers over 63,000 books and volumes of periodicals.

The school libraries of Cetinje also have a long tradition. The library of the oldest school at Cetinje today known as Njegoš Elementary School dates back to 1834, the library of the clerical college and the Carica Marija Girls’ Institute dates back to 1869, and the library of the Gymnasium to 1880.


National Museum of Montenegro
(Former Palace of King Nikola I)

Cetinje is also famous for its museums. Museums in Cetinje are:

  • Museum of the Cetinje Monastery
  • State Museum
  • "Petar Petrovic Njegoš" Museum
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • Electric Industry Museum
  • History Museum
  • Art Museum

All these except the Museum of the Cetinje Monastery and Electric Industry Museum are integrated in one institution called the National Museum of Montenegro. Numerous museums and the huge fund of museum items that are kept there established Cetinje's reputation as a museum town.

Cetinje has always been a cultural centre. Every second year the international art exhibition called Cetinje Biennial is held there. Its founder is Prince Nikola Petrović, great-grandson to King Nikola I.


Cetinje is also the seat of the Eparchy of Montenegro and the Littoral of the Serb Orthodox Church.


Cetinje is connected to Podgorica and Budva through two-lane motorways. Both towns are about 30 km (19 mi) away from Cetinje. There is also a historic road to Kotor, which is not of premium quality, but offers stunning views of the Bay of Kotor.

Tivat Airport is 50 km (31 mi) away, and there are regular flights to Belgrade and Zurich, and dozens of charter planes land daily at Tivat airport during the summer season.

Podgorica Airport is 55 km (34 mi) away, and it has regular flights to major European destinations throughout the year.

See also

External links

1 Note: Sparta was an Ancient Greek city famous for its martial prowess and skill, resistance against Persian invaders.

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Montenegro : Cetinje

Cetinje [1] is the historic capital of Montenegro. The city is of enormous historical and spiritual value to Montenegro. During the siege of the Ottoman empire, Montenegro itself had, at numerous times, been reduced to just Cetinje and its surroundings.


Cetinje is a town of 19,000 located in the small valley under the Lovćen mountain. It was founded 15th century by Ivan Crnojevic. His son founded the first printing house in the South Slavs - about the time the Columbus discovered America! Due to the strategic nature of Montenegro, it being an independent state on the border of the Ottoman Empire, all of the major European powers had an embassy in Cetinje. For this reason the town has a continental style old town located a thousand miles away from any of the continental cities that the architecture is representative of. It is very much the spiritual heart of Montenegro.

Get in

By plane

Podgorica airport is some 50km away, and has flights throughout the year to Belgrade, Budapest, Zurich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, Paris, Rome and Vienna.

By bus

Maybe the best way to get to Cetinje. It is less than hour drive from both Podgorica and Budva. Buses to domestic destinations are very frequent.

By car

All roads in Montenegro are two-laned only, and mostly curvy mountainous roads, so speeds over 70 km/h (43 mph) are rarely legal, and rarely safe.

The road from Kotor to Cetinje is a curvy, mountainous road, and mist or ice are not uncommon. The road from Budva to Cetinje is in relatively good condition with 3 lanes in some parts. The road from Podgorica to Cetinje is in fairly good condition.

Get around

Cetinje, especially the historical center of the city, is small enough, and everything is within walking distance.

An old monk's tombstone
An old monk's tombstone
  • Cetinje Monastery. 8am-7pm. The most famous Serb Orthodox monestary in Montenegro. Re-built in 1785. Features several relics including the remains of Saint Peter of Cetinje, the right hand of John the baptist, the remains of Peter II Petrovic, and the crown of Steven Uros IV Dusan, midevil emperor of Serbia.  edit
  • Vlaška Church. Built in 1450. fence made out of barrels of captured enemy rifles.  edit
  • Ethnographic Museum, King Nihola Square. 9am-3pm. CLothing from Montenegro  edit
  • State Museum, (King Nihola Square). Former residence of Nikola Petrovic I, king of Montenegro. Looted during World War II.  edit
  • Biljarda Hall, (Opposite the National Museum). 1832 residence of Peter II Petrovic. Now a museum dedicated to him.  edit
  • National Museum of Montenegro, Novice Cerovica. 9am-5pm. History section and art section. 5E.  edit
  • Grave of Vladika Danilo, (Vladika Danilo). Beautiful views of Cetinje  edit


Visiting Cetinje is really about understanding Montenegro and it's history.

  • Climb up to Mount Lovćen, (Lovćen National Park). It is a kind of Montenegrin Mount Olympus. On the top of the mountain lies the magnificent mausoleum where Petar II Petrović Njegoš is buried. The view is stunning, they say that on a clear day you can see Italy across the Adriatic sea! There is construction underway for a cable car from Kotor to Lovćen. Unclear when it is planned to be ready.  edit
  • Acrobranche (tree climbing) attraction park, (At the mountain road towards the Lovćen Mausoleum).  edit


If you are looking for a genuine Montenegrin souvenir - Cetinje is the town! Other than that, Cetinje is not really a shopping resort, leave that for coastal towns or Podgorica.


Cetinje is the right town to try out traditional Montenegrin cuisine. Be sure to try njeguški pršut (smoked ham) and njeguški cheese. The main courses are boiled lamb, lamb cooked in milk, cicvara in fresh milk cream (buttered corn porridge), boiled potatoe with cheese and fresh cream (kajmak).

  • Konak, (just a few minutes drive down the road towards Budva).  edit


Montenegrin quality wine is a must-try. The best known Montenegrin wines are the premium "Vranac", "Pro Corde", "Krstač", "Cabernet", "Chardonnay" and the famous home made Crmničko red wine.

Grape brandy (rakija) "Montenegrin loza", "Prvijenac", "Kruna" or home made grape brandy (lozova rakija, lozovaca) is also great.


Locals will offer private rooms.

  • Grand Hotel, City center. 3 stars.  edit
  • Pansion 22, Ul. Ivanbegova 22. Nice bathrooms. 20€ per person.  edit
  • Njeguši, picturesque old Montenegrin village, and the Njegoš's birthplace.
  • Rijeka Crnojevića, small village on the river of the same name. Great place for a one-day trip, as they have a few excellent restaurants.
  • Budva
  • Kotor
  • Bar
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