Cetinje, The Old Capital

Ivan Crnojevic himself wouldn’t have lived as well as a modern traveler can in Montenegro’s ancient capital of Cetinje.  Local cheeses, smoked hams and abundant glasses of the local Crmnik wine abound in the many wayward stopping points that adorn Cetinje.  Ivan Crnojevic was pressured by the Turks at the turn of the 16th Century to move his provincial capital to the area now known at Cetinje, which lies on the Cetinje plain and along the beautifully meandering river Cetina.  The Cetinje plain is encircled by a chain of beautiful mountains, including Black Mountain from which Montenegro get’s it’s name! 

Published: Sunday 13th of February 2005 Updated: Wednesday 07th of July 2021

Ivan Crnojevic himself wouldn’t have lived as well as a modern traveler can in Montenegro’s ancient capital of Cetinje.  Local cheeses, smoked hams and abundant glasses of the local Crmnik wine abound in the many wayward stopping points that adorn Cetinje.  Ivan Crnojevic was pressured by the Turks at the turn of the 16th Century to move his provincial capital to the area now known at Cetinje, which lies on the Cetinje plain and along the beautifully meandering river Cetina.  The Cetinje plain is encircled by a chain of beautiful mountains, including Black Mountain from which Montenegro get’s it’s name! 




When the capital of Zeta fell to the Turks in 1499, Catinje sprang up as the region’s new capital, a symbol for all of Montenegro and the Balkan states of freedom, independence and a great glass of wine. Times were never easy for Cetinje, who suffered a string of attacks and trials over the centuries. However, the local population weathered the storm well and developed a sense of how to live life to its fullest.

Many travelers today will find an abundance of good food and even more impressive architectural structures in Cetinje, including a number of international embassies from the UK, France, Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, and all points in between.



Today Cetinje is an important historical and artistic meeting place and a cultural icon in Montenegro. Situated beneath the summit of Lovcen which towers to an impressive 590 meters (1900 feet) above sea level, Cetinje is an oasis of peace and tranquility, natural beauty and ample fresh air. Cetinje is about twenty minutes by car from Budva, the same distance from the Montenegrin capital - Podgorica.  Or you can arrive via a brisk forty minute drive from Kotovia by passing through the famous village of Njegusi.

Don’t miss Vlaška church, built in 1450 and host to a very special fence – made form the steel barrels of rifles captured from the enemy!  The Zetski Dom theater presents an impressive white façade against the otherwise rich, green lawns that surround it and some of the oldest libraries in Montenegro can be found in Cetinje, including the internationally recognized “Library of Cetinje Monastery”, which dates back to the 15th Century. Simply known as the “reading room”, one structure in Cetinje by that same name is the first public reading space in Montenegro, which was founded in 1896.



 


 


 






Other iconic sites in Cetinje that shouldn’t be missed when you come to this eclectic town include the Cetinje Monastery, the Church at Cipur, the ‘Billiard Room’, the viewpoint at Orlov Krs (Eagle’s Crag), the palace of King Nikola and the local Government administration building.

 

If you would like to stretch your legs in Cetinje, we suggest that you take a walk through the Balsic outdoor market, and down Katun Street, passing the old Mill and finally making an obligatory stop at the Yellow Moon pub for refreshments.

 

Accommodation in Cetinje includes the “Grand Hotel”, called Hotel Grand Cetinje or Ivanova Korita.  Cetinje is within a good driving distance of other historic sites, such as Budva on the coast, Kotor, or even across the border to Dubrovnik!