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Montenegro - Coast

 If we had to describe the European country of Montenegro with only two words, those words are undoubtedly: "mountain” and “sea”. Image

But how would you really characterize Montenegro?  This young European country is also creased by deep canyons and vast valleys, crossed by pure rivers and marked by deep and transparent lakes.  Relic caves open upon virgin forests.  Ancient cities coexist with new ones. Age-worn churches welcome cordial and hospitable people to their weathered doors.
We search for analogies to apply to Montenegro. Outwardly, and due to the country’s history, we are instantly reminded of Crimea, and thus something about modern-day Montenegro also serves to remind a Russian person about how a lost paradise can be found again.

With its rough and slightly lacerated outlines, one can not help but remember that one regional difference that defines the Crimean peninsula as distinct lies in the effects of natural factors and historic cataclysms that have helped define its borders: the lowering and rising of the sea floor, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  Finally, the human factor has also influenced the delimitation of Montenegro’s borders as they correspond to victories and defeats in wars which were conducted by Montenegrin heroes, remembered by local poets and undoubtedly present in the population of these ancient Montenegrin towns throughout the country's long history.

Sebastopol and the adjoining bay serve as smaller copies of the  Boka of Kotor, which  is often considered to be “Europe's Southernmost Fjord”.Image   However, it is in fact a submerged river canyon which was flooded by the sea and the Bokelj River which in time immemorial ran from the plateaus of Mount Orjen, now lies submerged along the ocean depths.

The Eastern and the Western Roman Empires competed for the Crimean peninsula and then also the Ottomans sought to control the area.  Final relics of this turbulent past remain in the remnants of old civilazations, even those of the Celts or the Greeks, which can be traced from time immortal. Sebastopol, the capital of Crimea has now been replaced by Podgorica, from where the railway and other connections to the Montenegrin interior run endlessly reminding the world that a small country exists, seemingly forgotten at times, on the Western shore of the Balkans.

Yalta is like Budva or Herceg Novi. Herceg Novi, the most northerly city along Montenegro’s Adriatic coastline, was easily defended from the north due to the Orjen hills, which not even the northern winds can penetrate.Image   This creates a unique microclimate which is exellent for growing exotic plants from all corners of the world.

Budva – a city on the coast and portal to the high seas, lays opposite to the island of Sv. Nikola, which from atop a jet ski or boat will remind you of a floating ancient pangolin.Image Around Budva, the coast is often referred to as the Budvanska rivijera, and is the centre of Montenegro's tourism.  This Riviera is well known for its sandy beaches, intensely rewarding cultural activities and nightlife.  With over 330,000 holiday guests in the 2007 summer season, Budva is  the most popular tourist destination in Montenegro. Jaz  beach which is 2.5 km (1.6 miles) away from Budva in the direction of Tivat, is a protected natural heritage site and world-famous for its cultural events and concerts. Jaz recently hosted a Rolling Stones concert on July 9th, 2007, while most recently, Madonna staged a show at the same venue on September 25th, 2008.Image An amazing 60,000 spectators watched her show.

Aged and stoic, Feodosiya draws comparisons to Kotor or Bar’s sea port.Image

NOTE: Bar, which is also the capital of Montenegro’s coastal trade, it is possibe to arrive here on the ferry which leaves the Italian coast from the Western-Adriactic coast’s Italian city of Bari.

Along Montenegro’s coast, Primorje and Boka were both places where various cultures and civilizations came together.  Each city here has a long history, and each city’s story is unique and unlike any other. Kotor on the Bay of Kotor, was perhaps the capital of ancient seafarers living along the Montenegrin coast and is the most occidental of these coastal towns.Image Between 1420 and 1797, Kotor and its surrounding area were under the rule of the Republic of Venice.  The Venetian influence remains dominant among the architectural wonders that abound in Kotor.

Another great contributor to Montenegro’s importancs as a destination for top seafarers, lies the city of Perast,Image where in 1698 a group of 17 young  men from Russia where sent by Peter the Great himself to learn navigation skills.  They studied in the nautical school of famous and experienced seafarer Mark Martinovic. This tradition of sending world-class sailors to Montenegro seems now to be resumed as people from all walks of life come to sail in Montenegro.

 Summer events near Kotor Bay, such as the Summer Carnival (or Bokeljska Noć), are visited by thousands of tourists yearly. Nightlife is another thing which attracts tourists to Kotor. The Old Town is filled with pubs, taverns and cafes.  The islands of Sveti Đorđe and Gospa od Škrpijela lay a stone’s-throw away from Perast, and are among the most popular destinations in Kotor vicinity.

Ultcinj was recaptured from the Ottomans by Montenegrin forces fighting for independence nearly one hundred and thirty years ago and is perhaps the most oriental of Kotor’s cities.Image Ulticinj is most famous for its beaches, among which Velikiy Plaz (Great Beach) is the longest at 13 km (8 miles).

Written by: Igor Kossich

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