Montenegro, which means "Black Mountain," is located in southeastern Europe. This name dates back to the period of Venetian hegemony over the area during the Middle Ages. Podgorica is its capital and largest city. Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica, which means the former Royal Capital City.
Montenegrin is the official language of the country. Its government runs under the form of a parliamentary republic. The currency of Montenegro is Euro and by 2008, its total nominal GDP reached $4.822 billion.
The tourism industry is a significant contributor to the rise of the country's economy. In 2007, approximately one million tourists visited this country, giving it a EU480 million of tourism revenue. Tourism is said to be the economic strategy of Montenegro.
This country is the 192nd member state of the United Nations and the 47th member state of the Council of Europe. It submitted an official application to the European Union in 2009. The ISO Alpha-2 code for this country is ME while the Alpha-3 code is MNE.
Montenegro has a population of 620,145 citizens. The ethnic groups residing in this place include the Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians, Muslims and Croats. Most of the people residing in this country are Orthodox Christians, who follow the Serbian Orthodox Church's Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral. Sunni Muslims maintaining Islamic Communities in Montenegro are also widespread. Only a small portion of the country is Roman Catholic, divided between the Archdiocese of Antivari and Diocese of Kotor.
Many Montenegrin people speak the Serbian language of the Iyekavian dialect. However, the progress to independence paved the way for establishing the independent Montenegrin language through the new 2007 constitution which declared Montenegrin as the country's official language.
This country belongs to the Central Mediterranean, which is in southern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the southwest and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east and Albania to the south. It constitutes the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with Republic of Serbia. It is around 310 miles far from Rome, 932 miles from Paris and Berlin, 1,242 miles from Moscow and 1,553 miles from New York. The biggest cities in Montenegro are the following: Podgorica, Niksic, Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Cetinje, Bar, Herceg Novi, and Berane.
Montenegro has a thousand-year history that has the Illyrians, the Docleata recorded as the first settlers. In the 9th century, Duklja, a vassal state of Byzantium emerged. This was first ruled by the Vojislavljevic dynasty. At the end of King Vojislav's 25-year rule in 1042, he won the war against Byzantium, making Duklja an independent state. Duklja's power and prosperity followed and reached its peak during the rule of King Vojislav's son King Mihailo and grandson King Bodin.
During the 11th century, Duklja started to be called Zeta. When it was incorporated into Raska, the Crnojevic dynasty began. Zeta then became Crna Gora or by the Venetian term "monte negro." In 1878, Montenegro finally gained independence from the Ottoman Empire. From the year 1918, this country became a part of various incarnations of Yugoslavia. Montenegro proclaimed independence on June 3, 2006 following a referendum held on May 21, 2006.
Montenegro is known for its picturesque coast and mountainous northern region. It is also well-developed for all kinds of tourism as it became a popular tourist destination in the 1980s. Although, Yugoslav wars fought in the neighboring countries during the 1990s made it difficult for Montenegro to promote its tourism industry, it was still able to regain its image as a famous tourist spot in the 2000s.
During this time, as the tourism started to recover, many tourists from all over the world, started making their way to this country with spectacular sights. Some of the most popular tourist spots in this country include King Nikola's Palace, Bar; Miriste Beach, Herceg Novi; Lake Biograd, Kolasin; View of Budva; The Castle of Ulcinj; Sveti Stefan island in the Budva municipality; Biogradska Gora, a forest and a national park that can be found in Kolasin; and the Tara River Canyon, which is the longest canyon in Europe and the second-longest in the world.
In many parts of Montenegro, the nightlife is very alive with various coffee bars, terraces, discos, and restaurants to visit aside from the usual cultural and historic attractions that you include in your trip itinerary. The vibrant nightlife spots in this country are packed with tourists, especially during summer. Tourists enjoy all kinds of music played in these places such as rock, dance, techno, Cuban music, latest songs, or local Montenegrin, Serbian or Croatian music. In some places, there are even live bands playing. From classic coffee bars to modern bars, everyone has a place to hang out in the lively nightlife spots in this country.
The culture of Montenegro has many influences such as from Orthodox, Slavonic, Central European, Islamic, and Adriatic cultures. Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro and the former royal capital of Cetinje are focal points of culture and the arts in this country.
Today, it has various historical, heritage, and cultural sites including those that came from Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods that can exhibit the colorful history and culture of Montenegro. These sites include Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in Kotor, the Basilica of St. Luke, Our Lady of the Rocks (Skrpjela), the Savina Monastery and many others.
Cereals, fish, olives, dairy products, and cheeses play major roles in the cuisine of Montenegro. White bread is the staple side-dish for this country. Montenegrin are also fond of cooking and eating goatfish, wolfish, sparus caruelosticus, mugil labrosus, pilchards, and mackerels, which are usually grilled, baked or prepared as "brodette," which is a fish soup.
One of the most popular fish dishes is the gradela, in which the fish is spread with aromatic spices and herbs, mostly rosemary, garlic marinade, parsley tops, and olive oil before grilling. This dish is served with vegetable and salad.
The famous njeguski prsut (smoked ham) and njeguski cheese, pljevaljski cheese, mushrooms, donuts and dried bleak are some of the local Montenegrin dishes. For the northern mountainous region, main courses served include lamb cooked in milk, boiled lamb, cicvara in fresh milk cream, and boiled potatoes with cheese. In the central and coastal parts, traditional main dishes include the kastradina, smoked and fresh carp, while donuts with honey and dried figs are the favorite desserts in these parts of this country.