A retreat to the relative comfort of the mountains
Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
129Trip End Oct 01, 2007
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I feel for the poor sods that chose to come up an hour later
The modern capital of Montenegro is a hot, dusty, largely concrete place by the name of Podgorica. Its terrible reputation precedes it by a good deal, so most travelers know to give it a wide berth (or get the hell out ASAP). There was a time not too long ago though when Montenegro was ruled from a much smaller, quainter town in the mountains just in from the coast. Now that independance has returned to Crna Gora, there are some in the country that would like to see the administrative status to wee Cetinje. With a population of only 20,000 or so though, it seems like a pipe-dream today, but the town definitely has a lot of ghosts and faded grandeur lurking about. And at just over an hour's drive from Kotor by bus, it's an easy place to take in while in the area.
Thanks to the altitude, it isn't anywhere near as sweltering as Budva or Kotor, just down the mountainside
Cetinje's brief heyday lasted from 1878, when it was recognized as the official capital of an independent Montenegro, until its absorption by the Central Powers in World War I. It obviously flourished during that short period as the population shot up and new elegant constructions went up all over town. The most interesting are probably its old embassies, which run the gamut from humble and compact to ostentatious and elaborate. The latter are in direct contrast with the town's old churches and hillside monastery, all of which are extremely simple and borderline austere in their design. All along in between on the main streets are small, simple houses, decorated in varying bright shades of color. It makes for a fascinating wander and a pleasant surprise given the relative obscurity of the town elsewhere in the world
Seeing the lot of what Cetinje had to offer only wound up taking an afternoon, so it made for a perfect daytrip. I also managed to find a hilltop mausoleum that provided brilliant views over town, with practically the entire town visible and all around it a series of undulating, rugged mountains. I took a pass on the museums - there were only a few small ones about - so I suppose you could fill a whole day if you wanted. But all in all, it was a nice break from the sea and a great look into Montenegro's former "glory days." It will be interesting to see if they some day reinstate the old embassies. There are apparently rumors going around. . .