The city of Bar in the south of Montenegro is today divided into two parts. On the coast lies Novi Bar with its huge harbour, at the foot of the coastal mountains is Stari Bar. Today not much more than a ruined city, it is nevertheless one of the most culturally and historically valuable sites in Montenegro.
The town of Bar on the Adriatic coast of Montenegro has always been the seafaring centre of the country. At first glance, Bar, with its large cargo port and tank farms, becomes not at all touristy.
The almost 40,000 inhabitants of Bar make it the centre of the central coastal region and the largest coastal town in Montenegro. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Bar exudes the stern smell of work rather than the sweet smell of holidays. Nevertheless, the impressive deep-sea harbour with its huge freighters, imposing yachts and small colourful fishing boats is worth a stroll.
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PICTURES: The city of Bar
Of the maritime tradition, Bar still has ferry and loading operations. The waterway to Bari and Ancona in Italy is still used today. Ferries sail to Bar daily or fortnightly.
Bar is also the terminus of the spectacular railway connection via Podgorica to Belgrade, which was opened in 1974 after 24 years of construction and winds through the mountains of Montenegro with the help of countless bridges and tunnels. From Bar, the railway leads to Virpazar on Lake Skadar; in 1908, this was Montenegro's first railway line.
For a port city, Bar is surprisingly clean and the many green spaces, together with the breeze from the sea, create a pleasant atmosphere. The beach at Šušanj even invites you to swim. Other beaches in the area are in the neighbouring towns of Sutomore and Canj, but these can get very crowded, especially at weekends.
Old Bar" lies a few kilometres inland at the foot of the coastal mountains. The ancient city was founded more than 2,000 years ago, had 4,000 inhabitants at its peak and magnificent buildings of various rulers. Today Stari Bar is abandoned and only ruins remain of the buildings, but some of them have been restored and can be visited.
Very close to Stari Bar you will also find the Muslim quarter of Bar - the first minarets and muezzin chants on the way south from Europe.
Mirovica olive tree
At first glance, the olive tree in the Mirovica district is just one of many among the gnarled trunks around Bar. However, with an age of 2,300 years, this specimen is one of the absolutely oldest olive trees in the region and may even be the oldest tree in Europe - older than Christianity - and allegedly still bears fruit! It can be reached from the road to Ulcinj, where it is signposted "stara maslina". The giant tree can be visited for a small fee.
The olive trees are considered a symbol of Bar and their high quality oil is offered at sometimes exorbitant prices. Olive oil from Bar can be found all over Montenegro and, despite its higher price, is extremely popular due to its excellent taste and environmentally friendly production.
Fort Haj Nehaj
The Turkish fortress of Haj Nehaj is enthroned on a rocky hill about 10 km north of Bar between Sutomore and Cenj. Originally founded by the Venetians, it was first mentioned in writing in 1542.
The way up is arduous and does not really pay off at first glance for the low wall remnants on the rocky ground. Therefore, a visit should be scheduled for late afternoon, when the surroundings are bathed in the warm light of the setting sun.
The former seat of King Nikola is still enthroned on the harbour promenade today. The beautiful, sunny yellow building was erected directly on the sea in 1885. Firstly, King Nikola was an avid sailor and secondly, it allowed him to comfortably welcome state guests arriving by sea.
Today, the palace houses a small local museum with antiques, historical clothing and royal furniture, which, among other things, tells the story of the construction of the railway line between Bar and Virpazar on Lake Skadar, which was put into operation over 100 years ago. The garden of the royal residence is also worth a look. Plants that Montenegro's seafarers brought to the country from all over the world thrive in it.