The Montenegrin capital Podgorica was completely rebuilt after the Second World War and contains mostly new buildings. Nevertheless, one or two historical gems can be found in this city steeped in history.
Podgorica, the official capital of Montenegro, is not really a classic tourist city, but plays only a transport role for most holidaymakers. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a detour to this city steeped in history, which reveals the cultural and historical background of the country.
Places of interest in Podgorica
Montenegro's capital is no beauty, yet its inhabitants know how to lend their city an endearing friendliness. In the evening, the streets and pubs of Podgorica are bustling, and it is only at second glance that one recognises the poverty of the city in the corrugated iron settlements.
Podgorica is easily accessible by car, train and plane, and the international airport is about 10 km from Podgorica.
Tip: In the stuffy Podgorica basin, you can expect temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius from late spring onwards. City travellers should be prepared for the heat - or schedule their visit for the low season.
Probably the most interesting sight is Podgorica's past. In the ruins of Dioclea you can still get a taste of the Roman past. The ruins, also called Duklija, are located about 3 kilometres north of the city. The outlines of the former city can only be guessed at, however, because the ruins of Dioclea are seemingly scattered haphazardly across the meadow.
Podgorica Museum and Gallery
The "Muzej i Galerije Podgorice" is recommended as a complement to the visit to the ruins of Dioclea. Many finds from the ancient Roman city are exhibited and explained here.
There is also a section for general history and a gallery worth seeing, mainly featuring spectacular works by Nikola Vujošević.
The Serbian Orthodox Resurrection Cathedral is the architectural showpiece of Podgorica and one of the city's newest landmarks. The imposing church was built from 1993 to 1999 and has dominated the cityscape of Podgorica with its 34m high dome ever since.
Millennium Bridge and Moscow Bridge
The Millennium Bridge was opened in 2005 on 13 July, Montenegro's bank holidays, and since then it has led over the Morača on a length of 160 metres. The striking cable-stayed bridge cost 7 million euros and is considered a landmark and symbol of the upswing in Podgorica. The four-lane bridge is intended for both pedestrians and car traffic and rises to a height of 57 metres.
Just below the Millennium Bridge, the Moscow Bridge crosses the Morača River, exclusively for pedestrians. It was opened on 19 December 2008 and got its name because the metal structure of the bridge was a gift from the city of Moscow.
Toranj na Dajbabskoj Gori
The broadcasting tower, also called "Dabjabska Gora-Trum" after the hill of the same name, is another landmark of Podgorica. The 6-million-euro structure was opened in 2011 after three years of construction and reaches a height of 55 metres. Its viewing platform offers an optimal panoramic view of the city and at night it is a popular photo motif due to its illumination.
Crkva Sveti Đorđa
The inconspicuous church of St. George at the foot of Gorica hill dates back to around 1000 AD and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. The frescoes inside date from the 16th century, and it was last restored in the 1960s.
Royal Palace - Art Museum
The city palace of King Nikola is located in the middle of a spacious park landscape on the banks of the Morača. Right next to it is the "Perianiči", the headquarters of the royal bodyguard.
However, the royal family only stayed in Podgorica in winter; in the hot summer months they preferred the cool Cetinje or the pleasant coastal town of Bar. During the socialist period, the Winter Palace of Nikolas served as a ward house for the neighbouring clinic. Since 1984, the palace has housed the country's Museum of Contemporary Art.
History of Podgorica
Podgorica, the city "under the hill", was soon appreciated by the Illyrians for its fertile environment. Situated on the five rivers Ribnica, Morača, Zeta, Sitnica and Cijevna, the water supply of the plateau was guaranteed all year round and the soil was fertile.
The first settlement was built by the Illyrian tribe of the Doklaeans, in 168 BC the Romans took over and gave it and the entire region the name "Dioclea". The remains of this Roman settlement can still be seen today a few kilometres north of Podgorica.
After the decline of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, Podgorica, then "Ribnica" passed through many hands, from the Slavs to the Turks to Montenegro in 1878.
The then capital Cetinje, where the Petrović family ruled, was increasingly displaced by Podgorica, which was much more conveniently located in terms of transport. After the First World War, it was official: Podgorica became the capital of Montenegro.
During the Second World War, Podgorica was destroyed to the ground by no less than 71 bombardments by the German Luftwaffe. Under Tito it was completely restructured and rebuilt.
The ruler of the time, however, did not attach much importance to aesthetics and so in Titograd of that time one prefabricated building was lined up next to the other and the city centre is also characterised more by functional than representative buildings. Nevertheless, Podgorica is not a concrete desert, but relatively green. In 1992, Tito disappeared and with him the name of the city, which from then on was called Podgorica again.