In our holiday resort Dodoši there is a shop that is “open when it’s open”. When that is, who knows. Our food supplies were already very limited when we arrived. We honestly hadn’t thought about it at all – as a city dweller you always get something to eat somewhere. So we drove to Cetinje to do some shopping.
The drive from Dodoši to the main road is a real adventure for me. The road is over 7 kilometres long and 90% of it is wide enough for a car. In some places you have to sneak around the bend and hope that no cars are coming your way.
Happily arrived at the main road, we drive into the valley of the Cetina at the foot of the Lovcen massif. Here, about halfway between the capital Podgorica and the coastal town of Budva, lies Cetinje.
A little city history
From the end of the 15th century until 1918, the small town was the capital of the country. Princes and prince-bishops resided here. When the Turks conquered Cetinje, they destroyed the monastery there. Reconstruction could only begin in 1696.
Around 1830-1851, the ruler of the time began to modernise the town. A new princely residence was built, the villa “Biljarda” (the prince had built a billiard table there, which was very unusual in Montenegro at that time).
Prince Nikola (1860-1918) developed the city into a modern capital. Water pipes were laid, street lights were installed, schools and a hospital were built. He even had a museum and a state archive built. Many European nations built their embassies in Cetinje.
After Montenegro lost its independence, Cetinje also lost a capital function. Titograd, today’s Podgorica, became the new capital.
Today the city is the official residence of the Montenegrin president, but not the seat of government.
City stroll through Cetinje
After our shopping, we stroll a little through the pedestrian zone of the city. In addition to small cafés, we also find a few small shops.
High above the city lies the mausoleum of the founder of the Petrović dynasty. We did not climb the path up the hill. (On our second visit a year later, we visited the mausoleum).
We discover the small church and come to an old monastery.
The small Serbian Orthodox church was built in 1890. The first printing press in Europe is said to have stood here, which set Cyrillic script (1485).
The monastery has been the spiritual centre in Montenegro since 1430. You can enter a small prayer room via a small courtyard. Photography is prohibited! I think it’s worth a quick look, and if you want, you can buy pictures of saints or other church-related souvenirs in the souvenir shop. The actual monastery is closed to visitors. This means that the relics kept here (e.g. the hand of John the Baptist) and the valuable library cannot be visited.
Opposite the monastery is the fortress-like building, the Bijarda. The princely family lived in the 25 rooms until 1867. Today it houses the Njegoš Museum, where you can see, for example, the “famous” billiard table after which the building was named.
Finally, you should walk past the buildings of the former diplomatic quarter and look at the old villas.
The city is definitely worth a short stroll!