Montenegro has been gaining popularity among tourists for several years, and it is hardly surprising. The holiday weather is almost guaranteed here, and the possibility of swimming in the waters of the Adriatic Sea is the final argument for choosing this direction. This small country also has a rich history, beautiful mountains and lots of interesting places to visit.
Podgorica – the old history of the young capital
Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro. It is situated between the rivers Ribnica and Moraca, near the Dinaric Mountains. It is only 40 km away from the Adriatic coast. Not only that, but it is a medium-sized city, numbering approx. 170 thousand. Inhabitants, but it is the most densely populated metropolis in Montenegro.
The history of this place was rich from the very beginning, and today’s Podgorica has had many names and has experienced many cultures. Human settlements already existed here in the Stone Age. In Roman times, the city operated under the name Doclea or Birziminium, in the Middle Ages it was called Ribnica. In the communist era, it was called Titograd in honor of Josip Broz Tito. Podgorica was ruled by Serbs and Venetians, and in the 15th century it became part of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, the city has been under the flags of Serbia, Yugoslavia and Montenegro.
History and people did not spare Podgorica. After the city was occupied by the Italian and Nazi troops during World War II, the Allies practically razed it to the ground. After the liberation in 1944, a great reconstruction began. In 1946, the capital of the country, previously in Cetinje, was moved to Titograd. Interestingly, the original name of the city, i.e., Podgorica, was only restored in 1992 – literally translated means “uphill” and comes from the name of the nearby Gorica hill. For many years, Podgorica, as well as the whole of Montenegro, was part of Serbia, and its autonomy was decided by the inhabitants during the 2006 referendum.
How to get to Podgorica?
The city has one of the two airports in Montenegro that support direct and indirect air connections with EU countries. Car access includes several variants and often involves the use of toll motorways and the purchase of appropriate insurance.
Renting a car in Podgorica
If you are in Podgorica, probably you would like to visit areas near city and seaside, especially during summer (just 40 min away with car). The best solution is to rent a car in Podgorica. Car rentals are very popular in Montenegro, affordable and reliable. Often you don’t need to pay high deposits, like in Italy or Spain.
Roads are good, you can reach any point from North to South with economy car very easy. Recently, Montenegro opened the first highway, connecting Podgorica with Kolasin (tourist town on the north near Biograd lake) in 20 minutes, comparing to 80 min on the old road.
What to see in Podgorica?
Although most of the buildings in Podgorica belong to relatively young architecture, there will be plenty of noteworthy attractions here. It is certainly an interesting place, and its location allows you to visit many valuable places in the area. What to see in Podgorica?
Stara Varos (Old Town)
The Old Town, or Stara Varos, is located at the junction of the Ribnica River with the larger Moraca River. In the times of the Ottoman Empire, it was the center of the city. Despite the damage done during World War II, amazing cobblestone streets and small houses arranged around them have survived. The buildings have characteristic Turkish Charedaki and balconies.
Sat Kula – clock tower
Another place worth visiting in the center of Podgorica is the clock tower. It was established in 1667 and measures as much as 16 m. In its heyday, the Italian clock mechanism started the bell every half an hour.
Cathedral of the Resurrection
This is another very characteristic Orthodox temple in Podgorica. Although it is not a monument, because it was built only in the 21st century, it is an important religious building in the country. Its facade refers to the architecture of St. Tryphon in Kotor.
Old bridge over Ribnica
The old bridge over Ribnica is one of the most captivating buildings. It was built in the 18th century of stone. It was probably built on the ruins of the original Roman crossing.
A modern showcase of the capital and an interesting structure that cannot be overlooked. It is a one-pylon bridge erected in 2005. It is 173 m long and suspended at a height of 57 m.
Ruins of Dioclei
The ruins of Dioclei are the remains of a Roman city, located about 5 km from the center of Podgorica. Despite many damages, parts of the columns constituting the facades of ancient buildings, fragments that used to be the walls of buildings and the foundations of the city forum have survived.
City beaches in Podgorica
The city is divided into two parts by the river Moraca. Thanks to this, Podgorica has several beautiful city beaches that are eagerly used by residents.