THE HIDDEN JEWEL OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Montenegro, Crna Gora, Black Mountain: the very name conjures up images of romance and drama – and this fascinating land doesn’t disappoint on either front.
Imagine a place with sapphire beaches as spectacular as anyplace in the world, rugged peaks as dramatic as Switzerland, some of the deepest canyons in the world second only to the Grand Canyon, palazzos as elegant as Venice’s and towns as old as Greece’s all within a pleasant Mediterranean climate
Lord Byron famously called Montenegro’s coastline the planet’s ‘most beautiful encounter between the land and the sea’. Not surprisingly, visitors are lured to its pristine white sandy beaches studded with fishing villages, world-class marinas and historic old towns.
Where land & sea embrace, Montenegro’s coast is quite extraordinary. Mountains jut sharply from crystal-clear waters in such a way that the word ‘looming’ is unavoidable. As if that wasn’t picturesque enough, ancient walled towns cling to the rocks and dip their feet in the water. In summer the whole scene is bathed in the scent of wild herbs, conifers and Mediterranean blossoms. The word ‘magical’ is similarly impossible to avoid.
When the beaches fill up with Eastern European sunseekers, travellers can easily sidestep the hordes in the rugged mountains of Durmitor and Prokletije, the primeval forest of Biogradska Gora or in the many towns and villages where ordinary Montenegrins go about their daily lives. Hike, mountain bike or kayak yourself to somewhere obscure and chances are you’ll have it all to yourself. This is, after all, a country where wolves and bears still lurk in forgotten corners.
The richness of its cultural history can be seen in the mosaic floors of Roman villas, flamboyantly painted Orthodox monasteries, ornate Catholic churches, the elegant minarets of mosques, and the sturdy fortresses built by the numerous powers that have fought over these lands. For those with even a passing interest in European history, it’s a fascinating place.
Prime Minister: Milo Djukanovic
Land area: 5,333 sq mi (13,812 sq km)
Population (2016 est.): 650,036
Capital: Podgorica, 156,000
Monetary unit: Euro
National name: Crne Gore
Languages: Serbian 42.9%, Montenegrin (official) 37%, Bosnian 5.3%,
National Holiday: National Day, July 13
GDP/PPP: $7.429 billion; per capita $11,900. Real growth rate: 1.5%. Inflation: 4%. Unemployment: 19.1%.
Agriculture: tobacco, potatoes, citrus fruits, olives, grapes; sheep.
Labor force: 251,300; agriculture 6.3%, industry 20.9%, services 72.8%
Industries: steelmaking, agricultural processing, consumer goods, tourism.
Natural resources: bauxite, hydroelectricity. Exports: $489.2 million (2012). Imports: $2.4 billion. Major trading partners: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, China
Transportation: Railways: total: 250 km (2010). Highways: total: 7,763 km; paved: 5,365 km unpaved: 2,398 km
Ports: Bar Airports: Tivat, Podgorica
Montenegro, a majestic mass of mountains, with a blue glistening coastline along the Adriatic Sea, borders Albania, Bosnia, and Serbia. It is roughly the size of Connecticut.
Republic. Montenegro, formerly Serbia and Montenegro, gained independence on June 3, 2006.
Independence Is Declared
In May 2006, Montenegro held a referendum on independence, which narrowly passed. On June 3, it declared independence, and on June 26, it became the 192nd member of the United Nations. Milo Djukanovic, has been in power as either president or prime minister of Montenegro since 1991 and has led the country’s dr