Roman Sites in Montenegro

Budva Roman Baths

Underneath the plateau that borders Budva and in front of the church of Saint John (believed to be originally built in the 7th century), we find the Roman public baths (called terme) hidden from view. Archaeologists who have studied Old Town Budva date these Roman public baths to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.
Founded: 200-300 AD | Location: Budva, Montenegro

Budva Necropolis

During the digging of the foundations for the hotel “Avala” between 1936 and 1938, several graves from the Hellenic and Roman periods were discovered, together with a lot of precious materials – especially gold and silver jewellery, different dishes, glassware, ceramics, and weapons. The necropolis has two parts, the older one that belongs to the Hellenic period between the 4th and 1st centuries BC, and the newer o ...
Founded: 300 BC | Location: Budva, Montenegro

Adzi-pasa's bridge

The Old Bridge over the Ribnica (Stari most na Ribnici) is the oldest bridge in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. The bridge was built during the period of Roman rule and underwent a major reconstruction in the 18th century AD. The reconstruction was funded by Adži-paša Osmanagić and, since then, the bridge is also known as Adži-paša"s bridge.
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Doclea Roman Ruins

Doclea (also Dioclea) was a Roman city, the seat of the Late Roman province of Praevalitana, and an Archbishopric, which is now a Latin Catholic titular see. The Romanized Illyrian tribe known as Docleatae that inhabited the area derived their name from the city. It was the largest settlement of the Docleatae, founded in the first decade of the 1st century AD. Doclea was built to conform to the terrain. It was a large to ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.