Top historic sites in Montenegro

Kotor Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in Kotor is one of two Roman Catholic cathedrals in Montenegro. It was built in honor of Saint Tryphon, the patron and protector of the city, on the same site where an older church had already existed long ago. That earlier church was built in 809 by Andrija Saracenis, a citizen of Kotor, where the remains of the saint were kept after being brought from Constantinopole. The cathedral was c ...
Founded: 1166 | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Budva Citadel

The entire town of Budva is encircled with defensive stone walls. The fortifications of Budva are typical of the Medieval walled cities of the Adriatic, complete with towers, embrasures, fortified city gates and a citadel. The Old Town of Budva is situated on a rocky peninsula, on the southern end of Budva field. Archaeological evidence suggests that Illyrian settlement was formed on the site of the Old Town before Greek ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Budva, Montenegro

Our Lady of the Rocks

Our Lady of the Rocks is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor, Montenegro. It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks is the largest building on the islet; it has a museum attached. There is also a small gift shop close to the church and a navigation light at the western end of th ...
Founded: 1452 | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Stari Bar

The Old Town of Bar (Stari Bar) is the largest and the most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans. It covers the area of 4.5 hectares, where the remains of around 600 public and private edifices are the proof of the existence of various construction phases present in different epochs of the Mediterranean history. The visual identity of the Old Town of Bar is formed by the ramparts, bastions, towers, a cit ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Bar, Montenegro

San Giovanni Castle

San Giovanni, also called St. John’s Castle, is perched 1200m high on the hill of St. John. The fortifications date back as far as 532 when Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had the fort built. Since it’s creation, the fort has under seen plenty of changes and battles under Venetian, Russian, and French rule. It’s been bombed by British Naval armies, occupied during World War II, and even survived three separate earthqu ...
Founded: 532 AD | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Herceg Novi Old Town

Herceg Novi was founded (on a former small fishing village, existing since Roman Empire times) as a fortress in 1382 by first Bosnian King Stjepan Tvrtko I and was called Sveti Stefan or Castelnuovo. The Turks conquered Herceg Novi in 1482, and ruled for 200 years, until 1687. However, there was a short pause between 1538 and 1539 when it was held by the Spaniards before they were defeated in the Siege of Castelnuovo.  ...
Founded: 1382 | Location: Herceg Novi, Montenegro

King Nikola's Palace

King Nikola"s Palace served for more than 50 years as the seat of the Montenegrin Royal family. In 1926 it became a museum, from 1980 it was one of the departments of National Museum of Montenegro. The small palace was built from 1863 to 1867 in a simple style typical of Cetinje houses with certain elements of neoclassicism. The interiors were designed in style of Historicism and Art Nouveau. In the entrance hall ...
Founded: 1863 | Location: Cetinje, Montenegro

Ulcinj Old Town

Ulcinj is an ancient castle and neighborhood. Today mostly inhabited by Albanians, it was built by the Illyrians and Ancient Greeks on a small peninsula at the right side of the Pristan Gulf. Today, oldest remains are the Cyclopean Wall. The castle has been restored many times since it was first built although major changes were made by the Byzantinians, Serbs, Venetians, and Ottomans. The modern city of Ulcinj was built ...
Founded: 300 BC | Location: Ulcinj, Montenegro

Sveti Dorde Island

Ostrvo Sveti Đorđe (Island of Saint George) is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in Bay of Kotor. A small action took place during the Siege of Cattaro on 14 October 1813 when the French held island was captured by a British and Sicilian naval force. The island contains Saint George Benedictine monastery from the 12th century and the old graveyard for the old nobility from Perast and further from the whole ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Kotor, Montenegro

Ostrog Monastery

The Monastery of Ostrog is a monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church sitatued against an almost vertical background, high up in the large rock of Ostroška Greda. It is dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, who was buried here. Ostrog monastery is the most popular pilgrimage place in Montenegro. The Monastery was founded by Vasilije, the Metropolitan Bishop of Herzegovina in the 17th century. He died there in 1671 and som ...
Founded: 1671 | Location: Bjelopavlići, Montenegro

Sveti Stefan

Sveti Stefan is a small islet in the central part of Montenegro Adriatic coast line. It was first mentioned in 1442 as a fort near seacoast from which Paštrovići, led by vojvoda Radič repulsed the forces of Stjepan Vukčić Kosača during his offensive in Zeta. According to a legend recounted by Stjepan Mitrov Ljubiša, the town fortification was funded after Paštrovići looted Turkish ships moored in front of Jaz d ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Budva, Montenegro

Cetinje Monastery

The Serbian Orthodox Cetinje Monastery was founded between 1701 and 1704 by Prince-Bishop Danilo I on the site of the former court of Ivan Crnojević (founded 1485). Cetinje was attacked by Ottomans on 25 September 1692. Instead of fighting, Venetians entered negotiations, and reached an agreement to abandon the monastery under honorable terms. However, they mined a monastery with a time bomb, which set of in the evening ...
Founded: 1701-1704 | Location: Cetinje, Montenegro

National Museum of Montenegro

National Museum of Montenegro in Cetinje is a complex institution consisting of four museums: Museum of History, the Art Museum with the Modern art gallery Dado Duric, the Ethnographic Museum and the newly founded Archaeological Museum with Lapidarium. Collection of museum exhibits on the territory of present-day Montenegro can be traced back to the ancient past. In a modern sense, however, it is possible to record the t ...
Founded: 1896 | Location: Cetinje, Montenegro

Ribnica Fortress

Ribnica is an Ottoman fortress, located in the Stara Varoš neighborhood of Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro. The fortress was built in late 15th century (around 1477), during the period of Ottoman reign. It was built above the confluence of Ribnica and Morača rivers, and was one of two fortresses surrounding Stara Varoš. For a long time, Depedogen was used as an ammunition warehouse. It was severely damaged i ...
Founded: 1477 | Location: Podgorica, Montenegro

Miholjska Prevlaka Monastery

Miholjska prevlaka, also known as 'Island of Flowers', includes a monastery dedicated to Archangel Michael. It was founded by Serbian Archbishop Sava (s. 1219–35). The church base was built earlier, reconstructed in the 9th century and destroyed in the 11th century. The monastery was the seat of the Eparchy of Zeta between the 13th and 15th centuries. Under planned restoration, the monastery was destroyed by ...
Founded: c. 1230 | Location: Tivat, Montenegro

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.