You may already know a lot, but there are many interesting facts about Montenegro. From the old to the new and, to the weird and wonderful, here is the list of our 10 favourites:
Montenegro means ‘Black Mountain’.
The words ‘monte’ and ‘negro’, (Crna Gora in Montenegrin) literally mean black and mountain, which is how Montenegro got its name. Mount Lovcen, the symbol of Montenegro’s national identity, sits proudly over Kotor Bay. It appears as though it is a ‘black mountain’ due to the black beech trees that thrive on its surface.
There is a mausoleum on top of Mount Lovcen.
On the top of the ‘black mountain’ can be found the final resting place of Petar II Petrovic Njegos, who was a prince-bishop of Montenegro in the 19th Century. Before his death he arranged for a chapel to be built on top of one of Lovcens two peaks. Due to the countries difficult political past, his remains were removed a number of times, but as of 1974 his remains were returned for the final time, and still remain there now. The views from Njegos Mausoleum are absolutely spectacular so there is no wonder that this is where he wanted to rest forever more.
Montenegro is so small it has been a real problem for cartographers.
Due to its relatively small size, and relatively long name, Montenegro has caused problems for cartographers when drawing maps. With such as small space on the world map due to the country’s size they struggle to fit so many letters into such a small space!
Small country = small population.
The population of Montenegro is relatively small, at around 620,000, which is less than the population of Leeds, England. The majority of the population are Montenegrin’s, although over a quarter of the population (28.7%) are Serbian, according to the 2011 census.
The Island of Our Lady of the Rocks is man made.
Found off the coast of Perast, this small island has slowly been built up over many centuries. It began when local seamen saw an image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus as a child, on a rock. Each successful voyage after this they dropped a new rock at the site. Old ships were also sunk when filled with rocks, and over time the Island of Our Lady of the Rocks emerged. The tradition is still in place now, with a festival on 22nd July each year where the descendants of the sea farers go to the island, in a procession, to deposit even more rocks! On the Island of Our Lady of the Rocks there is a church that you can visit which was built in the 17th Century.
There is an elite resort called Sveti Stefan.
The small islet, known as Sveti Stefan, is an elite holidaying resort which was originally a fortified village in the 15th Century, but is now a luxury island hotel resort. From the late 1950’s to mid 1980’s it was a popular choice, with many celebrities such as Orson Welles, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor staying there. When Yugoslavia began to divide the resort became less popular, until in 2009 when it was rejuvenated into the glamorous Oman Sveti Stefan resort.
It claims to have one of the oldest Olive trees in Europe.
If you travel to Mirovica, near Bar in Montenegro, you can find what is said to be the oldest tree in Europe. The Old Olive Tree is believed to be over 2000 years old, with a circumference of over 10 metres!!!
It has the deepest river canyon in Europe.
The Tara River Gorge (canyon) is the longest river canyon in Montenegro at 82km long. With a deepest depth of 1300 metres (4300 feet) it is the deepest in Europe. Rafting down the Tara River canyon is enjoyed by many every year.
James Bond played poker in Montenegro.
Well I suppose that that is not strictly true. In Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie he played poker in the Casino Royale, which was said, in the film, to be in the Hotel Splendid in Montenegro. However, although it was suggested that they were in Montenegro, the scenes were actually filmed in the Czech Republic!
It has no currency of its own!
Even though Montenegro has yet to join the EU the currency that is used most in Montenegro, unofficially, is the Euro. Between 1996 and 2002 they used the Deutsche Mark, which was then replaced by the Euro. As it does not mint any coins it does not have any coins holding any national designs like the EU members have.