Cetinje is not only the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro, but the historic capital of Montenegro. Known as “Museum City”, Cetinje is also home to the official residence of Montenegro’s president and Montenegro’s second capital. Though a relatively young city (500 years old) compared to its coastal counterparts, Cetinje’s fascinating history has left a fascinating legacy.
Cetinje was founded in the 15th century when Ivan Crnojević (“Ivan the Black”, Lord of Zeta) moved his capital from Obod into a more easily defended position at the foot of Mount Lovćen. Crnojević built the earliest recorded renaissance buildings in Montenegro, his palace and a monastery. He also established the first printing house in southeastern Europe.
The development of Cetinje was stagnant for the next two centuries, a period marked by invasions from Venetians and Turks. Both the palace and monastery were destroyed by attacks during this era. Cetinje flourished once again under the rule of the Petrović and Njegoš Dynasties. Urbanization and growth occurred, particularly under King Nikola I Petrović. He erected notable public buildings including Lokando, the first hotel, and a new palace. Montenegro was proclaimed a Kingdom in 1910 and Cetinje expanded rapidly until the Parliament of Montenegro turned Podgorica into the capital.
Visitors must not miss the Cetinje Monastery, National Museum, and old embassy buildings. For those wishing to venture further afield, Cetinje is a great launching point for exploring Lovćen National Park.