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Culture

The cultures of both the Orient and the West have met each other in the area of Ulcinj, which can be felt everywhere by the richness of historical heritage. Ulcinj is one of the oldest towns on the Montenegrin coast, and due to its significant geographic position it had been the target of numerous invaders since pre-historical time. Some stayed there longer, some shorter, but all these people left here some indelible trace. The presence of the Illyrians, Romans, Byzantines and Venetians gave this town a mosaic of history and culture.

The Old Town of Ulcinj is a castle of unique beauty whose walls arise direct from the sea. The town covers an area of approximately three hectares and it consists of two parts – the upper town – the citadelle and the town settlement which streches down the slopes towards the south. In the northeast there is the main gate to the old town. It will lead you to the Slave Square which is located on the uppermost part of the stony old-town peninsula. On the left side today you can see the Ethnological Museum with an extremely rich collection of exhibits. Once upon a time there had been convicts on this place, and according to a legend in one of these solitary cells there was the one-hand slave Miguel de Cervantes for five years. Therefore he named the heroine of his novel „Don Quixote“ Dulcinea, which means Ulcinj woman, and many areas described in this masterpiece of world literature are authentic descriptions of the town where Cervantes spent his slavery. Approaching the old town you pass the Ravelin rampart and opposite to it there is the high wall Bolani from the Venetian period. In front of the museum entrance there is a Turkish fountain from 1749. At the Slavery Square there is also the Balšić Tower from the XII century which is nowadays used as a gallery. Close to the sea near the lighthouse there are two beautiful buildings, the Balšić Castle and the Venitian Palace. In front of the southern entry to the town there are the foundations of the orthodox churche of Our Lady from the XII century. A little further there is the Turkish powder magazine from the XVIII century, and behind the walls of the Old Town many other cultural monuments have been saved: „Pasha’s Mosque“ with a „hamman“, the main mosque Namazdjah, the Church of St. Nikola at the bottom of Bijela Gora and the Minster Church of St. Nikola at the bottom of Meterizi from 1890, which had been erected to honour the fallen Montenegrins during the battles in 1878. In the vicinity of the orthodox church St. Nikola in the bottom of Bijela Gora, there is the catholic church of St. Josip.

The Old Town of Ulcinj was the last refuge for one of the greatest rebels from the 17th century, Sabatei Tsevi (1626-1676), the reformer of the Talmud – Jewish Holy Book. This Jewish saint was buried in Ulcinj, and the location of his grave has been kept as a secret.

Svač – This Zetan mediaeval town is located on a clearing above Lake Shas near Ulcinj, and it belongs to the most attractive „dead towns“ on the Adriatic. According to a legend Svač had as many churches as there are days in a year, but today only eight churches can be discerned by their foundations in the ruins, the two biggest ones – the cathedral St. John the Baptist in the highest part of the town and the Franciscan St. Maria on a plateau, in the lower town, still preserved to the first-made height. The ornithologists stated: Lake Shas with other zones in the Ulcinj area, as a habitat of 250 kinds of birds, belongs to the richest regions in birds in old Yugoslavia.

Old Ulcinj – on a rock between Bar and Ulcinj, in the Bay of Kruče, there are ruins which were thought to have been rests of Old Ulcinj, however, archeological explorations prooved that on that rock in ancient times there was a signal station, the so-called Specula, and in the mediaeval century – a fortress, which served as an observery.

Due to the centuries- long sedimentation of different cultures, Ulcinj is a perfect combination of the Orient and the West as well as a place where all religions and nations gladly live together and visit it together. The scientific board for the Swiss reward in the field of tourism, Ulcinj 2009 gave it a prestige reward „Swiss Tourism Award“ in the category „destination of culture“ as the best multicultural destination in Montenegro. The precious „board of honour“ was given to Ulcinj in Lugano, the town where such a reward is nominated and where one of the world’s most significant tourism fairs is organized.

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