The central part of the country is a distinctive whole easily recognizable for its mild climate, rough karst terrain and lack of woods, different from both the lush seaside and the cold north and east. Yet, Central Montenegro is itself a mixture of several smaller regions that differ both in landscape and history.
The Old Montenegro (Stara Crna Gora) is a kernel from which present day country started its growth in the beginning of the 19th. It lies directly above Boka Kotorska and the town of Budva, behind the first ridge of high mountains, spreading from Čevo in the nort of Virpazar in the south. Historically it was divided into four counties (nahije) and 22 small clans, some not bigger than a single village but all ripe with heroic personalities and tales of battles from the past centuries. The largest part of it is a barren muddle of shrub, rocky hills and smaller woods with many small villages clinging to their scarp of arable land.
Today, most of the villages are cut off from the modern world and the development it brings, and it’s the region’s few roads that form the arteries through which life flows. The center of Old Montenegro is Cetinje, previously the capital of the country, a preserved 19th century town with many historic buildings bearing witness to its harsh history. Next to it is Mt Lovćen National Park with magnificent, untamed vistas of dark woods and jagged rocks as well as the views of the nearby seaside. Below Lovćen lies the historical village of Njeguši, birthplace of all Montenegrin rulers. The only part of Old Montenegro which differs significantly from this rough picture is its southernmost county, Crmnica. With Virpazar as its market town it produces wines, fruits and vegetables known for their quality throughout the country.
The lower part of Crmnica lies on the shore of Lake Skadarsko , a huge water surface forming a border with Albania. Around the lake are many small fishing villages with preserved rural architecture as well as small isolated on their tiny islets.
North of Lake Skadarsko is the plain of Zeta with the capital city Podgorica lying in its middle. Approaching the city one can observe rural Zeta as it once was, with poplars standing by streams and rivers that irrigate Zeta and spill into Morača, the largest of its rivers. The plain of Zeta is also the place where huge vine and fruit plantations are located. Podgorica has suffered greatly in WWII and is essentially a modern city, unburdened by history and willing for the reshaping of its looks.
River Zeta springs in the vicinity of Nikšić but after only a dozen of kilometers disappears underground and then continues steadily south east towards Podgorica. Near to the site where it reappears is Ostrog Monastery in the fantastic setting high up in the forbidding rock which from afar seems impossible to reach. Fertile fields and small groves lie around the slow waters of river Zeta, whose banks offer a place of refreshment in the heat of long summers. Half way to Podgorica is the administrative and economical center of this valley, the town of Danilovgrad. Its rectangular street plan reveals that before the capture of Podgorica the town was intended to become the capitals of the country.
Thanks to the vicinity of the sea the whole of the region enjoys sub-Mediterranean climate with long summers and fairly cold winters. In summers Podgorica and the plain of Zeta live through sizzling heat waves with temperatures rising as far as the low 40⁰Cs that wipe out the greenness of the area while the upper regions, including Cetinje, are enjoyably fresh. Winters see more rain than snow but can get quite chilly.
Montenegro Hostel Team