MUSEUMS IN MONTENEGRO
National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje
The National Museum of Montenegro is a complex institution comprising of five museums: Historic, Ethnografic (with the Relief Map of Montenegro), theMuseum of Arts, Njegos Museum (Biljarda-Njegos's residence at Cetinje and his birth house at Njegusi) and the Museum of King Nikola. This museum complex also includes the Library and Archives Department with over 100,000 books and over 100,000 documents, then the Conservation and Preparation Department and Documentation Department. Within the National Museum, there is in place an up-to-date documentation and computer processing system. It also serves as the central office for all Montenegrin museums. As of late, special attention is given to publishing activities and presentation of museum exhibits. All units of the National Museum of Montenegro (except for Njegos's birth house) are located in the historic town of Cetinje. Adjacent, there is also the Cetinje Monastery housing a rich treasury.
Historic Museum of Montenegro was opened in 1989, as the youngest in the family of Cetinje-based museums. It is housed in the historic building of Vladin dom (Government House), built in 1910. Its permanent display is a testament of the social, economic, political, military and cultural past of Montenegro, from the Middle Paleolithic to the most recent days. It includes the following collections: Prehistory and Ancient Times, Middle Ages, 16th, 17th and 18th century, Cration of the Montenegrin State(1796-1878), Modern Montenegrin State(1878-1918), Montenegro(1918-1941), World War II and the Revolution and Post-war Development of Montenegro. Part of the museum holdings have been temporarily given over to the Historic Museum by the Centre for Archeological Research, the Museum of the City of Podgorica, the Polimlje Museum in Berane and the Republic Institute for Monument Protection. These holdings dispose of some 1,500 items and over 1,000 (arms, flags, coats-of-arm, seals, archeological, numismatic and philatelist collections, collection of arts and photographs, etc), together with the items of once Museum of People’s Liberation Struggle (NOB), make a highly interesting and rich museum exposition. From 1960 the NOB Museum was housed at Biljarda. Since its ambition was not only to cover the period of People’s Liberation Struggle, but also the development of revolutionary labour movement and social events after the World War II, it was decided to join it to the Historic Museum. Within the new museum concept, the display is entitled Revolutionary Labour Movement and People’s Liberation Struggle in Montenegro.
Museum of Fine Arts of Montenegro
The Gallery of Fine Arts was established in Cetinje in 1950, aimed to study and monitor the development of fine arts, to collect, preserve and display artefacts of artistic value and, by proper selection, to provide a comprehensive overview of the most significant works of art. Initially, it operated within the State Library, and then indipedndently from 1952-1963. Then it was integrated with other Cetinje-based museums into the General Museum of Montenegro (Museums of Cetinje, 1965), and eventually the National Museum of Montenegro (1992). The Gallery of Fine Arts became the Museum of Fine Arts of Montenegro in 1970s. Its holdings contain some 3,000 items, including some masterpieces of contemporary Yugoslav and Montenegrin fine arts. The diverse and extremely valuable holdings, displayed at Vladin dom, have been divided into ten collections: the Collection of Copies of Frescoes, the Collection of Icons, the Collection of Montenegrin Fine Art, the Collection of Yugoslav Fine Arts, the Collection of Works by Foreign Authors, the Collection of Milica Sarić Vukmanović and Svetozar Vukmanović Tempo, the Collection of Caricatures, the Collection of Legacies and the Collection within the “Yugoslav Artists to Njegoš” Gallery (fine, applied and naïve arts). The Collection of Montenegrin Fine Arts holds the greater number of items and gives a panorama of Montenegrin works of art. Apart from the baroque painter Tripo Kokolja, it features the works of renowned artists from late 19th century to the most recent times. Thanks to the patronage of the Montenegrin ruler, the first generation of young gifted people went for studies into the developed fine art centers (Naples, Rome, Athens, Paris and Moscow). Although mostly relying on already outdated forms of academic realism (Anastas Bocarić, Milo Vrbica, Ilija Šobajić, Marko Brežanin), certain artists like Pero Poček, the originator of Montenegrin Modernism, Đoko Popović and Špiro Bocarić followed the trends of contemporary European painting (plain air painting, impressionism). The artistic creation of the first half of the 20th century is represented by the works of artists educated in Belgrade, Roma, Vienna, Prague and Paris, which may rightfully be said to belong to the European Modernism. They accept the new literary expressions: expressionism, Cezannism, poetic realism, intimism and socio-realistic tendencies (Milo Milunović, Miloš Vušković, Mihailo Vukotić, Jovan Zonjić, Petar Lubarda, Risto Stijović, Savo Vujović). The second half of the 20th century meant a real eruption of the “kindled visual art creation” in which various artists, following own disposition and expressive capabilities, created a distinctive ars poetica deeply rooted in the Montenegrin people.
The most noteworthy team are Vojo Stanić and Dimitrije Popović renowned worldwide.
The works of Mihailo Vukotić, Milo Milutinović, Petar Lubarda, Branko Filipović and Miodrag Dado Đurić leading Montenegrin artists without whose contribution it would be impossible to follow the development trends of modern Montenegrin painting, are displayed separatelely.
Collection of icons held by the Museum of Fine Arts may be classified into three units: the icons of Russian provenience, made late 19th and early 20th century, Italo-Cretan icons from late 17th and from 18th century which arrived to Montenegro via merchant and cultural links with the West, and icons of local masters, made within the icon-painting school of the family Dimirijević-Rafailović from the Boka Kotorska Bay.
Here there are also some painting of foreign authors with the religious topics: the Execution of St. Genevieve from 17th century and the Holy Family by the Italian painter G.B. Pittoni.
At a separate room called the Blue Chapel, the icon of Our Lady of Philermos, one of the major Christian relics, originating from Jerusalem in early 12th century is displayed. The robe of the Virgin adorned with precious stones ( sapphires and diamonds) as well as horse-shoe shaped halo decorated with diamonds and rubies, were made in early 18th century by the most famous goldsmiths and jewelers of St Petersburg and Moscow.
The Collection of Fresco Copies, a part of which is displayed at the Museum of History, represent a testimony of the authentic beauty of fresco painting in Montenegrin churches and monasteries, today, unfortunately, for the most part destroyed by the ravages of the time. Nevertheless, the collection provides a significant contribution to the understanding of the cultural development and socio-economic setting of Montenegro from early 11th century onwards.
Ethnographic Museum of Montenego –Cetinje
The Ethnographic Museum of Montenegro was established in 1951 at premises of Biljarda, together with museum of Njegoš and People’s Liberation Struggle. Here it remained until the disastrous earthquake in 1979. It holds extremely valuable items from all over of Montenegro illustrating the richness and tangible and intangible culture of the peoples living within its territory. It disposes of valuable collection featuring the economic activities, nutrition, housing, textile crafts, arms, music instruments, money, etc. The holdings contain some works of folk arts and crafts of high artistic value, bearing witness of the influences of various culture and styles.
The Ethnographic Museum did not have own display area from 1979 to 2002, when it was finally placed within the building of the former Serbian Embassy. It is so designed to enable setting occasion thematic exhibitions, such as Chests in Montenegro From Fibre to Fabric, etc.
The exposition is made of items in daily use: folk costumes, mats, coverlets, bags, rugs, prayer rugs and some fine examples of lace and embroidery. Most of the displayed items represent supreme achievements of folk art.
In the textile crafts, the greatest diversity and richness is seen in the marking of rugs and national costumes. Rug-making, particularly developed in the northern region of Montenegro, reflects oriental influences. Several types of folk costumes from various parts of Montenegro are exhibited in the Museum: the one from Boka of Malisors, of Šestani, etc. Some 150 displayed museum items, mostly from 19th and 20th century, confirm the centuries-long multi-national harmony in these areas.
As an integral part of the Ethnographic Museum, located within the yard of Biljarda, there is pavilion housing the relief map of Montenegro. It was made in 1916-17 during the Austro -Hungarian occupation, by some Austro-Hungarian officers wishing to have better understanding of and be able to exercise better control over the occupied areas on Montenegro during the World War One.
This topographic relief has the scale 1:10,000 and was made on concrete base with dioramic elements. Since it was tailored to suit the military needs, the Relief Map of Montenegro is a unique monument of the kind in Europe. It gives rise to its specific historic and documentary value and the character of a work of applied arts, and thus in 1961 it was listed as a monument of culture.
The Relief Map covers the entire present territory of Montenegro with the adjacent areas. Skillfully painted , it conjures up the magnificent diversity of the terrain. A significant contribution to shaping the relief , apart from Austrian experts of various backgrounds (lieutenant-colonels Mayer and Albert, major Sickel, engineer Miler, sergeant Sugar and the academic painter Grabwinkler) and Italian officers taken captives ( painters and cartographers), was given by famous Montenegrin sculptor Marko Bežanin. The modern construction above the relief was built in 1979, with a guideway around the whole relief map. At the same time, the necessary conversation and restoration works was done.
Njegoš Museum ( Biljarda)
Njegoš’s Museum is housed in Biljarda, the residence of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, built in 1938, in the immediate vicinity of the Cetinje Monastery. It was named after billiard, favorite game of Njegoš.
The design of Biljarda was done by Russian diplomat Jegor Ozereckovski. It is one story building with a stone wall, fenced yard and four towers on corners. There are well located within the spacious yard , and this Biljarda had all the features of a fortified castle. In time it has undergone several radical changes. It was only in 1951, on one hundredth anniversary of Njegoš’s death, that the whole edifice was reconstructed. Its authentic appearance was restored, except for this part where Austrians built the Relief Map during the world War One.
Apart from serving as residence of Petar II Njegoš, Price Danilo and King Nikola, Biljarda also housed many state institutions. For a time, the Negoš’s printing house, a grammar school, a theological school, and briefly also the Girls’ Institute operated there. In early 20th century housed various ministers. However, Biljarda is largely associated with Njegoš.
There he made his magnificent works, governed the state and hosted many a famous person of politics and cultural life of Europe of his time. Today Biljarda is the place where one may most powerfully experience the time and circumstances in which the greatest Montenegrin poet created. On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Njegoš,s death, a memorial museum was opened in Biljarda displaying many items linked to him personally and to Montenegro of his time. Today the museum display is housed on the first floor of this edifice, while the ground floor is used for various cultural events.
The oldest edition of Njegoš’s works the original letters and related notes are displayed in Biljarda. The Njegoš’s works the original letters and related notes are displayed in Biljarda. The Njegoš,s best known work Mountain Wreath with all the 19th century editions and subsequent translations into foreign languages occupies the central place. This room is further adorned with the work of arts inspired by Njegoš, whose creators were famous artist such as: Josip Tomnić, Johan Bes, Pero Poček, Ivan Meštrović, Risto Stijović….
Some authentic items illustrate radical reforms of the political and economic life conducted at the time of Njegoš’s rule.
There are some pieces of the original furniture, prince –bishop’s gown , a chair for rest, etc at display. The exposition is dominated by a rich library containing, in addition to his own, also the works of Petar I. The holdings also contain books in various fields of social sciences: philosophy, history, literature, written in different languages. The original manuscript of the Mountain Wreath ( 1847), Njegoš,s golden fountain pen, the inkstand and several personal displayed in a separate china cabinet. There is also Njegoš,s billiard table displayed in the billiard room, the one after which the whole building was named. The display contains by Josip Broz Tito to the Museum as a sign of respects for the personality and the work of the Montenegrin poet statesman.
Njegoš,s birth house is located in the little hamlet Erakovići in Njeguši, on the very road leading from Kotor to Cetinje. It was built by Njegoš’s uncle Petar I , around 1970. It was adapted in 1973 and has the status of an ethnographic memorial building. Today it houses the exhibits depicting the way of the way of living back in Njegoš,s times.
Numerous and diverse items are on display: works of art, some authentic furniture and cutlery, sumptuous, weapons, works of bishop-princes and statesmen from house of Petrović Njegoš. The central position is occupied by a stone hearth with cookware.
The whole area is adorned with valuable works of art, thematically linked with dynasty Njegoš.
An array of farming tools makes an integral part of the exposition.
Museum of King Nikola
The King Nikola’s Museum was established 1926within the residence of the last Montenegrin ruler Nikola I Petrović Njegoš, continuing the tradition of collecting, preserving and cherishing the national cultural heritage.
The construction of the building commenced in 1867. Unfortunately, the names of the main architect and the first builders was intended as a residence for the window and daughters of Prince Danilo. Since Princes Darinka, however, decided to leave Montenegro, this edifice was given a new function. The members of the ruler’s family moved from Biljarda to this new palace.
Throughout its existence the ruler’s residence has undergone a number of significant reconstruction, always aspiring to preserve its original simplicity and unimposing interior and exterior. Last major adaptations were done before celebration of the golden jubilee in 1970 when the building was given its today’s appearance. Many foreign publicists, travel writers and scientists, staying at the Montenegrin capital, left precious testimonies of Montenegrin court.
The newly established State Museum ( today the King Nikola’s Museum) united the holding of the Military and the Folk museum, the institutions established in 19th of century, as well as preserved inventory from the Montenegrin dynastic residences.
Thus, early on this operation, it gathered at the same venue the most significant museum items related to the political, military and cultural history of Montenegro. It provides a continuous insight into Montenegro state history, from Mid Ages to 1918, when it disappeared as an independent stat from the political map of Europe.
The permanent display here is designed as the reconstruction of the interior of the ruler’s residence with fragmentary presentation of Montenegro past in those parts where the authentic items for the restoration of the court ambience where missing . In time, these collections were being enriched, primarily from family legacies. Today they are quite unique in many aspects, a fact of extraordinary importance for this institution.
In the multitude of museums of museum items, the following collections stand out: weapons ( trophy and ceremonies ones), decorations ( Montenegrin and foreign) flags ( Montenegrin and Turkish), plaques, coat of arms, stamps, photographs, then the archaeological numismatic, artistic, ethnographic and applied arts collections. The court library makes an integral part of exposition. It is holdings include some 10,000 preserved books from once court library established in late 18th century and subsequently systematically enriched until 1916 when the court was deserted. The King Nikola’s Museum was established in 1926 within the residence of the last Montenegrin ruler Nikola I Petrović Njegoš, continuing tradition of collecting, preserving and cherishing the national cultural heritage. The construction of the building commenced in 1863, and was completed in 1867. Unfortunately, the names of the main architect and the first builders remained unknown. Originally, the building was intended as a residence for the widow and daughters of Prince Danilo. Since Princess Darinka, however, decided to leave Montenegro, this edifice was given a new function. The members of the ruler’s family moved from Biljarda to this new “palac”, as Montenegrins used to call it. Throughout its existence the ruler’s residence was undergone a number of significant reconstructions, always aspiring to preserve its original simplicity and unimposing interior and exterior. Last major adaptations were done before the celebration of the golden jubilee in 1910, when the building was given its today’s appearance. Many foreign publicist, travel writers and scientists, staying at the Montenegrin capital, left precious descriptions, often even artistic testimonies of the Montenegrin court. The newly established State Museum (today the King Nikola’s Museum) united the holdings of the Military and the Folk museum, the institutions established in 19th century, as well as all preserved inventory from the Montenegrin dynastic residences. Thus, early on in its operation, it gathered on the same venue the most significant museum items related to the political, military and cultural history of Montenegro. It provides a continuous insight into Montenegrin state history, from Mid Ages to 1918, when it disappeared as an independent state from the political map of Europe. The permanent display is designed as the reconstruction of the interior of the ruler’s residence with fragmentary presentation of the Montenegrin past in those parts where the authentic items for the restoration of the court ambience were missing. In time, these collections were being enriched, primarily from family legacies. In the multitude of museum items, the following collections stand out: weapons (trophy and ceremonious ones), decorations (Montenegrin and foreign), flags (Montenegrin and Turkish), plaques, coat-of-arms, stamps, photographs, then the archeological, numismatic, artistic, ethnographic and applied arts collections. The court library makes an integral part of the exposition. Its holdings include some 10,000 preserved books from once court library established in late 18th century and subsequently systematically enriched until 1916, when the court was deserted. In addition to fiction, there is a significant portion of books in various fields of social and exact sciences in all major world languages. Some extremely valuable pieces of unique old books and documents and bibliophilic edition in luxury buildings with inscriptions of authors and publishers are also on display. The copies of the Prince’s literary works (dramas), translated into English, Russian, Italian and Dutch are housed in a separate room. There is at display also a copy of “The Balkans Empress”, printed in Cetinje in 1886, as well as the “Album of the House of Petrović’s” (1910), whose covers were decorated by Rudolf Valdec, a sculptor from Zagreb. The display contains incunabula from the Crnojević printing house: “Octoechoes of the First Voice” , printed in Cetinje in 1493 (the first book ever printed among the South Slavs), one page of the Octoechoes of the Fifth Voice, nowhere preserved in full. It is the first illustrated book printed in Cyrillic letters. Montenegrin incunabula are characterized by their beauty and sumptuous decorations, a large number of initials, flags and illustrations. Crnojević’s printing house was the first state-owned printing house in the world. On the occasion of its 400th anniversary (1893), Prince Nikola received five honorary diplomas of large European universities: Sorbonne, Oxford, Petrograd, Harkov and Kazan.
Cetinje Monastery is the single most important monument of this town at the foot of Mount Lovćen, where the destiny of Montenegrin people was decided upon and where it was shaped. It was built in 1701 by Bishop-Prince Danilo, the founder of Petrović Njegoš dynasty, after the destruction of Crnojević Monastery. The new monastery retained the characteristic architectural elements of the previous temple. Above the entrance to the church there is an inscription of the donor, Ivan Crnojević, transferred from the old temple, and at the apse a table with the coat-of-arms of Crnojević’s family and along the south outer wall a number of decorative consoles. The old stone sculptural elements were given a prominent place in the centre of the loggia on the second floor of the lodgings. The monastery complex was adapted and extended on several occasions, and was substantially restored in 1927 when the new metropolitan residence was built. In the centre of the complex there is a church dedicated to Virgin Mary’s Nativity. Prince Danilo and Duke Mirko, father to King Nikola, are buried there. Within the south choir there is reliquary of the St. Peter of Cetinje, because of which the Cetinje Monastery is often referred by his name. At the northern side of the church there is a cell of St. Peter’s. To the south of the church there are two story lodging quarters with arcade cornices. Adjacently, in the so-called Njegoš’s lodgings, once the metropolitan residence, the monastery treasury is housed. By richness and particular features of the preserved items, it is one of the most significant and richest in Montenegro. An outstanding collection of manuscripts and old printed books from 13th to 18th century is of particular importance. Some of them were even parchment manuscripts decorated by miniatures. Some of the Crnojević’s incunabula are at display, some post-incunabula from the printing house of Božidar and Vićenco Vuković (first half of the 16th century), as well of the numerous copies of illuminated and silver plated Russian editions. Since Cetinje Monastery was the residence of Montenegrin rulers, numerous valuable items related to the spiritual rites were also preserved: panhagios, robes, mitres, scepters, etc. The panhagios (necklaces with the image of Virgin Mary worn by bishop-princes) stand out for their luxurious making. Also, the religious items made of precious metals, such as: chalices, patens (discos) crosses, then the icons of the domestic, Russian, Greek and Italo-Cretan origin draw attention. The treasury of the Cetinje Monastery holds some collections of votive gifts, reliquaries, stamps, decorations, paintings. Following the 1979 earthquake, the monastery was restored and its treasury given a museum-like design. By its historic mission played over several centuries, the Cetinje Monastery was the centre of spirituality, free-thinking, humane and enlightenment ideas, thus rightfully occupying a prominent place in overall Montenegrin history.
The Museum of Natural History was established in 1995 within the premises of the Nature Protection Institute. The initial holdings came from the once Nature Collection of the Nature Protection Institute. The collection included several hundreds of stuffed birds and fish, mostly from Skadar Lake, as well as a certain number of animal species. Today the museum holds 12 collections: algae, moss, fungi, ferns and flowering plants, invertebrates, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and the paleo-zoological collection.
The Centre for Modern Arts was established in 1995 by integrating two institutions of culture: the National Cultural Centre and the Gallery of the Non-Aligned Countries “Josip Broz Tito”. It is housed in Kruševac, an edifice built in late 19th century. The central building of the complex is the once residence of the Duke Mirko Petrović Njegoš, known as the Palace of the Petrović. The permanent display of the gallery includes around 1,000 items originating from some 60 countries of the world, from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as a collection of Yugoslav and Montenegrin artists. The oldest items date from 7th century BC, and the newest from the last decades of the 20th century. Apart from works of fine arts, there are also works of applied arts and ethnography, adding variety to the display. Alongside the Palace there is also the gallery Perjanički dom (House of King’s Guard), where thematic exhibitions, book promotions, literary nights, symposiums, and classical music concerts are organized occasionally.
The Museums and Galleries of Podgorica was established in 1950, at first as a collection centre, and as of 1961, it started operating as a Homeland Museum. By merging with the Gallery of Modern Arts and the Risto Stijović Gallery, as of 1974 this institution has come to be known as Museums and Galleries of Titograd, today Podgorica. It has very rich holdings convincingly speaking of important historic processes, cultural achievements and traditional value of this area. The diversity of museum items enabled the classification of the display into four thematic units providing a meaningful and complex museum impression of the multi-millennium existence of Podgorica. Through the museum items, archive materials, photographs and other items from oldest times until the present day, the display highlights the most important periods, events and personalities in the history of Podgorica. Following the displayed archeological material, in particular the items depicting the period between the 3rd and 6th century, the historic continuity and cultural prosperity of this area may be seen, which is crowned by the Roman municipium Doclea. The museum items from the site of Doclea undoubtedly show that at the turn of the eras, a culture worthy of the most developed civilizations of the time flourished here. The cultural and historic processes from early 16th to 20th century are presented with icons and printed books of Orthodox and Islamic provenience, ornaments and items in daily use. The ethnographic material of three confessions, Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim, from early 18th to early 20th century, is exhibited. Those items illustrate the culture of housing, folk costumes, ornaments, weapons and other items in daily use with prominent artistic traits, but by unknown authors.
Museum of Marko Miljanov at Medun
Some dozen kilometers away from Podgorica there is the ancient town Medun (Mateon), the seat of the Illyrian tribe Labeatae, established in 4th century BC. At the foot of the Medun’s acropolis there is a house where Marko Miljanov Popović, a distinguished Montenegrin hero and author lived. In 1971 it was turned into a Memorial Museum, dedicated to this important historic figure. The building was adapted in 1979. The authentic exterior of the building was preserved, while the interior was adapted for the museum display. The Memorial Museum of Marko Miljanov contains three segments: the historic, the ethnographic and the literary ones. The historic section depicts most significant events from the heroic life of Marko Miljanov, an eminent warrior and tribal leader, illustrated by personal belongings: costumes, weapons, photographs, documents, etc. The ethnographic part of the display contains some household items, costumes, ornaments and the items in daily use, highlighting the features of ordinary people’s lives. The literary section of the Museum highlights the literary activity of Marko Miljanov. The collection holds manuscripts, oldest editions of his works and his rich correspondence with his contemporaries. As a part of the collection, there are also some personal items of this renowned Montenegrin. The Museum also holds a library over 6,000 titles.
The Homeland Museum in Nikšić was established in 1951 and was housed in the King Nikola’s Palace dating from 1890. It is a two-storey building made of finely dressed stone with protruding side wings and the entry staircase. There is a balcony above the entrance. The arcade windows with highlighted frames stand out from the façade. The Homeland Museum in Nikšić holds several collections: the archeological, the ethnographic, the historic, the cultural-historic and the collection of labour movement and the People’s Liberation Struggle. The archeological collection holds the items from Crvena stijena, a prehistoric site in the immediate vicinity to the border between Montenegro and Herzegovina. The Middle Paleolithic, pre-Mousterian, is presented by stone tools of various shapes and purposes. It was only in layers belonging to the Mesolithic and the Neolithic that bone tools and pottery was found. In addition to a large amount of stone tools, the display also holds the bones of the exstinct animal species from the Crvena stijena, the richest such find for the Quarternary Period in Southeast Europe. The stone tools show certain specific features, following the development of the Paleolithic cultures in this area through highly pronounced local influences caused by particular geographic, geomorphologic and environmental conditions. As for the remaining archeological material, the Illyrian warrior equipment is worth mentioning, consisting on a large number of spears of a various sizes, one helmet, several leg and arm pads made of thin bronze plate. The numismatic collection which makes part of the cultural-historic collection abounds in Roman golden and silver coins, found in the area of the municipality of Nikšić. Particularly valuable are the Valerian’s and Nero’s coins. The weapons collection holds items linked with distinguished Montenegrins. In front of the Homeland Museum there are several standing tombstones, from once very rich Nikšić necropolis which, according to some sources, had as many as 396 of such tombstones. These sepulchral stones are characteristic for various forms and richness of decorative motifs dating from 14th to 17th century.
Centre for Culture Danilovgrad-Homeland Museum
The cultural activity of Danilovgrad is conducted within the centre for Culture, including the Homeland Museum. The Museum is placed within the Summer Residence of Prince Nikola I Petrović, built between 1873 and 1893. The Homeland Museum of Danilovgrad was established in 1960. Until 1965, when it was open for the public, it served exclusively as a depot for keeping museum items. It contains highly valuable exhibits: national costumes, various types of weapons, decorations, coats-of-arms, photographs and documents linked to the history of Danilovgrad area. Although a part of the ethnographic materials was purchased, most of the holdings were offered as gifts. The cultural and historic picture of the Danilovgrad area is presented by the permanent display. Museum items are systematized into collections: the archeological, the numismatic, the ethnographic, the collection of weapons and accessories, decorations, coats-of-arms, photographs and documents. The archeological collection is of particular value. It was established mostly from the items found in the sites within this area. Here there are two finds from the Roman era. As for this collection, the most interesting items were found in Martinića gradina, in the immediate vicinity of Danilovgrad, from early Middle Ages. The display contains: the reconstruction of an early Christian basilica from this site, capitals, Roman tombstone, skyphos, Illyrian weapons, medieval swords belonging to the Bosnian King Tvrtko I Kotromanić, a column from Šipkova glavica. In addition to a set of sumptuous Montenegrin costumes, the ethnographic collection holds unique stone chain which won the first prize at the Crafts Exhibition held in Podgorica in 1934. Among other exhibitions, there is a troop flag from the battle at Vučji do in 1876, as well as numerous decorations. As a special curiosity, there are at display the ritual book and the cross of the Priest Đorđe Kalezić, taking part in the People’s Liberation Struggle.
The first maritime collection of the fraternity of Bokeška mornarica (Boka Marine) was opened in 1880 in Kotor. Its documents from 1900 say that some items were placed before the public view which, apart from the costume and weapons of the fraternity, also contained other items of great cultural and historic value. It pushed the fraternity management to establish “a historic museum where to place old weapons, documents and all other items available to celebrate the memory of the survival of Boka Marine”. The Museum of Boka Marine was opened in 1938 at the premises of the Grgurina Palace. This baroque building from early 17th century was completely restored and adapted for the needs of the Museum from 1949-1952. At the entrance hall to the Museum there are six relief tables at display depicting the most significant events from the glorious past of Boka Kotorska and models of ships from 15th to 18th century. At the staircase, connecting the hall with the first floor, old geographic maps and costal town plans, made between 16th and 19th century are displayed. The central display is dedicated to the period between 16th and 18th century, when the domestic shipping and trade developed, and the seafarers of Boka participated in the construction of war and merchant ships abroad. This display includes also the portraits of famous people from Boka, documents, ship models and parlours of families Ivelić from Risan and Florio from Prčanj. Among the ethnographic items, there are national costumes typical of the Montenegrin coast, jewellery and decorative items. The weapons hall features a part of one of the richest museum displays of the kind within the former Yugoslavia. The models of weapons, done at the armourers shops of Boka Kotorska, are of exceptional value. At the staircase, linking the first and the second floor, there are pictures of sailing boats owned by the captains originating from the Montenegrin coast in 19th century. The central room on the second floor displays, among the arrayof portraits of prominent seafarers and ship owners of Boka, a portrait of Ivo Visin from Prčanj, who was the first South Slav to circumnavigate the world in his brigantine Splendido, from 1852-1859. In a separate room there are items and photographs related to the World War One and Two. The documents related to the mutiny of sailors onboard Austro-Hungarian battleships in 1918 in Boka incite particular interest. A piece of the bow of the destroyer “Zagreb”, sank at Tivat bay by two navy officers Milan Spasić and Sergej Mašera in 1941, is also kept here. One exhibition hall is dedicated to Boka Marine, old maritime fraternity, which, as legend has it, was established in 9th century. There are also costumes and uniforms of Boka Marine, the flag of the St Tryphon from the first half of the 19th century, the keys to the town of Kotor, and the photocopies of the St Nikola’s fraternity statute from 1463 are also displayed. In addition, the museum display features the development of maritime education steam shipping in Montenegro, in 19th and 20th century, focusing on merchant marine shipping company Jugooceanija, established in 1955.
Museums of Kotor: -Museum of the Town of Perast
The Museum of the Town of Perast was established in1937 by the decision of town authorithies. The museum holdings were largely established by donations from the local population, the heirs of renewed families in second half of the 19th century and in early 20th century. Apart from the portraits of famous seafarers from Perast, weapons and other items illustrative of the town history, there are also archive materials of the town of Perast from mid 15th century. The Museum was originally housed within the building of Perast Council, and in 1948 it was extended. By the decision of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of Montenegro, the Homeland Museum was established in Perast in 1950. The most representative building in Perast, the Captain Visko Bujović’s palace from 1694, was adapted for these purposes. As of 1970, the Memorial of Visković Family makes part of the Museum. It became one of the organizational units within the municipal institucion called “Museums of Kotor” in 1992. This Museum also includes the Historic Museum with Lapidarium, as well as the Gallery of Solidarity. The palace housing the Museum of the Town of Perast is one of the best known edifices of 17th century secular architecture on the Eastern Adriatic. It was built by brothers Ivan and Visko Bujović in 1694. It was built in the renaissance style with baroque details, shallow balconies and a specious terrace with a balustrade, bearing the family coat-of-arms. With its layout, the palace deviates from the common solutions for houses of nobility and captains of the time. It is one of the symbols of the “Golden Age” of Perast, which followed after the liberation of this part of Boka Kotorska Bay (from Risan to Heceg Novi) from Turkish dominance in late 17th century. It is the time of flourishing marine trade, the economic and cultural prosperity of the town, as the most significant centre of Boka of the time. Through rich holdings of the Museum of the Town of Perast, classified into several collections, one may follow the historic, maritime, economic and cultural development of the town from the times of Venetian dominance (1420-1797) to the Franch and Austrian reign in 19th century when the town experienced stagnation and downfall. The historic and artistic collections contains several sub collections; portraits, maritime pictures, icons, diplomas, coats-of-arms of Perast and the local families, old atlases, maps and charts, photographs, images of sailing-vessels and maritime battles. The ethnographic collection holds national costumes, weapons, movable property and items in daily use from 16th to 19th century. The maritime collection contains the models of sailing vessels from Perast, charts, navigation aids, octants, compasses and other shipboard items. The Museum also holds rich and diverse archive holdings of the Perast municipality from 1441-1945. The display was enriched by the Visković Family legacy which will be returned to the original setting once the restoration of the Visković’s palace was completed.
St Tryphon’s Cathedral
St Tryphons Cathedral is the single most renowned piece of architectural heritage of Medieval Kotor. It was built on the place of a pre-Romanesque church from 809, dedicated to the same saint. The new cathedral was built over several decades and eventually completed in 1166. This three-nave basilica has a central nave which is twice as wide as the side ones, from which its separated by robust pillars with Corinthian capitals. The naves end in semi-circular apses. Two belfries are attached to the western wall. They were given their present appearance after the 1667 earthquake, when the cathedral suffered great damages. Among the decorative elements, the most prominent ones are the baroque belfry opening and a row of stylized heads, a large rosette on the façade, a frieze of blind arcades along the roof cornice, the reconstructed southern portal and the triphora of the main apse with harmoniously fit Romanesque and gothic motifs. The Cathedral holds exceptionally valuable movable property and works of art, housed within the church and the treasury (reliquary). Special value is attached to one side of the ciborium with pre-Romanesque wickerwork pattern and lions, originating from the earlier church. It is presumed that the new ciborium was made in 14th century by a disciple of Fra. Vito Kotoranin. The side apses the house gothic sculptures, while the four marble altars were made in Venice in 18th century. The relief depicting the image of Our Lady with the Christ-child was made by Deziderio Kotoranin in the baroque style. There is also a masterpiece of medieval Kotor goldsmith craft – a gold-plated silver altar plate. As for fresco decorations from the first half of 15th century, there are some smaller fragments of the composition Crucifixion and Removal from Cross, and some dozen or so figures at the peaks of arches between the naves. As for easel paintings, the most prominent ones are: Crucifixion, by Bassano Senior, the icon Our Lady with the Christ-child, attributed to Lovro Dobričević, St. Bartholomew, St. George and St. Anthony by Gerolamo da Santa Croce, Homage of Kings by Michael Neidlinger and couple of works by famous authors more. The cathedral reliquary is housed in a semi-circular chapel with marble reliefs and free-standing sculptures made in early 18th century by the Venetian sculptor Francesko Cabianca. Apart from the “silver power-wielder” and the “holy head” of St. Tryphons, numerous relics and votive items of various forms, the works of goldsmiths from Kotor from 15th to 19th century, are also kept here.
Our Lady of the Rock – Perast
In the immediate vicinity of Perast there is a tiny island of Our Lady of the Rock, with the church of the same name on it. It is an artificial island made by throwing stones and submerging old ships around a sea rock. There is a tradition of throwing rocks around the island (fašinada) kept alive even now and held every 22nd of July. The legend has it that fisherman from Perast found there a miraculous icon Our Lady with the Christ, now adorning the main altar of the church. The original church built in mid-15th century was rather small in size. As the area of the island kept increasing, in 1630 the current church was built which in time has undergone numerous changes. There were intensive works conducted on the church complex between 1720-1725, when the eight-sided presbytery with a dome and a round belfry with horizontal cornice and loopholes was built, which had a sacral, a lookout and a defensive function. The famous icon Our Lady of the Rock, made in mid-15th century byLovro Dobričević, is placed at the main stone altar. The church interior is decorated by 68 compositions, made by Tripo Kokolja as commissioned by Andrija Zmajević. It is the most comprehensive by Kokolja, and it took the famous master ten years to complete it. The large compositions of particular importance are: Virgin Mary’s Coronation, Virgin Mary’s Death and Virgin Mary’s Ascension. Some forty pictures of various size, framed by golden-plated rope, the symbol of seafarers, surround this composition. Apart from the works by Kokolja, at display thereare also votive plaques with relief images of ships from Boka, which are, by tradition, protected, guided and assisted by Our Lady of the Rock in the adversities of the seas. The church also holds a collection of most diverse items, from archeological exhibits, images of ships from various periods to artistic crafts items for daily use.
St. Nikola’s Church
St. Nikola’s Church is located at a square in the centre of Perast. Its construction was completed in 1616, although it is supposed there used to be an older building on the same site. It is a single-nave with paintings. The building was made of finely dressed stone from Korčula Island, with two lavishly profiled portals adorned with late renaissance ornaments. The main altar is of baroque style from 17th century originating from Venice. Two stone baptismal fonts, gifts from Andrija Zmajević, were made by masters from Korčula in 1660. The church holds a painting by famous baroque master from Perast, Tripo Kokolja, the Miracles of St. Anthony of Padua and 16 medallions depicting scenes of prayers of Our Lady’s Rosary. Adjacent to the church, there is a 55-metre high belfry built in 1691 by Ivan Baptizer Skarpa from Hvar and is considered to be one of the most beautiful baroque belfries on the Eastern Adriatic. From the church, one enters the treasury holding numerous paintings, icons, artistic and filigree items and liturgical robes.
Homeland Museum and Artistic Gallery “Josip Bepo Benković”
The museum activity in Herceg Novi is organized through the public institutions “Homeland Museum” and Gallery of Arts “Josip Bepo Benković”. The museum was established by the decision of the Municipality of Herceg Novi in 1950. In the beginning it was designed as a museum for the whole area of Boka Kotorska. It consisted of the ethnographic, historic and the division for the People’s Liberation Struggle, and the iconographic and maritime collections with over 350 items. With the division of Boka Kotorska region into municipalities, the Museum was put under the competence of the municipality of Herceg Novi. It holds museum items illustrative of the whole Boka Kotorska area. In 1956, the Archives and the Library were separated from the museum. This museum holds several collections: -the ethnographic collection with 632 items. Apart from the permanent display, several highly successful ethnographic exhibitions were also organized: Ornaments from Kosovo, Folk Arts and Crafts of Montenegro, Savina Monastery Treasury etc;
-the archeological collection that contains 110 items. Over 20 archeological sites were discovered within the area of Herceg Novi municipality, just a few being investigated and published. The St. Toma’s Church in Kuti, the sites in Rose and Lipci and the pre-historic tumulus in Glogovnik surpass the borders of Montenegro by their importance;
-the historic collection with 117 items;
The collection referring to People’s Liberation Struggle with over 2,200 photographs, 237 documents and 18 items;
-the iconographic collection of some thirty icons;
-the maritime collection disposing of some twenty items and ten documents;
-a 67-item lapidarium.
There are several rare and unique items on display in the Homeland Museum of Herceg Novi, in particular the parapet plaque from 11th century discovered in St. Toma’s Church in Kuti. It consists of a base, a relief plate with angels and a cross and a beam with decorative columns. Remarkably valuable is also the Burnt Grave in an Earthen Urn, 5th century BC, which according to the available data, belonged to the Illyrians. The museum also holds a rich collection of Illyrian ornaments, a collection of icons made of wood, of famous icon-painting school Rafailović-Dimitrijević from Risan, national costumes, ethnographic items for daily use from the area of Boka Kotorska. In 1966 “Josip Bepo Benković” Gallery was joined to the museum, as a memorial institution, established by the Association of Soldiers from the People’s Liberation Struggle. The Gallery holds a large number of interesting items: paintings, sculptures and engravings. It also has two memorial rooms dedicated to Benković and Lučev, artist and prominent revolutionaries native of this area. There is also a Botanical Garden as a part of the Homeland Museum of Herceg Novi.
, one of the most significant monuments in Boka Kotorska, is located in the immediate vicinity of Herceg Novi. The monastery complex is made of two churches, dedicated to Our Lady’s Assumption, monastery lodgings with a treasury and a separate church dedicated to St. Sava. The oldest among them is the little church of Our Lady’s Assumption built, as a legend has it, in 1030. Judging by its style, it is presumed that it was built in mid 15th century, during the rule of Herceg Stefan; most likely, he was also its benefactor. It is a single-nave church with a semi-circular apse and a little belfry above the western façade. Several layers of fresco paintings were discovered in the church interior. The oldest is the one found in the apse with the images of great holidays and Christ’s suffering. These frescoes were made in mid 15th century by Lovro Dobričević, a painter from Kotor. The second layer of frescoes was made at a much later stage. The St. Sava’s Church, similar to the little church of Savina, has a similar layout and thus it is presumed that it was also built in 15th century. The large monastery church was built from 1777 to 1799 by the master from Korčula, Nikola Foretić. It is a spacious single-nave church divided into three bays. The belfry, attached to the western façade, is particularly sumptuous. Architecturally speaking the church is a combination of various styles, from the Byzantine, Romanesque-Gothic to the Baroque. The iconostasis was made by a priest Simeon Lazović and his son Aleksije from Bijelo Polje. The monastery treasury has a special historic and artistic value. Within its rich holdings, a special place is reserved for manuscripts and collections of old charters, the oldest being the Golden Bull of Emperor Uroš from 14th century, then the Šestodnevnik of Nikon of Jerusalem, made in 1440, Krmčija – collection of laws from 16th century, etc. The treasury holds a collection of icons, ritual items, craft works in silver plated with gold. The items from Tvrdoš Monastery, brought in late 15th century by fleeing monks, are also kept here. Within the monastery lodging quarters there is a church museum displaying a significant part of the monastery treasury.
Centre for Culture Tivat
Due to various circumstances, the museum activity did not follow the development of other segments of culture within the municipality of Tivat. It was only at the beginning of the 21st century that a huge step was made in that direction by opening an ethnographic collection, and with the ensuing establishment of the archeological and maritime collections, it will enable the establishment of the Homeland Museum of the town of Tivat. This is an area where diverse civilizations met and left remnants of their presence in tangible and intangible heritage of the Tivat area. Numerous archeological finds, written sources and, in particular, the monuments of culture bear witness of that. The most outstanding monument among the remnants of medieval architecture is the complex of fortified