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St George Monastery | © Ihor Pasternak/Shutterstock
St George Monastery | © Ihor Pasternak/Shutterstock | Ihor Pasternak/Shutterstock
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21 Breathtaking Photos of Montenegro’s Old-World Architecture

Picture of Sarah Pavlovic
Updated: 8 November 2017
Montenegro’s old-world architecture takes visitors on a journey through the history of a bygone era. On the coast, stone palaces line the shores and ancient old towns jut out into the azure sea. In the old royal capital, majestic residences remind visitors of a time when Montenegro was an important crossroad between east and west. And throughout the country, ornate churches serve as tributes to the devout faith that’s central to Montenegro’s culture. Take a beautiful and cultural journey through Montenegro’s breathtaking old-world architecture.
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Sveti Stefan

Montenegro’s famous Sveti Stefan is an icon. The 15th-century islet was once a tribal meeting place and trading centre on the Adriatic. Now it’s an exclusive Aman Resort where guests can relax in the village atmosphere and frolic on the pink sand beach.

Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

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Villa Milocer

Also part of Aman Sveti Stefan, Villa Milocer is the former royal summer residence of Queen Marija Karadjordjevic. The villa is surrounded by a beautiful forest of olives, pines and cedars. The front terrace is shaded with glorious purple wisteria, and the whole property sits on the shore of a private beach.

Villa Milocer, Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, +382 33 420 000

Villa Milocer | © Pear Blossom/WikiCommons

Villa Milocer | © Pear Blossom/WikiCommons | © Pear Blossom/WikiCommons

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Perast

Perast, in the Bay of Kotor, is one of the most picturesque towns in Montenegro. The seaside hamlet is full of restored palaces, churches and old ruins which show the wealth and power that was once concentrated here.

Perast, Montenegro

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Our Lady of the Rocks

Floating just off Perast’s shore is another icon of the Montenegrin coast – Our Lady of the Rocks. The man-made island was built in the 15th century by scuttling ships and throwing rocks. On the island, there is a small museum and Catholic Church, which is immediately recognisable by its blue-domed roof.

Our Lady of the Rocks, Montenegro

Our Lady of the Rocks | © Diego Delso/Flickr

Our Lady of the Rocks | © Diego Delso/Flickr

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Saint George Island

A stone’s throw from Our Lady of the Rocks, Saint George floats off Perast’s shore like it’s stopped in time. While Our Lady of the Rocks sees thousands of visitors annually, St George’s Orthodox monastery is off limits to visitors. The natural island with its monastic buildings and tall cypress trees completes Perast’s perfect view.

Saint George, Montenegro

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St George Monastery | © Ihor Pasternak/Shutterstock | Ihor Pasternak/Shutterstock

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Kotor

Kotor’s walled Venetian old town is a treasure trove of palaces, churches and old-world architecture. With its terracotta roofs, green shutters and bright flower boxes, this 15th-century town exudes old world charm.

Kotor old town, Montenegro

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San Giovanni Fortress

Snaking up the mountain that backs Kotor, San Giovanni Fortress is a challenge gladly taken on by tourists in Kotor. Also known as Sveti Ivan or Saint John’s Fortress, the 1,350 steps to the top are worth hiking, even in mid-summer heat. The fortress dates back to the 9th century and is in remarkably good condition. The views from the top are worth every step.

San Giovanni Fortress, Kotor, Montenegro

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San Giovanni Fortress, Kotor | © Xiquinho Silva/Flickr | Xiquinho Silva/Flickr

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Our Lady of Remedy

Half way up San Giovanni Fortress, Our Lady of Remedy’s bell tower shines like a beacon over the Bay of Kotor. Built in 1518, hikers heading up the fortress walls take a breather and offer up a prayer for the strength to keep going before making the final push for the summit.

Our Lady of Remedy, Kotor, Montenegro

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Our Lady of Remedy, Kotor | © Charlie/Flickr | Charlie/Flickr

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Fort Mamula

Standing guard at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, Fort Mamula on Lastava Island is a beautiful structure with a gruesome past. The island is part of a set of three fortresses marking the entrance to the bay: Arza on the Montenegrin side, Mamula in the middle and Prevlaka on the Croatian side. Mamula’s fortress is especially significant because it served as a prison island where Montenegrins were taken by the occupying Italian army during World War II.

Fort Mamula, Montenegro

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Ostrog Monastery

Ostrog Monastery is one of the most visited sites in the Christian world. Founded in the 17th century by St Basil of Ostrog, the monastery attracts people of all faiths. The seemingly gravity-defying monastery is carved into a face of sheer cliff and stands out like a beacon over Bjelopavlići Plain.

Ostrog Monastery, Danilovgrad, Montenegro, +382 68 330 336

Ostrog Monastery | © Dielgo Delso/WikiCommons

Ostrog Monastery | © Diego Delso/WikiCommons

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Djurdjevica Tara Bridge

Once the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe, the Djurdjevica Tara Bridge towers 172 metres above the Tara River and connects the two sides of the Tara Canyon. The beauty of the bridge is enhanced by the stunning greenery of Europe’s deepest canyon.

Djurdjevica Tara Bridge, Montenegro

Djurdjevica Tara Bridge | © Arno Hoyer/Flickr | © Arno Hoyer/Flickr

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Budva old town

It’s easy to see why Budva is one of the most popular destinations in Montenegro. Its 2,000-year-old town juts out into the glistening Adriatic, and it’s surrounded by idyllic beaches. The town was expanded by successive empires, but its architecture was mostly influenced by the Venetians who ruled it for nearly 400 years.

Budva old town, Montenegro

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Bar aqueduct

Bar old town’s aqueduct is a marvel of engineering and one of the best preserved in former Yugoslavia. The Ottoman Empire built the aqueduct in the 16th century, and it brought water to the town from Mount Rumija, three kilometres away.

Bar old town, Montenegro

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Ulcinj old town

Ulcinj’s old town is one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Sea. Pirates from Ulcinj would raid wealthy landowners in Dalmatia or Italy and bring them back as slaves. Rather than working, however, they would be held for ransom.

Ulcinj old town, Montenegro

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Petrovac

Petrovac’s Kastel Lastva is a beautiful Venetian fort that was built by the Venetians to protect ships along this stretch of the coast. The rest of Petrovac’s original town is made up of classic stone buildings, and, offshore, Sveti Nedjelja Church perches precariously on a rocky island.

Petrovac, Montenegro

Petrovac | © Olena Z/Shutterstock

Petrovac | © Olena Z/Shutterstock

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Rijeka Crnojevica

Rijeka Crnojevica’s stone bridge was built in 1853 by Prince Danilo, in memory of his father, Stanko Petrovic. The stone arch bridge and the surrounding buildings reveal a time when Rijeka Crnojevica was an important royal summer residence.

Rijeka Crnojevica, Montenegro

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King Nikola’s Court

Cetinje, as the old royal capital of Montenegro, is home to some of Montenegro’s most beautiful buildings. Chief among them is King Nikola’s Court. Now a museum in the centre of town, the building’s striking red façade and white shutters give an insight into Cetinje’s royal past.

King Nikola’s Court, Dvorski Trg, Cetinje, Montenegro

Cetinje | © Kevin Wallis

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Vladin Dom

More recent than other historic buildings in Montenegro, Vladin Dom was built in 1910. The building, which has an interior courtyard, was the former Montenegrin parliamentary building. Today it’s part of the Montenegrin National Museum and houses the art, historical and ethnographic collections.

National Museum of Montenegro Vladin Dom, Novice Cerovica, Cetinje, Montenegro, +382 41 230 310

Vladin Dom | © Imke.stahlmann/Flickr

Vladin Dom | © Imke.stahlmann/Flickr

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The Blue Palace

Also in Cetinje, the Blue Palace is the official residence of the president of Montenegro. The powder-blue residence has ornate white windows and striking red pillars. It was originally built for Prince Danilo in 1895 and remains one of the most beautiful buildings in Montenegro to this day.

Blue Palace, Njegoseva, Cetinje, Montenegro

The Blue Palace | © 12019/Pixabay

The Blue Palace | © 12019/Pixabay

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Former Russian embassy

Of all the regal former embassies in Cetinje, the former Russian embassy is the most impressive. The grand residence was designed by the Italian architect Coradini, who also designed Vladin Dom and the Italian embassy.

Former Russian Embassy, Vojvode Batrica, Cetinje, Montenegro

Former Russian Embassy | © Gennadiy Solovyev/Shutterstock.com

Former Russian Embassy | © Gennadiy Solovyev/Shutterstock.com

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Stara Varoš

Successive wars and heavy bombing during World War II have meant precious little remains of the historical buildings in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica. Stara Varoš is one part of Podgorica that has survived. The area is known for its Ottoman Turk style and has been the centre of the city since the 15th century.

Stara Varos, Podgorica, Montenegro

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Sahat Kula in Stara Varoš | © Rasho992/WikiCommons | Rasho992/WikiCommons