Destinations / Coastal region
The city Ulcinj, South coast of MontenegroSunday, February 6, 2011 · Region Coastal region · Comments
The City of Ulcinj is the most southern coastal town and municipality in Montenegro near the border of Albania. When you get to Ulcinj you notice the immediate difference from anywhere else to the North. The Venetian influence dominant for the Northern most reaches of the coast down to Bar is absent here. Ulcinj has a market oriental flavour, just 18 km shy of the Albanian border.
Ulcinj Stari Grad
Ulcinj is one of the oldest towns at the Montenegrin coast. Ulcinj center (Stari Grad) is surrounded with old walls and towers and it´s like an old castle overlooking the sea. You will find in the old city local shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries in small romantic streets, yet Ulcinj has little left to show from its ancient history since most was destroyed during the 1979 Earthquake. The town of Ulcinj has a population of 10,828 (2003 census), and it is the centre of Ulcinj municipality. This southernmost municipality of Montenegro has a population of 27,000.Most of the housing you will find are Turish-styled and huddle around the bay in the cramped Old Town and up in the surrounding hills. Since its population is mostly Muslim you will count some 26 mosques in town.
Ulcinj as a tourist destination
Arround the center of the old town, Ulcinj, one will find the bay of the ”Little Beach“. With its natural charms, Ulcinj is perfect for tourism. Ulcinj is considered to be a much warmer place compared to other towns on the Montenegrin coast. With 270 sunny days per year Ulcinj is one of Montenegro´s travel hot spots during the summer, autumn and spring season. Ulcinj is a typical Mediterranean travel destination with old narrow streets, romantic bars and restaurants, small shops, antique monuments, churches, mosques and picturesque buildings.
Some history of Ulcinj, Montenegro
The wider area of Ulcinj has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Illyrian tombs (tumuli), found in the village of Zogaj close to Ulcinj, date back to the Bronze Age. The settlement was founded in the 5th century BC by Greek colonists from the Georgian state of Colchis. The Colchian influence can be found in the "Cyclopean Walls" - immense blocks of stone - that still form a part of the Old Towns fortifications. Somewhere around 163 BC it was captured by the ROmans and renamed Olcinium, a city that evolved into a Maritime center. The Venetians came to Ulcinj in 1405 and ruled until 1571 when it was taken over by Algerian Corsairs, survivors of the great naval battle of Lepanto. For the next 3 centuries Ulcinj was basically a pirates nest and home to pirates, thieves and merchants from Algerian, Moroccan and Turkish descent.
Ulcinj and its Turkish influence
In 1571, the Ottoman Turks conquered Dulcigno from the Venetians. In 1867, Ulcinj became a kaza of the Iskodra sanjak of Rumeli eyalet. Three decades of Turkish occupation have left their mark on the town, which is at the crossborder of Christianity and Islam. Ulcinj finally gained its independence from the Turks on 11 January 1878 by the decision of the Berlin Congress, but it took another 3 years of territorial squabbles before being integrated into Montenegro on 30 November 1880. The famous 1979 earthquake destroyed much of the rebuilt town after World War I and more recently Ulcinj became known as the refuge for thousands of Kosovars who had fled Kosovo following NATO's intervention in the province. The town's population doubled in size in a matter of days with very few households not taking in one or more refugees.
Ulcinj Street names
Be aware of the street names in Ulcinj, as you will find many dual names both in Serbian and in Albanian and some are still referred to by their Serbian names. Some of the key ones are: Bulevar Marsala Tita, now Bulevar Skenderbeu; Ulica Milutinovica, now Ulica Hafiz Ali Ulqinaku; Ulica Nikole Dakovica, now Ulica 28 Decembar; Bulevar Bratstva Jedinstva, now Bulevar Vellazerit; and Dura Dakovica, now Ulica Mehmet Gjyli.
Places to see in the town of Ulcinj
- Old Town Center
- Town Museum around the Square of Slaves
- 14th Century Church Mosque with the chopped of minaret
- Balsic Tower notable for the two altars on its top floor
- The Catedrala Sv Nikola which was rebuilt as a church in 1890 after serving as a mosque
- Pasha Mosque designed by ALi Pasha I in 1719 and the only mosque in teh country with a working amam
- Namazdjah Mosque built in 1828 with a fine looking clocktower
- The Bregut Mosque built by sea captain Ahmed Djuli in 1783 is the largest one
- On tuesday and frindays you will find a visit worthy foodmarket here.