Yes, Podgorica is the capital city of Montenegro. But it doesn’t feel like a capital city. It is a town with 150,00 inhabitants and rather a silent capital. It has many green places, the buildings like in many areas very old and gray. The name means ‘at the foot of the hill’ but a lot people still know the city under another name: Titograd. Between 1918 and 1992 Podgorica belonged to Yugoslavia and was named like this to honour Josip Broz Tito who was communist prime minister and president of Yugoslavia.
Tito had a special connection to the city as he was leading partisan forces during World War II and Podgorica was one of the main areas he was operating at. The city was renamed when Yugoslavia fall apart in 1992 and Podgorica became part of the federation of Serbia and Montenegro. Only in 2006 Montenegro declared its independence and Podgorica became capital city – that quite well explains its special character.
When visiting the city you should take a look at the old Osman quarter (Stara Varoš) with old mosques. Next to it there is the old clock tower (Sahat Kula) and the ruins of the old fortress where river Ribnica floats into river Morača. Don’t miss the wonderful old stone bridge! On the other side of river Ribnica the more modern city with the Trg Republike at its heart begins. Here you’ll find nice bars and restaurants for evening entertainment.
While the Sahat Kula was the most important landmark of the town in the past it is now rather the modern Millenium bridge spanning river Morača. Locals love to take a walk on the Gorica hill which also contains the partisan memorial that is worth a visit. If you like modern art you can also visit the Dvorac Petrovića, the winterpalace of king Nikola which is now an art museum.
Quite surprising to me was the modern Serbian orthodox church at Novi Grad: the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. It was opened in 2013 and has a very special atmosphere and is very rich in decorations. A short trip worth is also a visit to the Toranj na Dajbabskoj Gori – a TV tower on a hill giving you good views on the city.
Even if Podgorica isn’t a bustling capital city with lots of highlights, museums and events it was nice to have been there. I would assume that you can visit almost everything in one or two days. And: Podgorica has good connections with busses to wonderful places at the Adriatic coast like Kotor or Sveti Stefan.
Crna gora / Montenegro