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The Royal And Abandoned Town Of Rijeka Crnojevića In Montenegro

Once a sprawling place for the royal family

Rijeka Crnojevića was once a part of an important trading route and also winter resident for the Montenegrin dynasty Petrovic. Today, except for the summer, the town is in many ways abandoned and an interesting place of past times.

Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-2To get to Rijeka Crnojevića (or Ријека Црнојевића) is best to do by car from the capital Podgorica which is located around 20 kilometers away. The final kilometers of the road is really narrow and you should ready for oncoming traffic. The road doesn’t fit two cars side by side…Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-3

Like a capital city of Montenegro

So, Rijeka Crnojevića is a very old town. The name Crnojevića comes from Ivan Crnojević who ruled Montenegro during the 13th century. Ivan Crnojevića stored his goods here to protect it from the Turkish army. Also, his troops stayed in the nearby town Cetinje, and therefore the town became important in Montenegro. Many craftsmen also lived here during this time. Fishing was important and also some yards existed. These businesses still working but on a smaller scale. During this time, Rijeka Crnojevića was a capital city.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-4

And I understand him. No one gets here randomly. It’s quite and you have an overview of the surroundings.

Through the town runs the river Rijeka Crnojevića, which has, as you see, the same name as the town.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-5

Winter residence for royal families and other famous things

Rijeka Crnojevića was a winter residence for Nicholas I of Montenegro who was the ruler of Montenegro 1860 to 1918. Also, the other relatives in the Petrovic family was a common sight in the winters. What I heard, the Petrovic dynasty had their resident directly at the famous stone bridge. In this house, they had an elevator to the sea level for easy arriving at the resident by boat.

Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-9
The famous stone bridge.

They chose Rijeka Crnojevića due to the mild climate. In winter, there is almost no wind and even milder than on the coast.

Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-6
World war II victory monument.

The famous stone bridge, by the way, is built in 1853 by Prince Danilo. Close to this is another bridge which is bigger and built by Pince Nikola in 1905.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-7

At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was the most important market in this side of Balkan’s. The town was thriving. Products from here were exported to Italy. The first pharmacy in Montenegro was founded here. A large fish factory was established. And much more.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-8

Today a nearly abandoned town

When I entered Rijeka Crnojevića I was shooked. What could be a town in a fairytale, now was almost deserted. Empty houses, empty streets, empty river. Right, I’m not here during tourist season, but still.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-10

The number of inhabitants has shrunk many times, again and again. The town is too remote. The villagers dream about a new road, which might get the tourists back. We’ll see. It’s still one of the most beautiful places I´ve seen in Montenegro.Rijeka-Crnojevica-montenegro-11

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