10 Fun Facts you didn’t Know about Montenegro

Curiosities and fun facts about montenegro - lostontheroute experience

Nested in the west-side of Balcanic peninsula and facing the Adriatic, Montenegro is a tiny country with a fascinating centuries-old history, incredible natural marvels and curious cultural wonders.

Last March (2023), on our road to Turkey, we decided to stop in Montenegro for ten days with our campervan. We did not know what to expect, but after just the first day we were already mezmerized by the hospitality of the Montenegrins and the many beauties this country has to offer! 

In this article I will show you 10 Interesting Facts and Curiosities about Montenegro you probably didn’t know, that I believe will help to get to know the country better and to see this tiny nation with different eyes.

If instead you’re looking for a Complete Guide to Montenegro by Camper, we have that too ;D

Let’s Dive right in!

 

 

WHERE IS MONTENEGRO?

 

 

 

 

10 FUN FACTS ABOUT MONTENEGRO

 

1. Montenegro get its name from its Black Rocky Mountains

(in English, it literally translates as “Black Mountain”) 

why is called montenegro - because of black rock mountains - fun interesting facts about montenegro

While driving Montenegro from North to South, something immediately comes to the eyes: the color of its mountains is different from most mountains we passed by in nearby countries such as Croatia or Bosnia. 

The color of most Montenegrin rock formations is a dark grey, which in low-light conditions looks extremely dark.

The name of the country Montenegro (which in Italian or Spanish means “Monte-Negro = Black-Mountain“), is said to be born to recall the most famous mountain of the country, mount Lovcen, which in the past was entirely covered by a dense black pine forest which made it look even darker.

2. Montenegro is not in European Union,

but self-adopted the Euro as its official Currency

interesting facts about montenegro - montenegro adopted euro autonomously

The Euro has been introduced as the official currency of the European Union in 2002. 

In that same year, Montenegro unilaterally decided to adopt the Euro as its currency too, despite not being in the European Union (not even today!).

The choice for adopting the Euro currency has been taken to protect the country from the hyperinflation it experienced in the previous decades. Until today, there is no official agreement between the EU Central Bank and Montenegro for approving the use of the euro as an official currency.

3. Montenegro has 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Montenegro has 4 UNESCO world heritage sites, fun facts about Unesco

Montenegro is a tiny country, about the size of my home region Trentino-Alto Adige, but within its borders it boasts 4 incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites.

These sites are:

  • The Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor (incredible bay enshrined by the most Southern Fjord in the World)
  • The Durmitor National Park (wild mountain nature, with lakes and peaks scratching the 2500m)
  • The Stecci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (a medieval graveyard in nature, with pictoresque encarved tombstones)
  • The Venetian Works of Defence in Stato Terra (a perfectly Octagonal Town inserted in a Star-shaped fortress.

 

4. Montenegro has the Oldest Olive Tree in the World, which is more than 2000 Years Old!

Montenegro has the oldest olive tree in the world- Stara Maslina

Near the City of Bar in Montenegro, there is an olive tree that is said to be the oldest in the world.

Probably we will never have the certainty for this olive tree to be the oldest of all, but tt’s name, in the local language “Stara Maslina”, translated to English means “Old Olive Tree“. So that sounds very promising 😉

The tree is said to be over 2000 years old, it was basically born around the year Jesus was born 😉 Today, it still stands tall for visitors to see, photograph and wonder about all the history it has seen.

5. Montenegro is one of the youngest countries on Earth,

founded in 2006 (but it has a long History…)

curiosities about montenegro - new country very young

The modern nation of Montenegro was officially founded on the 21st May 2006 following a popular referendum to get independence from Serbia.

Montenegro was the 192nd country to join the United Nations, followed only by South Sudan in 2011.

Said all of this, don’t mistake: Montenegro has a long story that dates back to the Roman Empire. The country saw the invasion of the Slavs, at traits was independent, at traits it was ruled by Serbians, some other times by Venetians, and until recently the nation was incorporated within the larger Yugoslavia.

The history of Montenegro is exceptionally complex, and while walking the country it is easy to notice several different architectural styles and influences.

The best way to experience its history is simply to jump from town to town and get lost in the alleys, paths, and rural roads, guided by the welcoming locals (Montenegrins are very proud to show off their country!)

 

 

6. A Princess from Montenegro,

reigned as Queen of Italy for over 40 Years!

elena of montenegro - statue in pogdorica - was queen of italy 2

Elena of Montenegro (1873-1952) was a Montenegrin princess who married the Italian King Emanuele III di Savoia in the year 1896 and which consequentially became Queen of Italy from 1900-1946 (until the end of the monarchy).

Always described as dignified but natural and simple, the queen was extremely popular and adored by Italians.

After the fall of the monarchy though, she had to live in exile with her husband until death, first in Egypt (where the ex-king died) and then in Montpellier, France (where she died soon after).

7. The Famous Amaro Montenegro,

was Named after the Princess Elena of Montenegro

amaro montenegro - took its name from elena of montenegro

Despite its name, the Amaro Montenegro doesn’t come from Montenegro: it’s Italian!

The Amaro Montenegro is one of the most famous and popular after-meal spirits in Italy.

The history behind is name is pretty curious too!

Indeed, the Amaro was originally founded in 1886 with the name “Amaro Lungavita” (translated as “Long-Life Bitter”) in Bologna. 

With a brilliant marketing strategy, in 1886, following the royal marriage Princess Elena of Montenegro, the herborist and creator of the Amaro (Stanislao Cobianchi), changed the name of its creation in honor of the soon-to-be queen of Italy.

So, the name of the liquor became “Amaro Montenegro” and remained so ever since. 

Fun fact: not many Italians today know about this history, and many think that the Amaro nowadays comes truly from Montenegro 😉

8. Montenegro is a “Cat” Country

montenegro is a cat country - curiosities about montenegro

Take a walk in the medieval Kotor, in the sunny Budva, or even in the buzzing Podgorica, and you will see stray cats everywhere!

As I always say, Balkan countries are divided into two kinds: cat countries and dog countries.

In this case, Montenegro tops the list of cat countries! Black, white, orange, tigers… you will see them all!

Cats seem to be very beloved by Montenegrins, as they are left to wander the streets and many locals feed them too!

Nowadays cats are also folkloristic and cute attractions for tourists and well… as a cat lover I cannot agree more!

9. Montenegro is a Shrine of Biodiversity,

and an Ideal Destination for Nature Lovers

Montenegro has 4 UNESCO world heritage sites, fun facts about Unesco

Are you looking for a beach to relax? There are 173! You like lakes? There are 40! Are you looking for a canyon? In Montenegro there’s the deepest canyon in Europe. Virgin forests? There are! Snowy peaks? There are too!

Montenegro is a land where towns are small (there are around 600.000 people in the whole country only!) and enshrined in nature. With both a Mediterranean region (close to the coast) and an Alpine region (in the hinterland), Montenegro has a biodiversity that could make any nature-lover’s head spinning!

Biological estimates (as of 2023) suggest that in Montenegro live over 1,200 species of freshwater algae, 300 species of marine algae, 589 species of moss, 7,000-8,000 species of vascular plants, 2,000 species of fungi, 16,000-20,000 species of insects, 407 species of marine fish, 56 species of reptile, 333 species of regularly visiting birds and a high species diversity of mammals are found in Montenegro.

10. The Flag of Montenegro

is one of the Most Complex in Europe

MONTENEGRO HAS ONE OF THE MOST COMPLEX FLAGS IN EUROPE

The Flag of Montenegro is one of the most recent in Europe, but just by watching it you can guess the long history that it narrates (which dates back to the middle ages!).

The double eagle in the center of the flag, is a symbol of the Byzantin empire and reminds of the historical ties of Montenegro to that empire. Within the eagles, there’s a coat of arms containing a lion which represents the christian religious authorities that dominated the country through the ages. 

The eagles, hold in the claws a globus cruciger and a scepter, further ecclesiastic symbols which come to represent the God on Earth. The golden color comes from the coat of arms too, while there doesn’t seem to be an explanation for the red colour, except that it has been traditionally used in all Montenegrin flags through the ages.

If you ask me, the more you stare at the flag, the more details you find and the more confusing it gets: still, it is exposed with pride everywhere and that’s all that matter I guess 😉

10 Interesting Facts about Montenegro: Conclusion

Curiosities and fun facts about montenegro - lostontheroute experience

 

And here we come at the end of this curiousity article 🙂

In this post, I showed you 10 Fun Facts you probably didn’t know about Montenegro which I hope that will help you to see this country with different eyes 🙂

Our journey through Montenegro has been an adventure of discovery, which we didn’t expect we would enjoy so much! Soon we will publish another article with a bit more info about traveling in Montenegro, so stay tuned 😉

Before leaving, as always I ask you to let me know in the comments below if you find the article useful 🙂

Do you know other interesting facts about Montenegro that could be added to this list? Would you mind sharing it with others travel-passionates? I always love exchanging perspectives and getting to know new people 😉

Hereafter I will leave you also a few articles that you might be also interested to check out:

Thank you for reading, and see you in the next article!

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