Montenegro, a nation in south-eastern Europe, is one of the few countries in the world with more than one capital. Its population is just over 620,000, making it one of the least populated countries in Europe. The two capitals of Montenegro are Podgorica and Cetinje. This article takes a look at these cities and how they both managed to maintain the same distinction.
The position of present-day Podgorica has always been important, since ancient times. Near the rivers, the sea and in a fertile valley, the human settlement began here during the last part of the Stone Age. In the Middle Ages, Podgorica was an economic and communications center for the region, which gave the city considerable political and military power. The Ottoman Empire took control of the city in 1474 and established a fortress there. During the period under Ottoman rule, Podgorica continued its growth as a military center, complete with doors and towers.
Although it was operating independently from 1711, in 1878, the country was officially recognized as independent and became known as the Kingdom of Montenegro. By the early 1900s, the city had built roads for the surrounding cities, started exporting tobacco and founded its first banking institution. After the First World War, the Kingdom of Montenegro was joined to the Kingdom of Serbia and eventually became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The city suffered again during the Second World War, when it was completely destroyed. After the Second World War, the Socialist Republic of Montenegro was founded and Podgorica was named its capital. This era began a period of rapid development for the region, and the city became the most important cultural and economic center of the country. This development continued until 1990 when the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ended. At this time, Serbia and Montenegro have become a nation with Podgorica as its capital. Montenegro voted to become an independent state in 2006.
Today, Podgorica has a population of over 204,000. It is the seat of the legislative and executive branches of the government of the country. These sectors include the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministries. In Montenegro, the Prime Minister is the head of government and appoints ministers, so Parliament votes to elect these people.
The history of Cetinje is not as long as that of Podgorica. Cetinje was founded in 1482 by Ivan Crnojevic (Ivan the Black), the Lord of Zeta, in an attempt to avoid the Ottoman invasion. Zeta was an independent state that included parts of present-day Montenegro and present-day Albania. Here, Crnojevic built his court and the old monastery of Cetinje, both considered Renaissance buildings. Dedicated to literature, the city even had its first printing house in south-eastern Europe. Ivan the Black managed to avoid Ottoman rule until 1499. In 1514, Zeta was incorporated into the Sanjak of Montenegro.
Thanks to his position, Cetinje suffered attacks from both the Ottomans and the city of Venice. The attacks continued during the 16th and 17th centuries, during which the court and the monastery were destroyed. In 1696, when the village came under the rule of the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty, Cetinje began to grow again. Prince-Bishop Petar II Petrovic-Njegos built his royal residence in the city of 1838. This resulted in significant growth and Cetinje began to take on an urban appearance. The prince-bishop began to establish relations with other European nations and Cetinje became the site of their foreign consulates.
The current role of the two cities
Cetinje was the first capital of Montenegro when its independence was recognized in 1878. When Montenegro became a kingdom in 1910, the city developed further as an important cultural and political center. Unfortunately for Cetinje, Podgorica was chosen as the new site for the Parliament between the two world wars. Today, Cetinje houses the official residence of the President, who acts as Head of State.