Podgorica is the capital city of Montenegro. Its rivers and bridges include the modern Millennium Bridge over the Morača River, and the stone bridge spanning the Ribnica River. The centuries-old Clock Tower, built by the Turks, dominates the old town. In the Zeta-Skadar valley south of the city, Lake Skadar National Park is home to medieval monasteries, beaches, and birds like the Dalmatian pelican.
Podgorica’s mixture of architectural styles reflects the turbulent history of the city and country: as one régime replaced another, the corresponding style was introduced.
As part of the Ottoman Empire until 1878, Podgorica has some examples of Ottoman architecture. The oldest parts of the city, Stara Varoš (Old town) and Drač are typical of this, with two mosques, a Turkish clock tower and narrow, winding streets.
When the city was incorporated to Montenegro, the urban core shifted to the other bank of the Ribnica River, where the town developed in a more European style: wider streets with an orthogonal layout. This part of the city is today traditionally regarded as city centre, and is called Nova Varoš (New town).
A major advance in Podgorica architecture began in the late 1990s and, since then, the face of the city has changed rapidly. Residential and business construction are proceeding rapidly, incorporating contemporary glass-and-steel architectural trends. In an effort to create a recognizable and modern state capital, city officials are routing significant investments in city’s public spaces. Thus, the city has gained entirely new squares, parks and monuments. New landmarks include the Hristovog Vaskrsenja orthodox temple and the Millennium Bridge, the main feature of the Podgorica skyline.
Podgorica is home to many Montenegrin cultural institutions and events. It hosts the Montenegrin National Theatre and a number of museums and galleries. The Montenegrin National Theatre is the most significant theatre not only in Podgorica but in all of Montenegro. Podgorica is also host to the City Theatre (Gradsko pozorište), which includes the Children’s Theatre and the Puppet Theatre. Although not as rich in museums and galleries as the historic royal capital Cetinje, there are several noteworthy museums:
- The Podgorica City Museum (Muzej grada Podgorice) preserves Podgorica’s rich heritage. Founded in 1950, it has four categories: archaeological, ethnographic, historical and cultural-historical. It houses artefacts which date back to the Roman and Illyrian eras.
- The Archaeological Research Centre (Centar za arheološka istraživanja) was founded in 1961. Its mission is to gather, classify, restore and display archaeological sites.
- The Marko Miljanov Museum (Muzej Marka Miljanova) in Medun shows life in 19th century Montenegro.
The Natural History Museum (Prirodnjački muzej) displays specimens of Montenegrin flora and fauna. This museum has no exhibition space of its own, despite many proposals and initiatives to build one.
There is a notable art gallery in the Dvorac Petrovića (Petrović Castle) complex in Podgorica’s largest public park. King Nicholas’s castle, Perjanički Dom (House of the Honour Guard), castle chapel and surrounding buildings were converted to an art gallery in 1984. Since 1995, it has been part of the Modern Arts Centre (Centar savremenih umjetnosti) and houses approximately 1,500 works of art. The historic Cinema of Culture (Kino Kultura), which was founded in 1949, was closed in November 2008 due to continuous financial losses it generated. It was the only cinema in the city for 6 decades. The building of the former cinema will be converted to host the Podgorica City Theatre. Shortly after its closure, a Ster-Kinekor (later acquired by Cineplexx) 6-screen multiplex cinema opened at Delta City shopping mall.
A significant cultural institution of over fifty years’ standing is the Budo Tomović Cultural-Informational Centre (KIC Budo Tomović). It is a public institution which organizes various artistic events, including Podgorica Cultural Summer (Podgoričko Kulturno Ljeto), FIAT – International Alternative Theatre Festival (Festival Internacionalnog Alternativnog Teatra), DEUS – December Arts Scene (Decembarska Umjetnička Scena).
Podgorica is also the media hub of Montenegro. It is home to the headquarters of the state-owned public television broadcaster RTCG. Commercial broadcasters in Podgorica include RTV A1, TV Vijesti, Nova M and Prva TV. It was announced that the city’s local television will be launched soon. Their programmes can be received in much of Montenegro. All Montenegro’s daily newspapers (oldest Montenegrin daily newspaper Pobjeda, Vijesti, Dnevne Novine and Dan) are published in Podgorica.
Podgorica is not only the administrative centre of Montenegro, but also its main economic engine. Most of Montenegro’s industrial, financial, and commercial base is in Podgorica.
The large presence of government and service sectors spared the economy of Podgorica from prolonged stagnation in the late 2000s recession, which hit Montenegro hard. Although, in mid-2014, some 30% of Montenegro’s citizens lived in Podgorica, the municipality accounted for 44% of the country’s employed. Out of the entire mass of paid nwt salaries in Montenegro in that year, some 47% was paid in Podgorica. The average monthly net salary in May, 2014 was €509 in Podgorica municipality.
The most popular sports by far are football and basketball. Basketball became especially popular with the success in the late 20th and early 21st centuries of KK Budućnost, both in Regional and European competitions.
Podgorica has a number of sporting venues; some are under reconstruction and expansion. The main ones are:
- Podgorica City Stadium. It has a capacity of 11,264 and it is the home of FK Budućnost Podgorica and the Montenegro national football team. It is currently the only venue in Montenegro that complies with FIFA standards for international football matches.
- Morača Sports Center, a multi functional indoor sport facility. It has a capacity of 6 000 seats. It hosted one group of EuroBasket 2005, while other games were played in Belgrade, Vršac, and Novi Sad.
Almost every football club in Podgorica has its own stadium, although these are often only fields with small stands or no stands at all. Other notable venues are the Stadion malih sportova under Gorica hill and the sport shooting range under Ljubović hill. There are many other sports facilities around the city, most notably indoor soccer fields.
From interesting architecture, to an exciting nightlife, plenty of green space, and plenty of historical sights, Podgorica is one of the must-visit destinations in Montenegro. The information on this page is taken from Wikipedia. For more info about Podgorica, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podgorica.