Podgorica isn’t one of the capitals which tourists usually choose to visit but it does have it’s charm and the beaches are great for taking a break in traveling and just relaxing. It’s name translates to “under small hill”. Podgorica sits on the confluence of two rivers – the Moraca (to the west of it is the business district) and the Ribnica (dividing the east side of the city into two parts). On the south bank of the Ribnica is Stara Varos, the heart of the Ottoman town and on the north bank is Nova Varos where you can see lovely late 19th and early 20th century buildings among them many different shops and bars. At the heart of it all is the main square Trg Republika. The city is also the meeting point of the fertile Zeta Plain and Bjelopavlici Valley. It has a great location as it is close to winter ski centers in the north and seaside resorts that are along the Adriatic Sea.
The oldest neighborhood in Podorica is Stara Varos and for 400 years it was the center of a lively Ottoman Turkish town. Overlooking its main square is a large, bulky clock tower that was once used to call Muslim’s to prayer. In the interesting maze of streets you can find two mosques – the Doganiska Mosque dates back to the 15th century and the Osmanagic Mosque to the 18th century.
You’ll find the ruins of Ribnica Fortress at the confluence of the two rivers. It was built by the Ottomans at the time of their conquest in 1474. Here the best preserved element is a little arched bridge that crosses over the Ribnica. The main beach is now the pebble covered Moraca riverbank where in the summer you can find a summertime bar, deck chairs and umbrellas to shade you from the heat of the sun.
In the Petrovic Palace you can now find The Contemporary Art Center with two galleries. On the lower two floors of the former palace tourist can see high-profile exhibitions and on the top floor there is an unusual collection of traditional and modern art. This collection includes an Indonesian batik, a metal palm tree from Iraq, and revolutionary themed paintings from South America. It is devoted to art from countries that belong to the Non-Aligned Movement. On the grounds you can see interesting sculptures, a tiny church and an exhibition in the former guardhouse – Perianicki Dom. There is also a small Galerija Centar which offers temporary exhibitions.
Podgorica was once known as Titograd or “Tito-city” and there are many royal sculptures found in its many parks. One of the most impressive is the huge bronze statue of Petar I Petrovic Njegos that stands on a black marble plinth on the Cetinje edge of the city. Another is a large equestrian statue of Nikola I found opposite the Parliament at the head of a lovely park with trees and manicured hedges. The most unusual sculpture is that of Russian singer Vladimir Visockii close to the Millenium Bridge. He is depicted shirtless with a guitar and a skull by his feet.
Head for the beaches of Podgorica and take a break and relax for awhile and don’t forget to see the many fascinating things this city has to offer.