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Shopping Malls and a part of Solidarity Square
King Nikola's Palace
Indoor Arena Topolica
Church of St Jovan Vladimir, under construction
A fragment of the town walls of Stari Bar
Bar (Cyrillic: Бар, Italian: Antivari / Antibari, Albanian: Tivari, Greek: Θηβάριον, Thivárion, Αντιβάριον, Antivàrion, Latin: Antibarium) is a coastal town in Montenegromarker. It has a population of 13,719 (2003 census). Bar is the centre of Bar municipality and a major seaport of Montenegro.


In Montenegrin, the town is known as Bar (Бар), in Italian and Greek as Antivari. The name of this city is connected to Bari, Italymarker as those cities are located on the opposite side of Adriatic seamarker.

General Information

Like most Montenegrin towns, throughout its history Bar has belonged to various civilizations and cultures. What makes it stand out among Montenegrin towns today is that it is representative of several of the cultures that it belongs to, and in some cases had belonged to for centuries. Here, the heritage of one epoch would become the ground for development of the next. In the new heritage one could always clearly recognize the achievements of its predecessor.

As a city of olives, the sea gate of Montenegromarker, long-lasting melting-pot of different confessions and nations, Bar represents a mix of modernity, tradition and beauty. It is an important and dynamic economic centre within Montenegro, but is also a town of rich cultural and historical tradition. Some of the highest achievements of Montenegromarker’s civilization originated in Bar. The oldest written documents and the most important work of medieval Montenegrin literature and history can be found here. The town also served as the seat of the oldest religious institution of Montenegro (the Bar archbishopric). One of the world’s oldest olive trees grows here, the Old Olive of Mirovica, which is more than 2000 years old.

The rich cultural and historical tradition of the Bar area is combined with the unique gifts of nature, a friendly climate and a remarkable geographical position.

The pleasant Mediterranean climate attracts a large number of tourists each year. With an average of 270 sunny days per year, Bar is one of the Mediterranean’s sunniest towns. The 44 kilometre-long sea coast, including over 9 kilometres of beaches, the 67 kilometre-long shore of Lake Skadar and the mountain range dividing these two large bodies of water make Bar an ideal destination for tourists who wish to relax on lovely beaches and enjoy the unspoilt environment, as well as for those wanting to visit the numerous cultural and religious sites or to spend their holidays engaged in various sports activities.

The Old Town of Bar

Any visitor to the long-since dilapidated ruins of Bar Old Town, one of the world’s largest fortified archaeological sites, will be impressed by the beauty of the natural surroundings into which it blends, dignifying the majestic Mount Rumija which towers above it. This contrast of nature and Mediterranean heritage represents one of the most important cultural and historical sites in Montenegro.

In this unique monument the remnants of many past civilizations and states that used to rule the region as can be recognized in the traces of everyday life from times past. In the town, there are churches and buildings from different epochs, squares, medieval palaces and houses that once were abundant with life. In the present day, life in Bar Old Town begins the moment the visitor enters it. Unlike other Montenegrin medieval towns, this place was not inhabited continually, so new times did not bring changes to affect its earlier ambience.

What is bound to fascinate you when you encounter Bar Old Town is its monumental size, the scale of its fortress and the variety of culturally significant heritage. This variety is unmatched by any other Montenegrin town.

Cultural and Historical Monuments

The rich cultural and historical heritage of Bar belongs to different epochs and civilizations. It would be very difficult to list all the remarkable monuments in Bar, so we will mention only some of them.

One of the oldest monuments in this area and the oldest Christian religious building in Montenegro is the Bar Triconch Church dating back to the 6th century, whose remnants are located in the centre of the town. This is where the “Chronicle of the Priest of Duklja” (“Ljetopis popa Dukljanina”) was created in the second half of the 12th century. It is the region’s most important medieval work of literature and history. Just a few kilometres away from the town centre, on Ratac peninsula, situated between Bar and Sutomore, there are the remnants of Our Lady of Ratac (Bogorodica Ratačka) monastery complex which belonged to the Benedictine order, and it is presumed to have been established in the 9th century. Near the small seaside town of Sutomore, there is the partially preserved fortress of Nehaj, used by both Venetians and Ottoman Turks. As a Venetian fortified town, Nehaj was first documented in the 16th century as the Fortezza dei Spizi. The Bar municipality also contains beautiful churches and monasteries erected during the time of the Balšić family (14th -15th century) on the islands of Lake Skadarmarker: Beška, Moračnik, Starčevo, etc.

Bar is one of the few towns which can boast several churches representing a rare religious and social phenomenon. Namely, these churches were used by both Christian confessions existing in the region – Orthodox and Catholic.

Of all the cultural and historical monuments in Bar, the 19th-century King Nikola’s palace is the one that attracts the most attention. Built right beside the sea, it houses the County Museum which contains all the most significant archaeological finds from this region. Within this residential complex, beside the palace, there are two watchtowers called “gvardije”, a court chapel called the “small palace” and an orangerie. These facilities, surrounded by a beautiful park where very rare tree species and exotic plants were planted back in the time of King Nikola, create a unique historical and environmental ambience.

The Old Olive of Mirovica is a trademark natural feature of Bar. It is believed to be more than 2000 years old and it is one of the oldest olive trees in the world. Because of its natural, morphological, environmental, aesthetic and historical significance, this exceptional natural monument was put under State protection in 1957. Numerous legends and traditions are associated with the Old Olive of Mirovica. One of them has it that at one time families that had a dispute would come here to make peace under this olive tree. Thus it earned its name - Mirovica (the root of the name is “mir”, meaning peace).


The archeological excavations from older Neolithic confirm that there were people in Bar even in prehistory. The material remainders from Illyrian times can be found everywhere in Bar's municipality. It is assumed that Bar was mentioned as the reconstructed Roman castle Antipargal in the 6th century and the name Antibarium was quoted for the first time in the 10th century.

Although it is not known exactly when the town fell into the hands of the rulers of Doclea for the first time, because the Slavic influence predominated for a long time before the event, it probably took place already in the 9th century. Many rulers of Doclea seem to have stayed in Bar - for instance, Mihailo, the first king of Doclea whose royal title was confirmed in Bar, as well as Bodin, who set up the archdiocese of Bar. After the fall of Doclea the seat of the archdiocese was moved to Bar. In that period Doclea was leading fierce fights against its neighbours - the Byzantine Empire and Samuil's "The West Bulgarian State" - and the most famous ruler of Doclea, prince Vladimir had its seat in Krajina, near Bar. In order to free Doclea from Byzantine pressure, the son of Vojislav, prince Mihailo, asked for and got the royal crown from Rome in 1077 and that date for historians marks the official beginning of the separation of Doclea from the Byzantine power. Later on, following an appeal from Mihailo’s son Bodin, in 1089, the Pope enthroned Bar’s archdiocese.

The Byzantine Empire ruled again in Bar from 1166 till 1183 when Stefan Nemanja made a breakthrough which demolished towns on the Adriaticmarker coast, including “the famous town Bar”, and joined Zeta to his state – Raška.

From 1443 to 1571 this region was under the rule of Venicemarker, and Bar (called Antivari in the venetian language, spoken there until the eighteenth century) was part of the Albania Veneta. During the Middle Ages, Bar was the centre of the South Adriatic coast, a city–state which had a coat of arms, flag, statute and minted its own coins. The Ottomans captured Bar in 1571 and it remained in their hands until 1878. During this period it still had an archbishop. One of the more famous men to hold this office was Andrija Zmajević.

The Italian scientist and one of the pioneers in wireless telegraphy, Guglielmo Marconi, made a radio connection between Bar and Barimarker on August 30, 1904, and in 1908 the first railroad in this part of the Balkans was put into operation in 1913.

On July 13, 1941, in Bar’s municipality the uprising against the occupying power began and the first shots were fired in districts of Bar and Cetinjemarker.


Bar is the administrative centre of Bar municipality, which includes the town of Sutomore and many more small towns along the coast. The 2003 census put the population of Bar Municipality at 40,037. The city of Bar itself had 13,719 inhabitants.

Population of Bar (city):
  • 1981 - 6,742
  • 1991 - 10,971
  • 2003 - 13,719

Population of Bar (municipality):
  • 1948 - 21,487
  • 1953 - 23,009
  • 1961 - 24,587
  • 1971 - 27,580
  • 1981 - 32,535
  • 1991 - 37,321
  • 2003 - 40,037

Ethnicity in 2003

Ethnicity Number Percentage
Montenegrins 19,960 44.14%
Serbs 11,218 24.81%
Albanians 5,450 12.05%
Muslims 2,852 6.31%
Bosniaks 1,026 2.27%
Croats 268 0.59%
Roma 50 0.11%
Other 722 1.60%
not declared 1,771 3.92%
no data 1,906 4.21%
Total 45,223 100%


Olive tree “Olea europea”, which is over 2000 years old
Economic symbols of Bar are the Port of Bar, Belgrade - Bar railway and the Sozina tunnel.

The Port of Bar is the most recognizable feature of the city. With 3,100m of seacoast, land area of 800 ha and aquatorium of 200ha, the port is capable of reloading 5 million tons of different goods annually. The port made Bar an entry point for large amount of goods imported into Montenegro, and thus many merchant companies and small-scale traders are based in Bar.

In 1976, the Belgrade - Bar railway was opened, and thus made Adriatic sea easily accessible for tourists, and also provided new markets for the Port of Bar. The railway, along with the Port, made Bar more economically active throughout the year, in contrast to other Montenegrin coastal towns, which mostly rely on tourism during the summer season.

The food industry “Primorka” has been operating in Bar for more than 50 years and it produces olive oil and well known pomegranate juice. There are 95,000 olive trees, about 80,000 citrus trees (lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit) in the municipal area .

The centre for subtropical cultures, founded in 1937, is the oldest scientific institution in Montenegro. It conducts research in the field of subtropical cultures and environmental protection.

The future of Bar is considered to be in the development of small and medium sized companies, in the creation of new industrial zones and in pursuing activities for creating the Custom Free Zone.


Besides being Montenegro's main seaport, Bar and its surroundings are also a major tourist destination. Today's Bar is a modern city, built almost entirely after World War II, with modern buildings, wide boulevards and lots of parking space.

Although there are some nice cobble beaches in Bar itself, many tourists choose destinations in other small towns in Bar municipality, notably Sutomore, with its beautiful long sandy beach.

The entire area around Bar is mostly untoutched nature, and is rich in vegetation. The Bar municipality also stretches to the southern shore of Skadar lakemarker and encompases Krajinamarker region. This entire area is suitable for leisure activities and hiking. Smaller settlements near Bar, such as Dobra Voda, Sutomore and Čanj, are favourite destination for sunbathing, as they incorporate long sandy beaches.

Bar has a wind blowing for the south about 88 days a year, mostly during the winter. The southern wind is very soft and warm, but raises the waves in the sea. The weather temperature is as in July – about 28°C (82°F). There are approximately 2160 sunny hours a year. In winter the temperature drops down to 10°C the lowest.


Bar has over 44 km of sea coast, including more than 20 beaches stretching over 9 km. As soon as you enter the area of the Bar municipality from the direction of Petrovac, you reach Čanj, which has a 1,100 metre-long colourful sandy beach. You can take a boat ride from Čanj to the Queen’s Beach (Kraljičina plaža), which can only be reached by sea. It is a true jewel of the Bar Riviera enclosed by a natural wall of sedimentary rocks. Going from Čanj in the direction of Sutomore, you come across the 300 metre-long Maljevik Beach, offering a natural refuge from the hot summer sun in its thick and fragrant pine forest.

For those in search of exciting beaches offering restaurants and bars, Sutomore is the beach of choice. This sandy beach is 1,200 metres long and hosts beach soccer and beach volleyball tournaments throughout the summer.

Near the famous medieval monastery complex of Ratac there is the Red Beach (Crvena plaža), named after the colour of its fine sand. The beach is surrounded by a pine forest and located about a hundred metres from the main road to Bar.

Just before you enter Bar town centre there is the 1,200 metre-long Žukotrlica Beach. It is a gravel beach, surrounded by a pine forest and varied Mediterranean vegetation.

The Town Beach (Gradska plaža) is located in front of the castle of King Nikola and extends over 750 metres. It is made to cater for different tastes – one part of it is covered in fine sand and the other is pebbly. Many tourist facilities, the “Princess” Hotel, sports pitches and King Nikola’s castle with a park hundreds of years old offer entertainment to visitors and complete their enjoyment of the charms of this beach.

Some ten kilometres from Bar in the direction of Ulcinj, there is one of the most visited beaches of Bar – Big Sands (Veliki pijesak). It is 380 metres long and located around 250 metres from the main road. It is surrounded by numerous tourist facilities, restaurants and discothèques.

On the border of the Bar and Ulcinj municipalities, in the village of Bušat, is the location of the Olive Wave (Val maslina) Beach, named after the nearby olive groves. It is a 200 metre-long pebbly beach adhering to the highest ecological and technical standards and it is marked by a blue flag, a symbol of a top-quality beach.

Divisions and settlements

Municipality of Bar is divided up into 12 communes (mjesna zajednica) and 83 settlements:

Commune Settlements
Bar I urban part of the town
Bar II Polje, Burtaisi, Čelugamarker, part of Rene;
Bar III part of Bjeliša, Sokolana, Stara ambulanta, zgrade Prvoborca;
Bar IV Popovići, part of Bjeliša, Ahmetov Brijeg, Vuletića Brijeg, part of Rene and Trsanj
Bar V Sustaš, Zupci, Marovići, Tuđemili
Šušanj Zukotrlica, Novi Pristan, Zeleni Pojas, Ilino, Šušanj, Carevići, Vitići and Paladini
Sutomore Brca, Zelen, Obala Željezničke Kolonije, Mirosica I, Turke, Pobrđe, Gorelac, Miljevci, Sozina, Zankovići, Suvi Potok, Mirosica II, Zgrade, Bjelila, Papani, Haj-Nehaj, Zagrađe, Mišići, Đurmani and Čanj
Stari Bar Stari Bar, Baukovo, Belveder, Velembusi, Gretva (with wonderful catholic cathedral), Brbot, Turčini, Menke, Mikulići, Podgrad, Bartula, Rap, Gornja Poda and Donja Poda, Tomba, Gornje Zaljevo and Donje Zaljevo
Mrkovići Pečurice, Dobra Voda, Grdovići, Pelinkovići, Dabezići, Velje Selo, Kunje, Velja Gorana and Mala Gorana
Krajinamarker Arbneš, Veliki Ostros, Mali Ostros, Martići, Kostanjica, Bobovište, Ckla, Tejani
Šestan Livari, Gornja i Donja Briska, Gornji Murići, Donji Murići, Besa, Pinčići, Bapsulj, Šestan
Crmnica Virpazarmarker, Orahovo, Bračeni, Mikovići, Zabes, Boljevići, Sotonići, Bukovik, Mačuge, Dupilo, Popratnica, Komarno, Trnovo, Gornji Brčeli, Donji Brčeli, Brijege, Ovtočići, Tomići, Utrg, Godinjemarker, Seoča, Krnjice, Limljani, Gluhi Do


Bar is well connected with inland Montenegro, as well as with the rest of the Montenegrin coast. The Sozina tunnel, completed in 2006, shortened the road connection with Podgorica to around . Bar will also benefit significantly from the future Beograd - Bar motorway.

Bar is connected to the rest of the coastal towns of Montenegro by the Adriatic motorway, which extends from Ulcinjmarker to Herceg Novimarker, and on to Croatiamarker.

Bar is also the final station of the Belgrade - Bar railway, which connects Bar with Podgorica, northern Montenegro and Serbiamarker.

Podgorica Airportmarker is some away, and has regular flights to Belgrademarker, Budapestmarker, Zurich, Frankfurtmarker, Ljubljanamarker, Parismarker, Romemarker and Viennamarker.

Twin cities

External links

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