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Podgorica, sometimes transliterated Podgoritsa (Montenegrin Cyrillic: Подгорица, ), is the capital and largest city of Montenegromarker. It is at , above sea level.

A census in 2003 put the city's population at 136,473. Its favourable position, at the confluence of the Ribnicamarker and Moračamarker rivers and the meeting point of the fertile Zeta Plainmarker and Bjelopavlići Valley has encouraged settlement. The city is close to winter ski centres in the north and seaside resorts on the Adriatic Seamarker.

The municipality of Podgorica contains 10.4% of Montenegro's territory and 27.3% of its population. It is the administrative centre of Montenegro and its economic, cultural and educational focus.

Name

The name means "under the Gorica" in the Montenegrin language. Gorica/goritsa (meaning "little mountain") is the name of the hill that overlooks the city centre.

About northwest of Podgorica are the ruins of Doclea, a town known in Greek, pre-Roman and Roman times. The Roman Emperor Diocletian came from this region. In later centuries, Romans "corrected" the name to Dioclea, guessing wrongly that an "i" had been lost in vulgar speech. "Duklja" is the later (Slavic) version of that word.

When founded (before the 11th century), the town was called Birziminium. In the Middle Ages, it was known as Ribnica. The name Podgorica was used from 1326. From 1946 to 1992 it was called Titograd.

History

Podgorica is at the crossroads of several historically important routes, near the rivers Zetamarker, Moračamarker, Cijevnamarker, Ribnicamarker, and Sitnicamarker, in the valley of Skadar lakemarker and near the Adriatic Seamarker, in fertile lowlands with favourable climate. The earliest human settlements were in prehistory: the oldest physical remains are from the late Stone Age. In the Illyrian age, the area between the Zetamarker and Bjelopavlići valleys was occupied by two Illyrian tribes, the Labeates and the Docleats.
 northwest of today's Podgorica and which reflected the local terrain. The population of the city was 8,000-10,000, in which all core urban issues were resolved. The high population density (in an area of about 10 km/6 mi radius) was made possible by the geographical position, favourable climate and economic conditions and by the defensive positions that were of great importance at that time.


Podgorica City Hall
From the 5th century, with the arrival of the first Slavic and Avar tribes and the beginning of the break-up of the Roman Empire, the area bore witness to many noteworthy events. With time, the fortifications ceased their function and new towns were built. Slavic groups in the area were in constant war with Byzantium and tended to establish a new state. The result was establishment of a new settlement that was probably named after the river Ribnica on whose banks it was built. The first mention of Ribnica is during the rule of the Serbianmarker royal family of the Nemanjići. The importance of Ribnica was its position as crossroads in communications with the west. In occupying these areas, the Slavs created a new state and developed their own culture and art, acceptable to the mediaeval church and feudal class.

The name Podgorica was first mentioned in 1326 in a court document of the Kotormarker archives. The city was economically strong: trade routes between Dubrovnikmarker and the State of Nemanjici, well developed at that time, were maintained via the road that led to Podgorica through Trebinjemarker and Nikšićmarker. As a busy crossroads, Podgorica was a vibrant regional centre of trade and communication. This boosted its development, economic power, military strength and strategic importance. The Turkish occupation of Podgorica in 1474 interrupted its economic, cultural and artistic development. The Turks built a large fortress in Podgorica and the existing settlement, with its highly developed merchant connections, became the main defensive and attacking bastion against rebellious tribes. The fortified city, with towers, gates and defensive ramparts, enabled the Turks to resist all attacks. In 1864, Podgorica became a township (kaza) of İşkodramarker vilayet called Böğürtlen (Turkish "Blackberry"). It was also known Burguriçe in Albanian.

In accordance with the decision of the Berlin Congress in 1878, Podgorica was integrated into Montenegromarker, marking the end of four centuries of Turkish occupation, and the beginning of a new era in the development of Podgorica and Montenegro. The city developed quickly and became a strong marketplace. The first forms of capital concentration were seen. In 1904, Zetska savings bank, the first significant financial institution, was formed. It would soon grow into Podgorička bank. Roads were built to all neighbouring towns and, in 1902, a tobacco plant became Podgorica's first significant commercial company.

The statue of Petar I Petrović-Njegoš.
World War I marked the end of dynamic development for Podgorica, by then the largest city in the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Montenegro. Podgorica was occupied, as was the rest of the country, by Austria-Hungary from 1916 to 1918. After the liberation by the allies in 1918, a controversial Podgorica Assembly was held at Podgorica Tobacco Monopoly building. The assembly marked the end of Montenegrin statehood, as Montenegro was merged with Serbiamarker and incorporated in the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker. Between the two world wars, the population of Podgorica was about 13,000.

Podgorica suffered heavily during World War II: it was bombarded over 70 times and razed to the ground, causing the deaths of over 4,100 people. The city was liberated on December 19, 1944.

Under the name of Titograd, the city became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Montenegro on 13 July 1946.A period of unprecedented expansion followed, which marked the SFRYmarker era: the population increased dramatically, the city was heavily industrialized, infrastructure was improved, and health, educational, and cultural institutions were founded. The city rapidly became the commercial, socio-economic and cultural centre of the country. The progress halted again when the break-up of SFRY began in the 1990s. The name of Podgorica was reinstated on April 2, 1992.

The destructive Yugoslav wars bypassed Montenegro, but the entire country was greatly affected economically. A period of severe economic stagnation lasted throughout the 1990s. The economy began to recover in the early years of the 21st century, when Podgorica began to emerge as a modern, pro-western city. It became capital of the sovereign state of Montenegro on 21 May 2006, which added to its importance as a regional centre and boosted its economic prospects.

Geography

Podgorica is located in central Montenegro. The area is crossed with rivers and the city itself is only north of Lake Skadarmarker. The Moračamarker and Ribnicamarker rivers flow through the city, while the Zetamarker, Cijevnamarker, Sitnicamarker and Mareza flow nearby. This richness in bodies of water is a major feature of the city.

In contrast to most of Montenegro, Podgorica lies in a mainly flat area at the northern end of the Zeta plain. The only exceptions are hills which overlook the city. The most significant is Gorica Hill ( ), which rises above the city centre. The other hills include Malo brdo (Little hill), Velje brdo (Big hill), Ljubović and Čardak. In the main, these are too steep for development and thus limit the city's expansion, especially to the north.

Climate

Podgorica has an altered Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Although the city is located some 50 km away from Mediterranean Adriatic Seamarker, the proximity of Dinaric Alps on the north alters its climate. The mean annual rainfall is . The temperature exceeds on about 135 days each year and the median daily temperature is . The number of rainy days is about 115, and those with the strong wind around 60. A periodic but strong northerly wind has an influence on climate in the winter, making sensible temperature a few degrees lower.

Podgorica is particularly known for its extremely hot summers: temperatures over are common in July and August. The highest temperature recorded was , on 16 August 2007.

Snow is a rare occurrence in Podgorica, as it rarely snows more than a few days per year.

Cityscape



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 many examples of Turkish 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 Rivermarker, 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 Mirkova Varoš (Mirko's town) or Nova Varoš (New town)

Typical residential streets in Podgorica.
World War II, Podgorica was almost razed to the ground, being bombed over 70 times. After liberation, rebuilding began as in other cities of the communist-ruled SFRYmarker. Mass residential blocks were erected, with basic design typical of Eastern bloc countries. All that part of the city on the right bank of the Morača Rivermarker was built this way. Even the empty spaces in the city centre were filled with near-brutalist structures, resulting in an unfortunate fusion of old and new.

The residential and business blocks of the SFRY era provided ample housing but have been much criticised for their uninventive and grey appearance.

Main traffic arteries were laid out during this period, which extended the orthogonal street layout of Mirkova Varoš to the south and west. Residential and infrastructural developments in SFRY era have mostly shaped the layout of today's Podgorica, and accommodated the unprecedented population growth that followed the World War 2.

However, in area surrounding residential blocks, the city expanded in a form of often chaotic urban sprawl, with densely built private lowrise dwellings leaving little space for streets and sidewalks. The trend of sprawling informal settlements was at peak during the 1990s. Efforts have been made since to improve the infrastructure of those settlements, but many problems remain, especially in large lowrise neighbourhoods in north and northeast Podgorica.

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 Bridgemarker, the main feature of the Podgorica skyline. Podgorica today is transforming rapidly from a featureless town to a modern European capital.

Culture

Entertainment and performing arts

Montenegrin National Theatre.
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 Cetinjemarker, 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 Museum of Marko Miljanov (Muzej Marka Miljanova) in Medun shows life in 19th century Montenegromarker. It is the most significant Montenegrin memorial museum of its kind.


  • 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.


The Republic Square was completely refurbished in 2006.
There is a notable art gallery in the Dvorac Petrovića (Petrović's Castle) complex in Podgorica's largest public park. The King Nichola'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 Culture (Kino kultura), which was founded in 1949, was closed in November, 2008 due to continuos 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 6-screen multiplex cinema opened at Delta City shopping mall, and another multiplex is announced at Mall of Montenegro.

Resurrection Church
A significant cultural institution of over fifty years' standing is the Cultural-informational centre Budo Tomović (KIC Budo Tomović). It is a public institution which organises various artistic events, including Podgorica's Cultural Summer (Podgoričko Kulturno Ljeto), FIAT - International Alternative Theatre Festival (Festival Internacionalnog Aletarnativnog Teatra), DEUS - December Arts Scene (Decembarska Umjetnička Scena). KIC budo Tomović was a host for such names as Tony Parsons or Brooklyn Funk Essentials during their visits to Podgorica.

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, in construction since 1993, is the largest place of worship in Podgorica, and one of the symbols of the city. With many smaller orthodox churches scattered around the city, two mosques and a catholic church, Podgorica makes up for a multiconfessional and multicultural city, and a reflection of Montenegro itself.

Media

Podgorica is undoubtedly the media hub of Montenegro. It is home to the headquarters of the state-owned public television broadcaster RTCG. Commercial broadcasters in Podgorica include TV In, NTV Montena, Elmag RTV, RTV Atlas,TV Vijesti and MBC. It was announced that cities local television will be open soon. Their programmes can be received in much of Montenegro.

All Montenegro's daily newspapers (Vijesti, DAN and Pobjeda) are published in Podgorica, as is the popular weekly magazine Monitor.

Sports

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 Podgorica, both in Yugoslavmarker and European competitions.

Football in Podgorica has a very long tradition associated with FK Budućnost Podgorica. World-famous players Predrag Mijatović and Dejan Savićević were born in Podgorica and made their debut in that team. FK Zeta (from the Podgorica suburb of Golubovci) has also reached the former first league of Serbia and Montenegro. These clubs, along with FK Mogren of Budva, usually compete with each other for leading position in the First League of Montenegro.

Other clubs from Podgorica and its surroundings play in the Montenegrin First League e.g. FK Dečić (Tuzi), FK Kom and FK Mladost. One of the most popular clubs from the suburbs is FK Ribnica from Konikmarker.

The volleyball team OK Budućnost Podgorica and the women's handball team ŽRK Budućnost T-Mobile have had significant success in European competition. Budućnost Podgorica is the most important sports club in Podgorica. Its name means Future.

Sporting events like the annual Podgorica Marathon and the Morača River jumps attract international competitors.

Podgorica is the host of FINA Water Polo World League.

Venues

Podgorica City Stadium
Podgorica has a number of sporting venues; some are under reconstruction and expansion. The main ones are:
A concert being held at the Stadium of Small Sports.


Almost every football club in Podgorica has its own stadium, although these are often only fields with small stands or no stand at all.

Other notable venues are the Stadium of Small Sports (Малих спортова стадиум, Malih sportova stadium) 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.

Economy

ProMonte building
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.

Before World War I, most of Podgorica's economy was in trade and small-scale manufacture - an economic model established during the long rule of the Ottoman Empire. After World War II, Podgorica became Montenegro's capital and a focus of the rapid urbanisation and industrialisation of the Yugoslav eramarker. Industries such as aluminium and tobacco processing, textiles, engineering, vehicle production and industrialised wine production were established in and around the city. In 1981 Podgorica's GDP per capita was 87% of the Yugoslav average.

The Yugoslav wars, and the dissolution of Yugoslavia left Podgorica's industries without markets, suppliers or funds to invest and modernise equipment. This led to a decline of many factories, some of which closed down. Those surviving were privatised and have now largely recovered. The Podgorica aluminium smelter (Kombinat aluminijuma Podgorica - KAP, owned by Rusal) and AD Plantaže (a wine and brandy making company) are still among the biggest companies in Podgorica.

In the early 2000s, Podgorica's financial and service sector expanded rapidly and its economy became more service-oriented. The two Montenegrin stock markets (Montenegro and NEX), as well as most Montenegrin banks are situated in the city. Economic activity in Podgorica has mostly shifted from heavy industries to telecommunications, construction and banking. Investors and foreign companies which open outlets in Podgorica add significantly to the growth and diversification of its economy.

As a side effect, the prices of property and development land in the centre of Podgorica have increased greatly. The growth, although somewhat slowed down due to late 2000s recession, is expected to continue, as Podgorica became capital of an independent country in 2006.

Demographics

Although medium-sized by European standards, Podgorica is by far the largest city in Montenegromarker: almost one third of Montenegrin citizens live there. According to 2003 census, there are 169,132 people in the Podgorica municipality, which includes small towns of Tuzi and Golubovci, while 136,473 people live in the city itself.

The municipality of Podgorica can be compared metropolitan area, while the city of Podgorica, as defined by census, represents the urban area. Due to strong internal migration to Podgorica, estimates on actual population for late 2000s go up to 200,000.

Population of Podgorica (city)
Census Population
1948 14,369
1953 19,868
1961 35,054
1971 61,727
1981 96,074
1991 117,875
2003 136,473
Population of Podgorica (municipality)
Census Population
1948 48,599
1953 55,669
1961 72,319
1971 98,796
1981 132,290
1991 179,401
2003 169,132
Ethnicity in 2003 (municipality)
Ethnicity Number Percentage
Montenegrins 96,343 56.96%
Serbs 44,423 26.26%
Albanians 19,341 11.42%
Muslims 4,399 2.60%
Bosniaks 2,307 1.36%
Roma 1,389 0.82%
Croats 709 0.42%


Politics

The city administration consists of mayor, city assembly and a number of secretariats and administrative bodies which together act as a city local government. The city assembly has 55 members, elected directly for four-year terms. The mayor is elected directly for five-year term.

Current majority in city assembly is made by DPS-SDP coalition, with 29 councilors. Position of mayor is held by senior DPS official, Miomir Mugoša, who has been incumbent since 2000.

Local subdivisions

The municipality of Podgorica consists of Podgorica City Proper and two subdivisions called Urban municipalities (Градске општине, Gradske opštine), Golubovci and Tuzi.

The entire municipality of Podgorica is further divided into 57 local communities (мјесне заједнице, mjesne zajednice), bodies in which the citizens participate in decisions on matters of relevance to the local community.

Education

Law school
Most of Montenegro's higher education establishments are in Podgorica. It is home to the University of Montenegro, the country's most significant such institution. It consists of the following faculties:

The University includes four scientific research institutes as well:
  • Institute of Foreign Languages
  • Institute of Biotechnology
  • Institute of History
  • Institute of Marine Biology
Slobodan Škerović High School
The Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts is also in Podgorica, as is the DANU cultural organisation. In recent years, the number of private institutions for higher education has increased.

The municipality of Podgorica has 34 elementary schools and 10 secondary schools, including one gymnasium. The first secondary school established in Podgorica is Slobodan Škerović.

The rebuilded economic high school now offers new features and higher quality education

The Radosav Ljumović national library is considered the most comprehensive in Montenegro.

Transport

Digital sign at the entrance of Podgorica

Urban transport

Public transport in Podgorica consists of bus lines. City owned AD Gradski saobraćaj public transport company used to be the sole bus operator, until the 1990s, when private carriers were introduced. The city-owned company went bankrupt in 2001, and buses were since operated solely by private carriers.

Public transport has struggled to deal with competition. Unlicensed taxis that once threatened the bus services are now extinct, but cheaper despatched taxicab services have become more popular.

The taxicab service is well-organised. Over 20 companies operate over 800 vehicles. These boast a high level of service, including new cars, same car model for entire company, drivers in uniforms and GPS-tracked vehicles.

Road

Podgorica's location in central Montenegro makes it a natural hub for rail and road transport.

Roads in Montenegro (especially that which connects Podgorica to northern Montenegro and Serbiamarker) are usually inferior to modern European roads. Both major Montenegrin motorway projects, Bar - Boljare motorway and Adriatic Ionian motorway, will pass near Podgorica. Those roads are currently in planning stages.

The newly-built Sozina tunnel (4.2 km) shortened the journey from Podgorica to Barmarker (Montenegro's main seaport) to under 30 minutes.

The current main transit connections of Podgorica are:



Rail

The Podgorica railway station is located near the city centre.

Podgorica's main railway link (for both passenger and freight traffic) is Belgrade - Bar. The link to Nikšićmarker is currently under reconstruction and will become the first electrified railway in Montenegro. Passenger service is expected to start in 2009. Podgorica's rail system is also connected to Shkodërmarker and Tiranamarker, however, this line is not used for passenger service.

Air transport

Podgorica Airportmarker is 10 km south of the city center and is Montenegro's main international airport. A new passenger terminal was opened on 13 July 2006. Podgorica Airport served over 500,000 passengers in 2008.

There are regular flights from Podgorica to Belgrademarker, Budapestmarker, Londonmarker, Frankfurtmarker, Ljubljanamarker, Zagrebmarker, Parismarker, Romemarker, Moscowmarker, Skopjemarker and Viennamarker.

See also



References

  1. Mugoša: Podgorica dobija svoju televiziju
  2. U Željeznicu ulažu 52 miliona eura


External links






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