Pljevlja is a town and municipality located in the northern part of Montenegro. The city lies at an altitude of 770 m (2,530 ft). The highest point of the municipality is on the Ljubišnja mountain at an altitude of 2,238 m (7,343 ft), while the lowest point is in the canyon of Tara river with an altitude of 529 m (1,736 ft) above sea level.
In 2003, the municipality of Pljevlja had a population of 36,918, while the city itself had a population of about 21,000. The municipality borders those of Žabljak, Bijelo Polje and Mojkovac in Montenegro, as well as the republics of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a total area of 1,346 km2 (520 sq mi), it is the third largest municipality in Montenegro.
History of Pljevlja
The first human settlements in Pljevlja’s region were in the last Ice Age. The evidence, which is considered to be the earliest in this part of Europe, can be found in Mališina cave close to the modern city of Pljevlja. However, far richer are the settlements from the Stone Age found in Medena Stijena. The first cultural people in this region are considered the Illyric tribes, Pirust, which lived there until the Roman invasion of the 1st century AD. The Romans built their own city on the ruins of the Illyrian city and named it Municipium S (S is the first letter of the name of the city that was founded on the ruins near Pljevlja’s Komini suburb). The city was the second largest Roman city in modern Montenegro after Doclea. Municipium S was the large trade and religious center of the upper Roman province of Dalmatia. A large number of valuable objects including jewellery pieces, glass vases and pottery have been found in the ruins of the old city. The most valuable object is the Diatreta or cage cup, a glass vase trimmed with blue glass threads which is considered to be priceless and the only one of its kind in the world. The Slavs eventually entered this region in the 6th century and built a city called Breznik (Breznica), first mentioned in 822, named after the river which runs through the city. The city blossomed over the centuries and became one of the main cities in the early Serbian state of Raška.
Breznik was on the main routes from Dubrovnik, Trieste and Kotor to Constantinople, Sarajevo and Belgrade and because of that, the first customs was opened in 1338. From 14th century city had the double name Breznik and Pljevlja. After the breakdown of Dušan’s empire, Breznik (Pljevlja) was ruled by many rulers: from 1368 to 1373 by Nikola Altomanović, 1373 to 1435 by Bosnian kings and from 1435 till September 1, 1462 by Herzog Stefan Vukčić when he lost the city to the Ottoman Empire. 1373rd , after the defeat of aristocratic Nicholas Altomanovic, occupy part of his estate ban of Bosnia Tvrtko Kotromanic. 1. Bosnian state; 2. Part of the property Altomanovic Nicholas (Vojinovic) annexed Bosnia, 3. Present-day border of Montenegro. The new name, Pljevlja, was not in use for a long time because after the Ottoman invasion the city was renamed Taşlıca (rocky terms). Turks upgraded the city to ‘kasaba’, a larger Ottoman city without a fortress. The 15th and 16th centuries were a period of much construction in the city: in 1465 a monastery was founded dedicated to the Holy Trinity; in 1569 Husein-paša’s mosque was built and during the 16th century the city got a sewage system.
When the center of Hercegovački Sanjak (Sanjak of Herzegovina) was moved to Pljevlja from Foča in 1572, the city started to change rapidly: urban housing increased— 72 houses in 1468, 150 in 1516, 300 in 1570; in the 17th century Pljevlja had around 650 houses in the city center and over 400 in the surrounding area. The first Muslim religious school, Medresa, was built in the 17th century; water-works were constructed in the 18th century. The Russian consul visited Pljevlja in the 19th century and wrote that Pljevlja was a very beautiful oriental city with gardens and fountains, mosques and churches and over 800 houses in the city center (7,000 citizens) which made Pljevlja the second largest city in Hercegovački Sanjak beside Mostar. After two big fires that burned the city center to the ground, the city’s economy was ruined.
That was the reason for displacing the center of Hercegovački Sanjak to Mostar in 1833. After 1833 the city stagnated in both an economic and cultural sense. old Čaršija in Pljevlja. In 1878, Pljevlja was occupied by Austria-Hungary like Yenipazar sanjak. 5,000 army soldiers with their wives and children came to Pljevlja. That was a beginning of a new era for the city because Austrians transformed Pljevlja into a modern western city with hotels, bookstores, theater and cultural events. The first modern drug store was opened in 1879, a photo store in 1892, hospital in 1880 and beer factory in 1889 (Šećerović beer factory).
“Didn’t the old legend told, when god had created the earth, he flown over it with 3 bags who carried earth, seeds, and rocks. Every country got his share. Untill the devil suddenly appeared and cutted the bag filled with rocks. The country were the rocks were tumbling on would be known as Montenegro.”
Austrians withdrew from the town in 1908 and the Ottoman army returned to it. In 1880 Pljevlja became the center of Pljevaljski Sanjak (Sanjak of Taşlıca) which existed till 1912 when Pljevlja was captured from the Ottoman Empire. Serbian and Montenegrin armies captured Pljevlja on the same day. In 1913 Pljevlja became a part of Kingdom of Montenegro, and after World War I a part of Zetska Banovina in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Finally, in 1945, after World War II, Pljevlja become a part of Montenegro.
Sights of Pljevlja
The Roman city Municipium,Stećci (monoliths), The Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Husein Pasa mosque, Saint Petka’s church (Crkva Sveta Petka) ,the oldest high school in Montenegro (Tanasije Pejatović High School), Šećerović house, Church Saint Ilija.
Economy of Pljevlja
Pljevlja is also one of the main economic engines of Montenegro. The only thermal power plant in Montenegro, which provides 45% of the electric power supply for Montenegro, is situated outside Pljevlja as well as the biggest coal mine with 100% of the coal production in Montenegro. Zinc and lead can be found in Šuplja stijena mine. The richest municipality with forest in Montenegro is Pljevlja and its lumber industry. Agriculture is widespread in the whole municipality. Pljevaljski sir (Pljevlja’s cheese, is considered a delicacy. There is big potential for ecological and winter tourism.