Bar is a coastal town. It has a population of 17,727. Bar is the centre of municipality and a major seaport of Montenegro. In Montenegrin and Serbian, the town is known as Bar ; in Italian as Antivari or Antibari; in Albanian as Tivari; in Greek as Antivari, or Antivárion; and in Latin as Antibarium. The name of this city is connected to Bari, Italy as those cities are located on the opposite side of Adriatic sea.
General information of Bar
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 Montenegro, 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 center within Montenegro, but is also a town of rich cultural and historical tradition. Some of the highest achievements of Montenegro’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 kilometer-long sea coast, including over 9 kilometers of beaches, the 67 kilometer-long shore of Skadarsko Jezero 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.
Old town of Bar
Any visitor to the long-since dilapidated ruins of Stari Bar (Old Bar), 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 Stari Bar 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 ambiance. In addition to the old town, there is the large and well preserved Bar Aqueduct constructed during the 16th century – 17th century, and partially destroyed during the siege of 1877–1878. What is bound to fascinate you when you encounter Stari Bar 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.
Patron of Bar
The patron saint of Bar is Saint Jovan Vladimir, and a festive religious procession passes on his feast day (4 June) through the town’s streets with church banners and icons, celebrating the saint. The procession is usually led by the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral. St. George was a medieval patron of Bar. Great cathedral was built in the twelfth century was dedicated to him.
Cultural and historical monuments of Bar
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 Skadarsko Jezero : 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. It was built in 1885 on the seashore. The palace was a present from King Nikola to his daughter Princess Zorka and his son-in-law Prince Petar Karađorđević. It consisted of a large palace, a little palace, a chapel, guardhouses and a winter garden. In 1910 a spacious ballroom was built in the palace. As part of the palace, there is a park with many different species of Mediterranean vegetation, among them a cork tree. In front of the palace, there was a wooden pier, which served as a mooring for boats and yachts. During the period between 1866 and 1916 King Nikola owned ten yachts. One of them, named “Sibil” was bought from novelist Jules Verne, while the last yacht he bought, called “Rumija” was sunk in 1915 by the Austro-Hungarian navy in the area of today’s harbour. Here, one can also find a large flower garden, made of a stainless steel structure of interesting shape, which was given as a present by the Italian king, Emanuel, and which is nowadays used as the restaurant called “Knjaževa bašta” (“The Duke’s Garden”). Nowadays, the palace building complex is used as the Homeland Museum of the City of Bar, as well as for festivals (concerts, exhibitions and literary events). 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).
History of Bar
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.
“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.
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 Adriatic coast, including “the famous town Bar”, and joined Zeta to his state – Raška. From 1443 to 1571 this region was under the rule of Venice, 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 center 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 Bari 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 Cetinje.
Flora and Fauna
The municipality of Bar has diverse flora and fauna. The type of vegetation that dominates the coastal part of Bar is maquis. Up north, towards the mountain massifs of Sutorman, Lisinje and Rumija, there is a mixture of oak and beech forests. The maquis of Bar’s coastal area hosts the following: oak, holm oak, laurel, myrtle, Spanish broom, oleander, hawthorn, sloe, thorn, butcher’s broom, asparagus, etc. Citrus fruits (tangerine, orange, lemon), pomegranate, olive, grapevine and fig are characteristic plant species in Bar. An attraction for the tourists is the old olive tree at Mirovica and Ginkgo Biloba in the park of King Nikola’s palace. In the territory of the municipality of Bar there are various kinds of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and attractive invertebrates. The most significant part of Bar, in terms of rich ornithofauna, is the Skadarsko Jezero basin. Skadarsko Jezero is inhabited by approximately 270 bird species, among which especially important is the pelican, as an unusual and rare bird. Ostros, Rumija, Lisinj, Sutorman and Sozina are attractive sites rich with plenty of game (rabbit, badger, fox, wolf and boar). Sea flora and fauna make up one of Bar’s great resources. On the coast, there are various kinds of shells, snails, echinodermata, cephalopoda and crayfish, which have a high quality, healthy meat.
Bar is not only a multi ethnic town. It is also a home for three major religions of the world, and they have been living in peace for centuries without any incidents. Orthodox Christianity has a majority in Bar. It has a history dating back to the 11 century, and Bar is the place of birth of Saint Jovan Vladimir who is a very famous and important saint in Montenegro. Also,there a lot of churches and monasteries in the municipality and the most famous are those on Skadarsko Jezero, which is sometimes called the Holy Land of Montenegro. Roman Catholicism had an important rule in the history of Bar. Bar is the home of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar, which is the archdiocese of most of Montenegro and Serbia. It dates back from 1089. With Ottoman Turks, came Islam.
There are a lot of mosques in the municipality but most of them are close to the Old Bar, and in the eastern part of the municipality of Bar. Now, in Bar, an Orthodox temple,a Catholic cathedral and an Islamic center are being built in the same time.
Tourism in Bar
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 untouched nature, and is rich in vegetation. The Bar municipality also stretches to the southern shore of the Skadarsko Jezero lake and encompasses Krajina region. This entire area is suitable for leisure activities and hiking. Smaller settlements near Bar, such as Dobra Voda, Sutomore and Čanj, are favorite 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 (50 °F) the lowest.
Accomodation in Bar
Bar is the largest industrial town on the Montenegrin coast, lying between the two most prominent beach rivieras of Budva and Ulcinj. Not only geographically but also touristically it falls between here. It does not have the tourist appeal of Budva, because of its more industrial character, but it does have the more quiet beaches in the area. It does not have the beaches of Ulcinj, but the more central location making the most popular sights in Montenegro much easier to reach. The old town of Bar, is not inhabited like the other old towns in Montenegro, but is for the history lovers the most interesting due to its diversity and antiquity dating back to the Illyrian times. And what makes it the most important tourist attraction for the city. As a result, the accommodation offer is therefore briefly built up from partial tourist-oriented and business accommodation.
Best Guest House in Bar
- Guest House Konoba Kula – Guest House Kula is just 20 meters from the Old Town of Bar. It offers free Wi-Fi, free private parking and an on-site restaurant. The property is 4 km from the beach and the center of Bar. The rooms overlook the nearby fort. The air-conditioned rooms feature a desk with a chair, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a shower. They also have furnished balconies. The restaurant serves local and international specialties. A grocery shop and a market can be found 100 meters from the guest house.
- Facilities : Free Wi-Fi, Free Parking, Terrace, Restaurant (à la carte), Bar, Massage (surcharge), Tour Desk, Ironing Service (surcharge), Laundry (surcharge), Pets Allowed, Bicycle Rental, Room Service, Airport Shuttle.
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Best Apartment in Bar
- Apartments Rux de Luxe – Located just a 15-minute walk from the beach, Apartments Rux de Luxe offers self-catering accommodation with air conditioning and free WiFi. The apartments all have an open-plan seating and dining area with a kitchen or kitchenette, and a balcony. Some apartments offer sea views. Rux de Luxe is only 350 meters from the nearby leisure center. The city center Bar is only a 5-minute drive away and Podgorica Airport is a 1-hour drive from the apartments.
- Facilities : Free Wi-Fi, Free Parking, Outdoor furniture, Laundry, Ironing Service (surcharge), Car Hire, Bicycle Rental (surcharge).
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Best Holiday Home in Bar
- Apartments Stevo Nikocevic – Apartments Stevo Nikočević is located just 100 meters from a beach and 1.5 km from the center of Bar. It offers air-conditioned accommodation with free Wi-Fi. Guests can make use of a garden with barbecue facilities and a children’s playground. The apartment will provide you with a TV, a seating area and a kitchen or a kitchenette. The private bathroom comes with a shower, free toiletries and towels.The nearest supermarket is just 10 meters away, while a restaurant and a bar can be found 100 meters from Apartments Stevo Nikočević. The Port of Bar is at a distance of 2.7 km. Free private parking is available on site.
- Facilities : Free parking, Free Wi-Fi, Garden, Garden furniture, BBQ Facilities, Disabled Parking, Laundry, Airport Shuttle.
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Best Hotel in Bar
- Hotel Franca Bar – This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Offering an on-site restaurant and bar, Hotel Franca is located in Bar, 600 meters from the seaside promenade. Rooms are stylishly decorated and are equipped with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Each room features a flat-screen TV, a minibar and a safety deposit box. The private bathrooms include a shower or a bath, a bathrobe and a hairdryer. Hotel Franca also offers a 24-hour front desk and free private parking. There is a pebble beach with bars 700 meters from the hotel.The Main Bus Station is 2 km away, while Podgorica Town is at a distance of 45 km. Tivat Airport is 50 km from Hotel Franca.
- Facilities : Free Wi-Fi Internet Access Included, Free Parking, Garden, Restaurant, Bar, Breakfast in the Room, Private Check-in / -out, Ironing Service (surcharge), Business Center, 24-Hour Front Desk, Meeting / Banquet Facilities, Room Service, Safety Deposit Box, Facilities for Disabled Guests.
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Sports in Bar
Bar is a city with a large young population and has an abundance of talent in a variety of sports. Over fifty sports clubs and associations operate in Bar. There are numerous high quality sports facilities in the hotels and schools. In the center of town, most of these facilities can be found in the Sports and Recreation Center. There is a particularly high number of water sports clubs. In addition to the those who specialize purely in sporting activities, many of the local diving clubs are involved with scientific and coastal sea research. The longstanding chess club has even become well known abroad. Many world class chess celebrities have enjoyed visiting Bar and particularly the hospitality of the local chess club. Sports tourism, both connected to the sea and to the lake, is very attractive for numerous teams, both from the within the country and from abroad. Bar hosted the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship and the 2010 Mens u18 European Handball Championship.
The old town of Bar, which is 4 kilometer far from the coast, is the most significant among the numerous cultural-historical monuments, what witnesses to the turbulent history of this town. The remnants of the town are deaf witnesses of numerous conquerors and different cultures. On the postcard of Bar there are tourist facilities, restaurants, sport fields, trade and a marina with 1050 berths.
The Montenegrins’, Serbs’ and Croats’ languages are all mutually intelligible and derived from Serbo-Croat. The dialect and the vocabulary of the local people are heavily influenced by Italian. Locals usually speak and understand Italian, Russian and English.
Serbian Railways offers both day and night trains departuring from Novi Sad, making stop-overs in several cities including Belgrade, Niš, and Podgorica along the way. Also, there is a seasonal long-distance night train from Moscow via Kiev and Budapest taking four nights.
Montenegro Lines operates daily ferries to/from Bari, Italy departing at 10PM and arriving at 7:00 and costing 56 euros and up. The company also operates bi-weekly ferries to/from Ancona, Italy.
The bus station in Bar is located 2 kilometer from the center, 300 meter from the train station. Frequent buses operate along the coast to Kotor and Budva. The journey to Podgorica takes a little over an hour, journeys to Ulcinj take about 30 minutes and journeys north to Budva and Kotor take one hour and just under two hours respectively. If you’re heading to Bar’s beaches in Susanj then you can ask to be let off the buses (for those coming from Podgorica, Budva and Kotor) in Susanj rather than having to walk all the way back from the bus station.
During the summer months there is a local bus service running between Sutomore (about 5 km north along the coast) and Bar. Services are hourly. Bar is a small city and everywhere is walk-able. The walk between Bar and the beaches in Susanj will take about 30 minutes or taxi drivers will be happy to take you.
There is a hourly local bus from the Bar center passing by the the bus and train stations to Stari bar for € 0,50 each way
- Stari Bar — In the present day, life in this medieval town or called Stari Bar 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 ambiance.
- King of Nikola palace — Built in 1885 on the seashore this palace was a present from King Nikola to his daughter Princess Zorka and his son-in-law Prince Petar Karađorđević.
- Bar Aquaduct— located on the northern side of the old town of Bar. The Bar Aqueduct is the only remaining aqueduct in Montenegro, and one of the largest and best preserved aqueducts of the three in former Yugoslavia.
- Haj Nehaj — Ruins of the medieval town of Nehaj, founded in the 15th century are 10 km (north-west) from the town of Bar.
Bar has several great restaurants serving local fish and good domestic and foreign wines.
- Konoba Spilja — (Old Town), Traditional Dalmatian and Sestan Food.
- Restaurant Samba — J Tomasevica 41, 085 312 025. Partly inside, partly on a terrace with amazing mountain views. Popular with locals.
- Tajana — (Old Town). Garden restaurant with tables inside and outside.
- Sunce — ul. Rista Lekic’a, 069211010. 8:00 – 21:00. Home made national food. Inexpensive, for travelers on a budget, backpackers.
There are cafes spread-ed across all of Bar. Espresso will cost from €1.00. Coke and other soft drinks and juices will cost from €1.00 up to €2.00. You should also try out famous Montenegrin wines, “Vranac”, “Pro Corde”, “Krstac”, “Cabernet”, “Chardonnay” and “Nikšićko” beer. Montenegrin brandy, called “rakija” is good choice to “warm up” before going out in the evening, especially grape brandy “Montenegrin loza”, “Prvijenac” or “Kruna”.
- Carpe Diem
- Caffebar Holywood
- La Esquina
- Budva — the Montenegrin touristic metropolis on the Adriatic Sea is located some 20km south of the Boka Kotorska.
- Kotor — an ancient fortified town located deep down the Boka Kotorska bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Cetinje — the historical capital of Montenegro is located just under Mt Lovćen, the mountain overlooking the Boka Kotorska.
- Lovćen national park — Mount Lovćen rises from the borders of the Adriatic basin closing the long ang twisting bays of Boka Kotorska and making the hinterland to the coastal town of Kotor. The mountain has two imposing peaks, Štirovnik (1,749 meter) and Jezerski vrh (1,657 meter).The mountain slopes are rocky, with numerous fissures, pits and deep depressions giving its scenery a specific look. Standing on the border between two completely different natural wholes, the sea and the mainland, Lovćen is under the influence of both climates.
- Ulcinj — Ulcinj is the southern most major town along the Montenegrin coast before reaching the border with Albania. In the pre-medieval period, Ulcinj was known as one of the pirate capitals of the Adriatic Sea.
- Njegos Mausoleum — The mausoleum of Petar Petrovic Njegos built of limestone and granite can be found on top of Mount Lovćen. It was Njegos’s last wish, the greatest ruler of the Montenegrins who was a bishop and a poet at the same time to be buried there.
- Rumija— As a Dinaric natural barrier, Rumija separate Adriatic Sea from the Skadarsko Jezero lake. With the height of 1594 m, it drops steep towards the Adriatic coastline and somewhat less steeply towards the southern part of the lake.
- Boka Kotorska — Often referred as “Europe’s most southern fjord” the beauty of Bay was confirmed by signing the bay on the list of World’s natural and cultural heritage of Unesco, and accepting the Bay in the Club of the most beautiful world bays.
- Tivat — a small town, quickly emerging into a major touristic, business and transport centre. Located in the vicinity of the Tivat International Airport, in summer 2014 it became home of a luxury yacht marina called Porto Montenegro.
- Skadarsko Jezero — Skadarsko Jezero is the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans, two thirds of which is in Montenegro and the remainder in Albania. It is surrounded by dramatic karst mountains and hosts a thrilling array of wildlife with more than 260 species of birds, traditional fishing villages, islet monasteries and pristine beaches.It has been a protected National Park since 1983 and was added, in 1996, to the World’s List of Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.