Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Cetinje Historic Core

Date of Submission: 06/07/2010
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of Montenegro to UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Coordinates: 42 23 15.26 N 18 55 27.67 E
Ref.: 5561

The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


Description of broader context:

Cetinje Royal Capital covers the area of 910 km2, which equals 6.6% of the total area of the State of Montenegro. It is situated in between Boka Kotorska Bay to the West, Budva's Riviera to the South, Skadar Lake basin and Zeta-Bjelopavlići plain to the East, Nikšić plain and Bijele Rudine to the North. It borders seven municipalities (Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Bar, Podgorica, Danilovgrad and Nikšić). Generally speaking, Cetinje region can be divided into three larger, spatially independent areas: 'Katunska površ' or 'Katunski krš', Mount Lovćen range and its continental piedmont area and Skadar Lake basin's Western ridge.

Site description:

Due to the exceptional values of the urban agglomeration with the artistic and cultural-historical qualities of the individual monuments, Cetinje Historic Core belongs to the First category cultural monuments.

Cetinje Historic Core constitutes a heritage ensemble of exceptional importance, characteristic for its harmonious unity of heterogeneous elements, individually protected monuments, parks and a regular urban matrix.

Historical continuity of Cetinje can be traced through preserved unmovable and movable cultural heritage, which all generations had left more or less recognizable trace on.

12 000 years ago, the first communities were founded in the territory of Cetinje plain. The oldest known trace of those settlements was found in Koronjina cave, covering the area of around 15 m², and located in the very hinterland of Cetinje plain. A considerable quantity of stone tools was discovered in Koronjina. The ancient settlements - so called 'gradinas', as well as numerous tombs - burial mounds, also known as 'gomile' constitute the remains of the Iron Age in Cetinje and its surroundings.

The first written trace of Cetinje dates back to the year 1440, found as such in the judicial-notary volumes of Kotor Historical Archives. At that time, Cetinje plain must have been a summer grazing area used by cattle breeders.

The origin of Cetinje Historic Core dates back to the year 1482, when Crnojevićs' castle was constructed and to the year 1484 which saw the construction of the monastery of the Crnojevićs'. Its further development can be followed until modern times.

Due to the intensive urban development during the 19th century, well known European architects and builders of the time, changed the architectural structure of Cetinje. From a row of rural structures, typical of the traditional architecture of this area, Cetinje became a settlement characterized by urban style and eclectic architecture, starting from the Neo-Romanesque style, Neo-Baroque and Umpire, up to Art Nouveau and Cubist architectural solutions.

The most significant unmovable cultural monuments in Cetinje Historic Core are the following: Cetinje Monastery with the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 'Biljarda', King Nicola's Palace, the remains of the Crnojevićs' Monastery at Ćipur, the Government House, the theatre building 'Zetski dom', the hospital 'Danilo I', the Heir to the Throne Danilo's Palace - Blue Palace, the Royal Chapel - Ćipur, the building of the English diplomatic mission to the former Kingdom of Montenegro, the edifice of the French diplomatic mission to the former Kingdom of Montenegro, the Bishop Prince Danilo's Tomb at 'Orlov krš' (Eagle's rock), the Relief of Montenegro, the building of the Russian  diplomatic mission to the former Kingdom of Montenegro, the Vlach Church, the edifice of the State Archives of Montenegro, the Pharmacy in Njegoševa Street, Ivan Crnojević's Mill, 'Tablja' Tower, the building of the Turkish diplomatic mission to the former Kingdom of Montenegro, the building of the first Montenegrin bank, the edifice of the former 'Military Quarters', the building of the former Girls' Institute of the 'Empress Mary'.

The most important part of the movable cultural heritage of Montenegro is located in Cetinje, housed within the National Museum of Montenegro, the Treasury of Cetinje Monastery, the Central National Library 'Đurđe Crnojević' and in the State Archives of Montenegro.

Particular value of the cultural heritage of Cetinje, is attributed to the three most revered Christian relics, being the authentic testimonies of history, culture and human civilization in that area, as follows: Saint John the Baptist's Right Hand and a Particle of the Holy Cross, housed in Cetinje Monastery Treasury, as well as the Icon of Our Lady of Phileremos, being one of the most revered relics in the Christian world and  a masterpiece of universal value and thus stored as such in the Museum of Art of the National Museum of Montenegro.

The values of Cetinje Historic Core in synergy with the broader context of Cetinje plain and Mount Lovćen, with the Mausoleum at its summit, can be defined as a specific cultural landscape.

Cetinje is a 'Town of Books', where the books have been written, printed, read and preserved over centuries. The long history of Montenegrin literacy, first of all Greek and Latin and then Slavic, had necessarily to result in printed books, i.e. in the establishing of the first printing house in 1492, and in the first printed book of the South Slavs, namely the Octoechos, the first voice, printed in 1494.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The diversity of Cetinje cultural heritage, which offers the insight into the history of this and even broader area of Montenego, is in itself a proof of the specific and unique cultural milieu of Cetinje.

Cetinje cultural heritage, i.e. Cetinje Historic Core represents a sort of symbiosis of the oustanding material and inestimable spiritual values, both urban- architectural and cultural-artistic ones, which are mutually intertwined and conditioned, thus forming an unbreakable unity of traditional and eclectic architecture of the 19th century, on one hand, and the richness in numerous art collections of Cetinje Museums, literary and documentary holdings of Cetinje libraries and archives, on the other.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Cetinje Historic Core is an example of unique and authentically preserved urbanism of small towns, adjusted to the surroundings, with high quality architecture. The continuity and authenticity of cultural heritage, powerful cult of history, architectural, ambient and landscape values, the spirit of the former and actual Royal Capital and rich spiritual heritage, form a unity which makes Cetinje Historic Core the centre of Montenegrin historical and national identity, remembrance and existence.

Comparison with other similar properties

Cetinje Historic Core is a town which was being formed at a place surrounded by mountain ranges, serving for centuries as natural ramparts and fending off invaders. Other towns which were not being built at the same time as Cetinje Historic Core, but which were of similar meaning and importance, might be the following: New Town of Edinborough in Great Britain and Lucca in Italy.