What determined that one coastal town on the Adriatic sea be about 5 kilometres away from the coast, we discover in its past. Unlike other coastal towns that are splashed by the sea, the Old Town of Bar is located below the mountain massif of Rumija. It is not known at what exact moment the foundation of the Old Town of Bar was laid and which moment was groundbreaking. It is known to date back more than 2000 years. The reasons for building the city on an inaccessible cliff were the need to protect the inhabitants from numerous enemies as well as the proximity of drinking water.
Old Bar through the centuries
The first significant development of the city is related to the beginning of the creation of the Duklja state at the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century. It was a time when numerous feudal families were emerging and disappearing in the Balkans and civilizations were changing. Some stayed in Bar longer, some shorter, but each left its mark. Therein lies the richness of the Old Town to be discovered.
The first king of Duklja, Mihajlo from the Vojislavljevic dynasty, was crowned in the town in 1077, and the Archdiocese of Bar was founded in 1089 during the reign of King Bodin. During the reign of the Nemanjić family, in the 13th century, the wife of King Uroš I Nemanjić, Helen of Anjou built the monastery of St. Nicholas. The Balšić dynasty, in addition to Ulcinj and Shkodra, also had its residence in Old Bar, where it minted its own money. The Golden Age dates back to the 15th century when the city was ruled by Venice Republic. Magnificent palaces were built on the model of the Venetian ones, the city was expanded, and for the needs of the defence of the city, new walls, ramparts and ravelins were erected, the Citadel was renovated.
The moment when the West opens the door to the East
Find out whether the Lion of St. Mark above the city gates was crucial for the West to open the gates to the East on a journey through the past by visiting the Old Town of Bar. A crucial year was in 1571. when the city conquered the mighty Turkish Empire. Does whether the Republic of Venice had justified reasons to leave the city and leave the unprotected population at the mercy of a powerful enemy, the guides of the AVE tours agency will tell you.
During the rule of the Turks, the city took on an oriental appearance. An aqueduct was built, the only cultural monument of its kind on the eastern Adriatic coast, gunpowder, a clock tower, a hammam, and numerous churches and cathedrals were turned into mosques.
After almost 300 years under the Ottoman Empire in 1878. the city was liberated. The defence of the city was personally led by King Nikola. It is interesting that the defence of the city caused its greatest suffering. At the time when it was liberated, the city was closed, and the inhabitants moved to the sea. Many buildings were damaged during the bombing, and after the liberation, it was completely destroyed Cathedral of St. George in the gunpowder explosion that the liberation army kept in this religious building. The Monastery of St. Nicholas was also significantly damaged after an explosion of a weapon stationed in nearby gunpowder.
At the same time as King Nikola laid the foundations of the port of Bar in 1908, a new city on the coast emerged. The population is gradually moving closer to the sea to the newly founded city. The old town remains at the mercy of the ravages of time and received its final blow in the catastrophic 1979 earthquake.
Bar – Fenix town
With the construction of the new city and port in the embrace of Volujica, maritime and trade connections with the Mediterranean countries and beyond are beginning to be established, which leads to the development of the economy. A bank and trade companies were established, and the first hotel “Marina” was opened. The city is connected by a narrow-gauge railway with Virpazar on Skadar Lake, and the first power plant was put into operation. The Nobel laureates, the Marconi brothers, set up the first radio station in the Balkans.
After World War II, Bar will change its place under the sun for the third time. The decision of the Yugoslav government to expand and build a modern port conditioned the relocation of the city to a new location. The small coastal town founded by King Nikola, and the locals called Pristan, was demolished by the need to expand the port. The population was evicted to a newly built settlement called Novi Bar.
Today it is a modern port city, a nautical center with a marina with a capacity of 1000 berths, a cultural and educational center. Due to the content and diverse offer in an area of 505 km2 with 46 km of Adriatic and 64 km of lake shores Bar is developing into an interesting tourist destination on two magical shores.
The remnants of many civilizations, the heritage of the past that can be seen today through the cultural and gastronomic offer, place Bar in a destination that should not be missed during your stay in Montenegro.
Bar is a city that can be reached by road and rail, with a diameter of about 50 kilometers are two international airports, and it is connected to the world by sea.