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The ancient town of Stari Bar, Montenegro

Sunday, February 6, 2011 · Category Eastern Europe · comments 3


During my 4+ hour stay at the ancient town of Stari Bar in Montenegro I was one of 5 visitors, the others being an Italian and a German elderly couple. Restoration of the site was halted somewhere in the 1980's which explains all about how the Montenegrin Government handles and cares about it's long history in favour of tourism and new bricks and mortars everywhere.

Getting to Stari Bar

Access to the site is not for free as I recall but can costs as little as $ 1 to $ 2 dollars. The Stari bar site is located at the foot of Mount Remija (1594 m), has some spectacular views over the city of Bar and the Meditterean Coastline and is surrounded by hills covered in centuries old olive tress. At the entrance you can buy the brochure which is very helpful and worthwhile to navigate your way through the site. Just arriving in Stari bar gives you a sense of the old times, with many coloured houses at the foot of the site, decorated with the most amazing colours.

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History of Stari Bar

It is believed that there was a settlement in Stari bar as early as 800 BC, which was demolished by Romans somewhere around the 3th century BC. The Romans laid the groundwork for the current city of Bar as they believed the centre should be moved closer to the Sea. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian established a new fortified tower and it is believed that around the 10th century the site became known as Antinbaris, which means opposite of the Italian named city of Bari.

Stari Bar on the rise

By this time Stari bar had become one of the Adriatic's key political and economic centres. Inhabitants fo Stari Bar were living mostly from selling craftwork, olive oil and salt trade. In the 14th century the site was fortified further during the Balsic dynasty. The last fortifications were implemented by Venetians who ruled the Adriatic during the 15th and 16th century.

The destruction and collapse of Stari Bar

Turks rained over the surrounding territories fromt eh 16th until the 19th century and the town of Stari BAr was mostly destroyed during the fierce fights between Turks and Montenegrins in 1878. A massive earthquake in the region known as the 1979 earthquake put the last remaining buildings to the ground. In the 1980's projects were started to restore and renovate some of the major buildings, but the arrival of Tourism basically put all work to a standstill. The money to restore the rest of the buildings has dried up, which is really a painful side compared to the investments that are being made in hotels and apartment buildings all around, whilst Stari Bar is one of the most ancient site sof Montenegro.

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Some of the major highlights in current Stari Bar

You enter the site through the customs house, which is one of the most completed buildings. In the Western part of Stari bar you will find the remains of the St. Nicolas's Church, which displays some remarkable Byzantine era frescos. Unfortunately the frescos aren't protected and left open for weather influences. Very nice views from the valley below can be seen from the Old Citadel including the almost completely restored 17th century aquaduct. Other restored buildings include the St. John's Church, the main palace (which is now an art studio) and the St. Venerande's Church dating back to the 14th century. At the heart of the complex one finds the splendidly restored Turkish bads (amam) and the completely rebuilt clocktower.

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1. by Karla about 9 years

Is there a ferry from Italy?

2. by Bart about 9 years

In fact there are 2 lines from Bar to Ancona or Bar to Bari. You may also want to check

3. by River about 7 years

A porovactive insight! Just what we need!


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