Bar, Montenegro

Last updated
View of Bar from Dobra Voda
Montenegro adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Montenegro
Coordinates: 42°06′N19°06′E / 42.10°N 19.10°E / 42.10; 19.10 Coordinates: 42°06′N19°06′E / 42.10°N 19.10°E / 42.10; 19.10
Country Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro
Municipality Coat of Arms of Bar.png Bar
Founded6th century as Antipargal
  MayorDušan Raičević (DPS)
   Town and municipality 598 km2 (231 sq mi)
 (2011 census)
  Density67.0/km2 (174/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Barani
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code +382 30
ISO 3166-2 code ME-02
Car plates BR
Climate Csa
Website Official website

Bar (Montenegrin and Serbian: Бар, pronounced  [bâr] ; Albanian : Tivar; [1] Italian : Antivari or Antibari) is a coastal town and seaport in southern Montenegro. It is the capital of the Bar Municipality and a center for tourism. According to the 2011 census, the city proper had 13,503 inhabitants, while the total population of Bar Municipality was 42,068.



Bar is a shortened form of Antivari. [2] The name is thought to be derived from the Latin Antibarum or Antibari, which later in Greek was transformed into Antivárion / Antivari due to its pronunciation. A name taken because of its location and which means "in front of Bari". [3] Variations are in Italian, Antivari / Antibari; in Albanian, Tivari or Tivar; in Turkish, Bar; in Greek, Θηβάριον, Thivárion, Αντιβάριον, Antivárion; in Latin, Antibarium


Ancient times

Local archaeological findings date to the Neolithic era. It is assumed that Bar was mentioned as the reconstructed Roman castle, Antipargal, in the 6th century. The name Antibarium was quoted for the first time in the 10th century.[ citation needed ]

Middle Ages

In the 6th and 7th centuries, Slavs occupied the Balkans. Duklja, a Slavic, or Serbian state, was mentioned in the 10th century. Jovan Vladimir (ruler 1000–1016), of Skadarska Krajina is the first ruler of Duklja whose history is known. Stefan Vojislav (ruler 1018–1043), the eponymous founder of the Vojislavljević dynasty, defeated the Byzantines in a battle on a hill near Bar. He made Bar his seat of power. Vojislav then expanded the area under his rule. Mihailo I of Duklja (ruler 1050–1081), Vojislav's son, established the Archdiocese of Antivari. He continued to fight the Byzantines in order to secure the town's independence. This led to a union of states known as the Serbian Grand Principality. From 1101 to 1166, the principality was ruled by the Vukanović dynasty. However, for much of this time, Bar was under Byzantine rule. In 1183, Stefan Nemanja conquered and destroyed Bar which remained under Serbian control until the death of Dušan (1355). [4]

Venetian and Ottoman period

Bar in 1863 Vues iv41055.jpg
Bar in 1863

From 1443 to 1571, the region was ruled by the Venice who called it Antivari, and it was part of the Albania Veneta. It was a town with its own coat of arms, flag, statute and mint. In 1571, the Ottomans captured Antivari and held the town until 1878. [5] The archdiocese was preserved. With the Ottoman conquest, the Catholic Church in the border area and the Archdiocese of Bar began to collapse, because indigenous people began to migrate as Ottomans to that area brought a new ethnic and religious element. Because of a lack of Catholic priests, entire parishes were converted to Orthodoxy. [6] One of the archbishops during this period was Andrija Zmajević.

In 1571, The Ottomans expelled the Orthodox and Catholic population. [7]

The Ottomans ceded Antivari to Montenegro at the Treaty of Berlin, after losing the Russo-Turkish War. Montenegro's initial main goal in the negotiations was its expansion in Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, but Austro-Hungarian expansion made it unrealistic. The Ottomans, represented by Alexander Karatheodori Pasha, declared that they would cede the port of Spizza to Montenegro but not Bar and other areas because they claimed they were primarily inhabited by Catholics and Muslim Albanians. After negotiations between Foreign Ministers Gyula Andrássy (Austria-Hungary) and Pyotr Andreyevich Shuvalov (Russia), it was agreed that Bar would be ceded to Montenegro in return for Russian support for Austrian control over Herzegovina. The city-port of Bar itself became militarily neutral, the total number of Montenegrin vessels in the port was placed under limitations and Austria-Hungary acquired the right of patrol of Bar's coastline. [8]

Montenegro renamed the town Bar, although virtually everyone else, including their neighbours, Italy and Austria-Hungary, continued to name it Antivari. In the new Montenegrin Orthodox state, Bar went through urban depopulation because many of its urban inhabitants which were in fact Muslims either left or were expelled from the town. In the late 1850s, the town had 4,000 inhabitants, 62.5% of which were Muslims. More than half of its population left or was expelled after 1878. The first population register of the town under Montenegrin administration in 1879, counted 1,879 inhabitants. Muslims were 30.9% of the population, 24.6% were Catholics (mostly Albanians) in addition to a mostly Serbian Orthodox population. [9] [ need quotation to verify ]


Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian scientist and pioneer in wireless telegraphy, using Nikola Tesla's patented technology, made a radio connection between Antivari (Bar) and Bari on 30 August 1904. In 1908, the first railroad in this part of the Balkans was put into operation there.[ citation needed ]

On 8 August 1914 Austria-Hungary responded to Montenegro's declaration of war by sending their protected cruisers SMS Zenta and SMS Szigetvár accompanied by the destroyer SMS Uskoke and torpedo boat 72F to conduct an unopposed bombardment of the port of Antivari, targeting its wireless station and harbour facilities. They were driven away by coastal batteries and destroyed only a wireless station. The Austrians declared a formal blockade of the Montenegrin coastline on August 10. On August 16, SMS Zenta and an accompanying destroyer were ambushed and trapped off Antivari by a very large French fleet (over twelve battleships), and in the subsequent battle of Antivari the Zenta was sunk with considerable loss of life. The destroyer escaped. On the 18 September following, the Austro-Hungarian coastal battleship SMS Budapest with supporting warships bombarded Antivari, the port and facilities, causing major damage, and on October 17–18 the destroyers SMS Scharfschutze, SMS Streiter and SMS Ulan bombarded Antivari's harbour. On November 18 the destroyer SMS Uskoke also conducted a brief bombardment. The Austrians made their largest raid to date on the evening and night of 1–2 March 1915 when their destroyers SMS Csikós, SMS Streiter, and SMS Ulan covered a raid by three torpedo-boats into Antivari harbour. The latter destroyed the main wharf and stocks of food and ammunitions along the waterfront, and captured the Montenegrin royal yacht Rumija, which was later torpedoed. The destruction of the wharves prevented larger ships from unloading supplies at the port restricting Allied shipments of food and munitions to the Montenegrin army. The Allies realised that with the Austro-Hungarian naval base of Cattaro close by there was little they could do. [10] In 1979, there was an earthquake that devastated Bar. It has since been rebuilt. [11]

When Montenegro signed an agreement with the Chinese Government to build a motorway from Bar to the Serbian border (part of the Belt and Road initiative) in 2014, large tracts of land around Bar were agreed as collateral in the event of the Montenegro government defaulting on payment of the 1 billion dollar loan. The project was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. [12] [13] Contractual disputes can only be resolved through a Chinese court. [14]


View of Bar from Vrsuta mountain Vrsuta, 1182 m, pohled na J - Bar a riviera.jpg
View of Bar from Vršuta mountain


Bar is located on the coastal western border of Montenegro on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. It is approximately 53 kilometres (33 mi) from Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.To the east is the largest lake in the Balkans, Lake Skadar. To the west, across the sea, is Italy. [15]


Bar has a wind blowing from 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 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). Bar has a borderline humid subtropical (Cfa) and Mediterranean climate (Csa) in the Köppen climate classification, since only one summer month has less than 40 mm (1.6 in) of rainfall, preventing it from being classified as solely humid subtropical or Mediterranean. [16] Winters are cool and rainy, with an average high of 12.3 °C (54.1 °F) in January and a low of 4.3 °C (39.7 °F). Snow is very rare occurrence in Bar, it usually snows once in a few years. The highest recorded snowfall occurred during January 2000, when 9 centimetres (3.5 in) was measured. Summers are generally warmer, drier and sunnier than the winter months. During summer, the highest temperatures are around 27 to 28 °C (81 to 82 °F) and the lowest 18 °C (64 °F). Precipitation is low during the summer months, although rainfall can still occur, with July averaging 4.5 days with measurable precipitation. Spring and fall are transitional seasons that feature mild weather that can often be wet and unpredictable. There are, on average, 2523 hours of sunshine per year, ranging from a low of 111.6 hours in December to a high of 350.3 hours in July. [17]

Climate data for Bar, Montenegro (1961–1990, extremes 1949–present)
Record high °C (°F)21.2
Average high °C (°F)12.3
Daily mean °C (°F)8.3
Average low °C (°F)4.3
Record low °C (°F)−7.2
Average precipitation mm (inches)155.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)131312129755791414120
Average relative humidity (%)65646771737268697068696869
Mean monthly sunshine hours 120.9124.2170.9198.9259.7297.4351.5317.3252.1198.8124.6111.62,527.9
Source: Hydrological and Meteorological Service of Montenegro [17] [18]

Flora and fauna

Olea europea, ancient olive tree "Olea europea", which is over 2000 years old. Full view..jpg
Olea europea, ancient olive tree

The coastal part of Bar supports maquis shrubland with oak, holm oak, laurel, myrtle, Spanish broom, oleander, hawthorn, sloe, thorn, butcher's broom and asparagus. To the north and the mountains, there are oak and beech forests. Citrus fruits including tangerine, orange and lemon grow in the Bar area as do pomegranates, olives, grapevines and figs. Ginkgo biloba grows in the park of King Nikola's palace.[ citation needed ]

Skadar Lake is rich in bird life including the pelican. Game animals are found in Ostros, Rumija, Lisinj, Sutorman and Sozina and include rabbit, badger, fox, wolf and boar. At the Bar sea shore one finds various kinds of shells, snails, echinodermata, cephalopoda and crayfish.[ citation needed ]


Historical population
1948897 [19]     

Bar is the administrative centre of Bar Municipality, which includes the town of Sutomore and other small coastal towns. A census in 2011 recorded 42,048 people in the Bar Municipality. Bar city had 13,503 inhabitants. [20]

Divisions and settlements

The municipality of Bar is divided into 12 communes (mjesna zajednica), consisting of 83 settlements:

Bar Icentral business district
Bar IIPolje, Burtaiši, Čeluga, part of Rena;
Bar IIIpart of Bjeliši, Sokolana, Stara Ambulanta, Zgrade Prvoborca;
Bar IVPopovići, part of Bjeliši, Ahmetov Brijeg, Vuletića Brijeg, part of Rena and Trsanj
Bar VSustaš, Zupci, Marovići, Tuđemili
Šušanj Žukotrlica, Novi Pristan, Zeleni Pojas, Ilino, Šušanj, Carevići, Vitići and Paladini
Sutomore Brca, Zelen, Obala Željezničke Kolonije, Mirošica I, Turke, Pobrđe, Gorelac, Miljevci, Sozina, Zankovići, Suvi Potok, Mirošica II, Zgrade, Bjelila, Papani, Haj-Nehaj, Zagrađe, Mišići, Đurmani and Čanj
Stari Bar (Old Bar)Stari Bar, Baukovo, Belveder, Velembusi, Gretva, Brbot, Turčini, Menke, Mikulići, Podgrad, Bartula, Rap, Gornja Poda and Donja Poda, Tomba, Gornje Zaljevo and Donje Zaljevo
Mrko(je)vići Pečurice, Dobra Voda, Grdovići, Pelinkovići, Dabezići, Velje Selo, Kunje, Velja Gorana and Mala Gorana
Krajina Arbneš, Veliki Ostros, Mali Ostros, Martići, Runji, Koštanjica, Bobovište, Ckla, Tejani
ŠestanLivari, Gornja i Donja Briska, Gornji Murići, Donji Murići, Besa, Pinčići, Bapsulj, Šestan
Crmnica Virpazar, Orahovo, Bračeni, Mikovići, Zabes, Boljevići, Sotonići, Bukovik, Mačuge, Dupilo, Popratnica, Komarno, Trnovo, Gornji Brčeli, Donji Brčeli, Brijege, Ovtočići, Tomići, Utrg, Godinje, Seoča, Krnjice, Limljani, Gluhi Do


Ethnic composition of the town in 2011: [20]

Montenegrins 6,90151.11%
Serbs 4,48733.23%
Bosniaks 4103.04%
Ethnic Muslims 2732.02%
Albanians 1210.89%
Croats 1210.89%
Not declared7875.82%


St Jovan Vladimir church Church of St. Jovan Vladimir in Bar.JPG
St Jovan Vladimir church

The main religion in Bar is Orthodox Christianity. However, there are churches from both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic traditions as well as mosques built by Ottomans in the Islamic tradition. Bar is the birthplace of Saint Jovan Vladimir. In 1089, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bar, was founded and included most of Montenegro and Serbia.[ citation needed ]

Eastern Orthodox 10,49977.7%
Islam 1,43310.6%
Roman Catholic 7455.5%
Atheist 2501.85%
Agnostic 190.14%

Places of worship

Donji Brceli Monastery Donje Brcele Monastery.jpg
Donji Brčeli Monastery

Churches and monasteries dating to the era of the Balšić family (14th and 15th centuries) are located on the islands of Lake Skadar including Beška, Moračnik and Starčevo. This area is called the Holy Land of Montenegro.[ citation needed ]


The economy of Bar relies upon the Port of Bar, the Belgrade–Bar railway and the Sozina tunnel. The Port of Bar is the most recognizable feature of the city. It occupies 3,100 m (10,170.60  ft ) of seacoast, land area of 800 ha and aquatorium of 200ha. It is capable of reloading 5 million tons of goods annually. In 1976, the Belgrade – Bar railway was opened. It made the Adriatic coast accessible to tourists, and transport to the Port of Bar. The food company, Primorka has been operating in Bar for more than 50 years. It produces olive oil and pomegranate juice. There are 95,000 olive trees, about 80,000 citrus trees (lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit) in the municipal area. The centre for subtropical cultures, founded in 1937, is the oldest scientific institution in Montenegro. Tourism is also a major part of Bar's economy.[ citation needed ]


Bar has a ferry line to Bari, Italy which is operated by Montenegro Lines. [21] In season, ferries also go to Ancona, Italy. Bar is well connected with inland Montenegro, as well as with the rest of the Montenegrin coast. The Sozina tunnel, completed in 2006, shortened the road connection with Podgorica to around 50 km (31 mi). Bar is connected to other coastal towns by the Adriatic motorway, which extends from Ulcinj to Herceg Novi, and on to Croatia. Bar is also the final station of the Belgrade–Bar railway, which connects Bar with Podgorica, northern Montenegro and Serbia. Podgorica Airport is about 40 km (25 mi) from Bar. There are regular flights to Belgrade, Budapest, Zürich, Frankfurt, Ljubljana, London, Paris, Rome and Vienna.[ citation needed ]


Although there are some stony beaches in Bar itself, many tourists choose destinations in other small towns in the Bar municipality, including Sutomore, with its long sandy beach. The natural area around Bar is mostly untouched and is rich in vegetation. The Bar municipality stretches to the southern shore of Skadar lake and encompasses Krajina region. This area is visited for its leisure activities and hiking.[ citation needed ] Smaller settlements near Bar, such as Dobra Voda, Sutomore and Čanj, are a destination for sunbathing, as they incorporate long sandy beaches.[ citation needed ]

Places of interest

Stari Bar (the Old Town of Bar) The wall of Stari Bar.jpg
Stari Bar (the Old Town of Bar)
A fragment of the town walls of Stari Bar Stari bar town walls.jpg
A fragment of the town walls of Stari Bar
King Nikola's Palace King Nikola's Palace.jpg
King Nikola's Palace
  • The Old Olive of Mirovica is said to be one of the oldest olive trees in Europe and one of the oldest trees in the world. [ citation needed ] In 1957, it was placed under state protection. Numerous legends and traditions are associated with the tree. For instance, families that had a dispute would come to the tree to make peace. This explains its name, Mirovica, mir meaning peace.
  • King Nikola's palace was built in 1885. It was a present from King Nikola to his daughter Princess Zorka and his son-in-law, Prince Petar Karađorđević. The construction included a large palace, a little palace, a chapel, guardhouses and a winter garden. In 1910, a spacious ballroom was added. A botanic garden has Mediterranean vegetation including a cork tree. There is also a large flower garden in a stainless steel structure of interesting shape. it was a gift from King Emmanuel of Italy to King Nikola. It is now a restaurant called Knjaževa bašta (The Duke’s Garden). At the front of the palace, there was a wooden pier. Between 1866 and 1916, King Nikola owned ten yachts. One of them, Sibil, was bought from Jules Verne, the novelist. The last yacht bought was the Rumija. In 1915, it was sunk in the Bar harbour by the Austro-Hungarian navy. The palace complex houses the Bar city museum. It is also used as a venue for festivals, concerts, exhibitions and literary events.
  • Mount Rumija Fortress
  • Nehaj Fortress, partially preserved, is located near the small seaside town of Sutomore. It has been held by both Venetians and Ottoman Turks. It was first recorded as the 16th century Fortezza dei Spizi, a Venetian fortified town.
  • Bar old town.
  • The Bar Aqueduct was constructed during the 16th and 17th centuries.


The Bar municipality has over 44 kilometres (27 miles) of sea coast. There are twenty beaches stretching over 9 kilometres (6 miles). In the north is Čanj, which has a 1,100-metre (3,600-foot) sandy beach. A boat takes tourists from Čanj to the Kraljičina Plaža. It lies below a natural wall of sedimentary rock. Further south is 300-metre-long (980-foot) Maljevik Beach. The beach at Sutomore, 1,200 metres (3,900 feet) long, has entertainments, activities and restaurants. Near the medieval monastery complex of Ratac is Crvena Plaža, named after the colour of its fine sand. The beach is surrounded by a pine forest and located about a hundred m from the main road to Bar. Just north of the Bar central business district is the 1,200-metre-long (3,900-foot) Žukotrlica Beach. It is a gravel beach, surrounded by a pine forest and varied Mediterranean vegetation. The Bar Gradska Plaža is located in front of King Nikola's palace. It is 750 metres (2,460 feet) long, part pebble and part sand. 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of central Bar is the 380-metre-long (1,250-foot) Veliki Pijesak. It is surrounded by tourist facilities, restaurants and discothèques. On the border of the Bar and Ulcinj municipalities, in the village of Bušat, is the Val Maslina with its nearby olive groves. There are also beaches on the shore of Lake Skadar including the sandy Murići village beach and Pješačac.[ citation needed ]



Indoor Topolica Sport Hall Sportska dvorana Topolica.jpg
Indoor Topolica Sport Hall

Bar has over fifty sports clubs, and associations including a chess club. The town's major football club is FK Mornar who share the Stadion Topolica with lower league sides FK Hajduk Bar and Stari Bar team FK Sloga Bar. Bar once had two teams in the top tier, with OFK Bar featuring in the 2010–11 season alongside FK Mornar. KK Mornar Bar is the local basketball club.[ citation needed ]

There are numerous sports facilities in the Bar hotels and schools. In the centre of town, most of the facilities are in the Sports and Recreation Centre. Water sports such as diving are common.[ citation needed ] Sports tourism is promoted because of the proximity to the sea and lake. Bar hosted the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship and the 2010 Men's u18 European Handball Championship.

Festivals and events

Notable people

International relations

Twin towns — sister cities

Bar is twinned with: [22]

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