Male and female traditional Montenegrin costumes.

Montenegrin culture is quite rich and diverse as throughout the history it was impacted by other big cultures, as its’ history and geographical placement on the world map would suggest. Local art and culture was heavily influenced by the culture of Venice, the Byzantine, the Ottoman Empire, Ancient Rome and Austria-Hungary. Also, a central motive in many national works of art and literature is struggle for freedom and independence, portrayed by national heroes and battles.

Apart from that, there is another cultural aspect serving as one of the anchors of the Montenegrin culture: the system of moral principles and values known as the “Čojstvo i Junaštvo” (cnr.), which can be translated to English language approximately as “Compassion and Bravery”. Due to long history of warfare and struggle for independence, an unwritten code of principles has emerged over time: being quite similar to the rules of medieval chivalry, it is a set of values describing how to deserve respect of people and become a national hero.

Architecture

Montenegrin culture is quite rich and diverse as throughout the history it was impacted by other big cultures, which has seriously impacted its’ art and literature as well. The modern territory of Montenegro contains quite many historical places worth sightseeing if you are in the country, however, style heavily depends on the region. Some of the most famous tourist destinations include sites from different historical periods. For example, the southern region is offers many religious monuments, such as: the basilica of St. Luke, the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, the Savina Monastery and many others.

Books and literature

The oldest books and manuscripts written on the modern territory of the Montenegro date back to 10th – 11th centuries, but the first Montenegrin book had been printed somewhere in the middle of the 16th century. Big number of medieval scrolls, books and manuscripts, written somewhere in the 13th century, are well-preserved in the monastery libraries by the Christian monks.

Cuisine

In the same way Montenegrin culture differs between regions (mostly North and South) – local cuisine differs as well. The Southern area along the coast is mostly presented by the classic Mediterranean kitchen, using a lot of seafood and spices roughly in any dish.

As any other part of the Montenegrin culture, local cuisine was also impacted by other cultures as well. Big imprint on local cuisine had been left by Italians and Venetians, especially in the coastal regions. Modern Montenegrin cuisine shows many similarities with the Italian kitchen, it can be especially seen in the way locals make bread, meat drying and curing techniques, local cheese making traditions, soups and stews, etc.

Another big inspiration for Montenegrin cuisine was taken from the cultures of Levant and Turkey. This explains why such dishes as:

  • Baklava;
  • Sarma;
  • Burek;
  • Musaka;
  • Pilav;
  • Pita;
  • Kebab.

Epic songs

Montenegrin guslar in national costume.

As the people of Montenegro had been fighting for freedom and independence throughout history, it had led to a formation of strong traditions, epic songs and dramatic poetry. Traditionally, national musical instrument is considered a gusle – a single-stringed instrument. Usually all epic poems are accompanied by a gusle music, played by the bard or story-teller, commonly known as the “guslar”. Usually guslar sings or recite stories about national heroes and epic historical events in a poetic verse, while playing the gusle.

One of the most well-known recorded Montenegrin bards-guslars in history is Petar Perunovic Perun. Being a descendant of Pjesivci tribe, Petar was famous Montenegrin Serb, who was accompanying Serbian army during the war back in 1914 – 1918 and boosted their morale by his patriotic gusle performances.