Montenegro’s geographical situation has turned it into a melting pot of cultures and religions – Serbian, Orthodox and Slavic – as well as others that spread to this land from Central Europe or the Adriatic coast; cultures that have lived side by side for centuries.

This fascinating cultural mix is clearly visible in the monuments scattered throughout the country. Examples include the magnificent city of Kotor, whose beauty earned its inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The coastline is dotted with countless monuments of Catholic origin, whilst on heading inland, visitors will find Byzantium monuments.

One of the monuments included in this vast cultural wealth is the Monastery of Ostrog. The first question that will spring to mind on visiting this monastery will probably be “How could man be capable of creating this?” The reason is that this sanctuary, nestling in the Valley of Bjelopavlic, was hewn and carved out of a solid rock face. It is believed to have been built in the 17th century by Saint Basil. There are two churches, one at the top and another at the bottom. The church on the upper level, dedicated to the Holy Cross, is more beautiful in style and form and is in a better state of conservation, whilst the one on the lower level is dedicated to the Vavedenje of the Virgin Mary. This monastery holds a tremendous importance for Christians all over the world, and is one of Montenegro’s most popular attractions.

Another spectacular example of architecture and art created in defiance of the whims of Mother Nature is Mount Lovćen Mausoleum.   This monument carries a tremendous emotional charge for Montenegrins everywhere and is a State symbol. The area has been declared a national park and mausoleum. The mausoleum, housing the remains of Petar II Petrovic Njegos, Montenegro’s most important poet and philosopher, is perched on the top of a mountain.

The country’s traditional dance is the oro, in which several male dancers form a circle by holding on to their partners’ shoulders whilst one or two others dance alone in the centre of the circle to the rhythm of beating drums. Montenegro’s literary tradition dates back more than ten centuries and the first state printing press was set up in Cetinje in 1494. It was here that the first Southern Slavic book was printed: the Oktoih or Book of Psalms. There are also a number of 13th century manuscripts jealously guarded in monasteries.

The Budva Festival takes place in June, the biggest music festival in the southern Adriatic.

Most of Montenegro’s festivals and traditions are linked to religious celebrations, such as the Orthodox Christmas or Good Friday. However, in May the country celebrates the so-called ‘Lily Days’, a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages and which commemorates the life of Helen of Anjou. This popular festival draws large numbers of visitors.

So come to Montenegro and immerse yourself in its fascinating culture!

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resort’s hotel in Montenegro offers visitors the chance to explore this country’s fascinating history, culture and traditions. The prime location of the IBEROSTAR Bellevue, in Budva-Bečići, is an excellent opportunity to learn all about a country that is rich in charm and contrasts”.