History and culture of Montenegro

Montenegro is a relatively new country and only declared its regained independence in 2006. Even so, the region boasts a long history and a culture that has been in development for thousands of years.

Read on to find out which people have influenced the nation over the years, the origins of the country from what was formerly Yugoslavia, and where to visit to know more about Montenegrin history. We also cover some of Montenegro’s modern day traditions and cultural quirks.

Montenegro's journey to independence

There is evidence of human occupation in the Montenegrin region dating back over 2,500 years.

Across the centuries, a succession of invaders have ruled and influenced local culture, including Greeks, Celts, Slavs, Romans, Ottoman Turks and Venetians. The Venetians in particular ruled the region for nearly three centuries, contributing greatly to the beauty of Montenegro’s architecture.

Historical buildings and architecture

Traditional music and dance

You’re likely to see traditional music, dances and songs performed during your visit to Montenegro, as these are still very much alive within the culture. Even young Montenegrin’s sing traditional folk songs regularly and with pride. They also incorporate ancient instruments – such as the single stringed gusle – into modern compositions, which merge old with new.

You may also see a traditional dance called the Oro performed. This dance is both a game and a kind of social occasion, designed so that young men and women in the group can get to know each other. Ultimately, it’s a circle dance where one person starts by singing to another on the other side of the circle. A man enters the circle first and does a flamboyant dance, followed by a girl who dances gracefully. When they’re tired they kiss and leave the circle and another couple enters.