Montenegro is a country in south-east Europe, on the Adriatic coast. This small country of rather curious and wild scenery, where the high and rocky mountains plunge directly to the sea,ranks among the most beautiful regions of not only Europe, but the whole world. The 19th century travellers visiting Montenegro were amazed how tall and of good posture the Montenegrins were. Renowned for its warrior and heroic tradition, today Montenegro tries to build up a more moderate image of an exotic tourist destination. Having most of its history as part of Serbia, whereas the Montenegrins are actually a Montenegrin branch of the Serbs, in 2006, by 55% of the referendum voters, it became an independent state, even declaring their own separate language – Montenegrin.
The capital of Montenegro is Podgorica. The major cities are Nikšić and Pljevlja.
The area of Montenegro used to be a part of a Roman province of Praevalitana. By its town of Doclea (present Podgorica), the whole region was called Dioclea (commonly known by its Albanised name Duklja). After the Serbs migrated to the region, it became a principality under the Byzantine rule. The name Zeta started to be in use from the 11th century. The best known ruler of that period was King Jovan Vladimir, one of the Serbian saints. In the period of the Nemanjićs, Zeta was part of the Nemanjić Serbia, and in 1296 the name Montenegro is used. When the Dušan’s empire in Zeta fell, the Balšić family and later the Crnojević one ruled in Montenegro. In 1499 it fell under the Ottoman rule and was annexed to the Skadar sançak or district, but to its rather inaccessible terrain it preserved some sort of autonomy. From the 16thcentury, the Montenegrin bishops hold both the secular and spiritual reign in Montenegro. Such a form of reign is called theocracy. The theocracy lasted until the mid- 19th century when Prince Danilo Petrović takes over the secular rule. In 1910, Prince Nikola Petrović was crowned as king. In 1918 Montenegro became a part of the SHS Kingdom, later on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After the WWII it became one of the six SFRY republics and since 2006 it is an independent Republic of Montenegro.