Montenegro is one of the newest countries in the world, having split from Serbia as recently as 2006. The small Balkan state has an area of 5,333 square miles, with a population of little over 0.6 million. Hence, people across the globe barely notice its existence. If you are one of them, you should definitely check out the list of 10 interesting facts about Montenegro below to familiarize yourself with the country.
1. Montenegro means “Black Mountain”
Montenegro got its name from two Venetian words: “monte” and “negro,” meaning “mountain” and “black” respectively. Hence, it translates to “Black Mountain,” which alludes to Mount Lovćen in the country’s southwest, a fun Montenegro fact. This mountain, when covered in dense evergreen forests, appears to be black from a distance.
2. It is home to the world’s highest mausoleum
At Jezerski vrh, one of the two imposing peaks of Mount Lovćen, you’ll find a mausoleum interring the 19th century Montenegrin spiritual and political leader Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. Standing at a height of 5,436 feet, the Mausoleum of Njegoš is the highest mausoleum in the entire world.
The site used to be a chapel that Njegoš himself had designed. But after the chapel had suffered severe damages in the World Wars, Yugoslavian communist authorities made the controversial decision of demolishing it in the late 1960s. In its place, they built a secular mausoleum designed by Croatian sculptor and architect Ivan Meštrović, which was officially inaugurated in 1974.
3. This country has an olive tree aged over 2,000 years
An olive tree that goes by the name of Stara Maslina is believed to have lived for more than two millennia. It is positioned in the small town named Tomba, which is in the Bar region of Montenegro. This tree, whose one side is completely burnt, is one of the oldest of its species on Earth. An interesting fact about Montenegro is that the Bar region has at least 10,000 other olive trees that are older than a millennium. There probably isn’t another place in the world where you’ll find so many elderly olive trees.
4. It has no currency of its own
Montenegro is one of the countries that lack a currency of their own. The euro has been its de facto currency since 2002. The country isn’t a member of the Eurozone, or for that matter, the European Union. Hence, it isn’t allowed to mint, print or issue euro coins and notes. What’s quite surprising is the fact that the European Central Bank has never made a real objection about Montenegro’s unilateral use of the euro.
5. You’ll find 117 beaches in Montenegro
For any beach lover, Montenegro is a must-visit country. Although its total coastline on the Adriatic Sea amounts to merely 183 miles, the country has as many as 117 separate beaches. Whether you’re looking for a sandy beach, a pebbly one, or a small and intimate one, you are sure to find it here, a fun Montenegro fact. The longest of these beaches is the eight-mile-long Velika Plaža, while Bečići, Jaz, Drobni Pijesak and Mogren are some of the other prominent beaches.
6. The biggest and deepest river canyon in Europe is also in this country
In any conversation about European river canyons, the name of Tara River Canyon, which is in the Durmitor National Park of Montenegro, has to come up. With a depth of up to 4,300 feet, it is the deepest river canyon in the entire continent. Its length is 50 miles and its width ranges from 60 feet to 3,000 feet, making it Europe’s biggest canyon in terms of volume. By the way, the Tara River is known to be one of the cleanest rivers in the world.
7. The Montenegrins take pride in being lazy
The first word that people from the Balkans use to describe the Montenegrins is usually “lazy.” And surprisingly, this isn’t something that the Montenegrins would go on a rant about. Instead, they love poking fun at the stereotyping. Hence, a village in the country, named Brezna, has been organizing World Lazy Olympics every year since 2012. All that a participant needs to do to be crowned the winner is to lie down and not get up before everyone else has gotten up.
The Montenegrins also have their own set of Ten Commandments, glorifying their image as a work-shy nation. These include hilarious instructions like “Love thy bed as you love thyself,” and “Rest during the day, so you can sleep at night.”
8. Europe’s wettest place is located in Montenegro
The village of Crkvice in southwestern Montenegro is the wettest inhabited place in the continent of Europe. It receives 180-plus inches of rainfall each year. Every season, except summer, is practically a rainy season in this village. In summer, especially the month of August, it can become so dry that forest fires often break out. Among the European cities, the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica is the wettest one, receiving over 64 inches of annual rainfall, an interesting Montenegro fact.
9. The Montenegrin men are the third-tallest in the world
With an average height of 6 feet and 0.13 inch, the Montenegrin men are taller than men from most other countries. In fact, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Netherlands are the only two countries whose male populations have a greater average height than the ones in Montenegro. Men in Bosnia and Herzegovina have an average height of 6 feet and 0.4 inch, while that of the Dutch men is 6 feet and 0.36 inch.
10. Brad Pitt’s first movie was filmed in this country, but Casino Royale wasn’t
Brad Pitt is a household name today, but in the late 1980s, hardly anyone knew him. After making four uncredited movie appearances in 1987, he landed his first leading role in the following year’s The Dark Side of the Sun. Interestingly, the movie was filmed in a Montenegrin coastal town named Kotor.
You might think that Casino Royale too was filmed in Montenegro, since a number of events in its plot take place in the country. But that, unfortunately, isn’t true. Scenes depicting the country in the 2006 James Bond flick were actually shot in Czech Republic and Italy.
I hope that this article on Montenegro facts was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!