its geographical position, Montenegro belongs to the central Mediterranean, that is Southern
Europe. Together with the Republic of Serbia, its northern neighbor, Montenegro
constitutes the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On the southeast, it borders with Albania.
On the south, it is separated from Italy by the Adriatic Sea, whereas its western
neighbors are the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
distance between the Montenegrin capital Podgorica and Rome is around 500 km by
air, from Paris and Berlin it is around 1,500 km, from Moscow almost 2,000 km, and 2,500
km from New York.
The name of Montenegro (Black Mountain) was probably
derived from the thick "black" forests, that in the mediaeval times had been
covering Mt. Lovcen and other alpine areas
of the "Old Montenegro". This name was first mentioned in 1276, after which it
has gradually replaced the former names for this geographic and administrative area - Duklja and Zeta. Italian sources also record the names of
Montagna Nera, Montenero, or Monte Negro - wherefrom Montenegro was incorporated into the
Geographic regions and contrasts
That the observation of the Italian botanist Baldaci about "the poetic and the
pathetic characteristics" of nature in Montenegro was not
a lyrical overstatement is supported by the fact that Montenegro is both a seaside and
continental, mountain country. There are four climatic types with a variety of
microclimatic changes and variations. Being in the middle between the subtropical and sub
polar regions, the air currents from Africa going north and the polar fronts moving
towards the South replace each other over Montenegro.
There are 40 lakes in Montenegro, and eighty percent of the territory
is comprised of forests, natural pasturelands and meadows. The 2,833 plant species and
subspecies that grow on the mere 0.14 % of the total surface area of Europe which belongs
to Montenegro, make almost a quarter of the European flora.
Montenegro is the country of natural rarities which is shown throughout
the four clearly differentiated geographic regions within its small area.
The Seaside presents a striking contrast to the other three regions, and makes the
Mediterranean "facade" of Montenegro.
of the Adriatic Sea is greatest between Montenegro and Southern Italy (around 200 km), and
that part of the Adriatic is at the same time the deepest (greatest depth is 1,330 m at
the point 120 km south-west of the Bay of Kotor).
The length of the coastline is 293.5 km, of which 52 km are beaches. The Montenegrin
seaside is a very narrow strip of land (2-10 km wide), separated from the inland by high
and steep limestone mountains of Rumija, Sutorman, Orjen, and Lovcen. The coast is very
indented with numerous bays and coves. The largest, and most impressive is the Bay of
Kotor, which is the world's southernmost fjord.
A special geomorphologic region in Montenegro is the picturesque limestone area, that
is in complete contrast to the Seaside, which it literally overhangs. Plants and animals are scarce here, and
patches of fertile land can be found in karst depressions - poljes - and
crater-like hollows - vrtaces.
Limestone easily drains, so even the heaviest annual rainfalls have
little effect here. An interesting fact is that it is in this area, in Krivosije above the
Bay of Kotor, that the annual rainfall is around an average of 480 mm/day, which makes it
the rainiest area in Europe. This creates a paradox: heavy rainfall, but almost none water
Situated in this region is Lovcen National Park.
Central Montenegrin depression
Lake Skadar, the fertile Zeta plain with
the Zeta River valley, and the Niksic field (polje), comprise the third
geomorphologic region of Montenegro. This is a lowland and the only plain area in
The average altitude of the Zeta plain is 40 m in its northern part,
whereas the Niksic plain, that in terms of space makes part of it, is 500 m higher.
The fertile lowlands along the river valleys are the ideal place for
human settlements, so that the Zeta plain, the Zeta River valley, and the Niksic field
record the highest concentration of population in Montenegro. The two largest cities in
the Republic - Podgorica and Niksic - are situated here.
In this area, there is the Lake Skadar National park.
The north of Montenegro is the area of high limestone mountains. From
the tablelands and plateaus of 1,700 m in altitude, rise vast mountain ranges and ridges
of over 2,000 m (Durmitor, Bjelasica, Komovi, Visitor). These mountain ranges are rich in
pasturelands, forests and numerous mountain lakes, of which there are 29 in Montenegro.
The rivers Piva, Tara, Moraca, Cehotina and their tributaries have cut deep narrow
steep-sided channels in the limestone - the canyons, whose beauty and size are unique. In
its size, the canyon of the Tara is the second largest in the world.
In this region there are two magnificent national parks - Biogradska
Gora and Durmitor.