Montenegro (Crna Gora, Црна Гора, meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Albania to the southeast, and Kosovo to the east. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica (Пријестоница), meaning the former Royal Capital City.
In the 10th century, there existed three Slavic principalities on the territory of Montenegro: Duklja, roughly corresponding to the southern half, Travunia, the west, and Rascia, the north. In 1042, archon Stefan Vojislav led a revolt that resulted in independence of Duklja and the establishment of the Vojislavljevic dynasty. Duklja reached its zenith under Vojislav's son, Mihailo (1046-81), and his son Bodin (1081-1101). By the 13th century, Zeta had replaced Duklja when referring to the realm, which at the time was part of the Serbian Grand Principality of the Nemanjic dynasty.
With the fall of the Serbian Empire in the late 14th century, southern Montenegro (Zeta) came under the rule of the Balšić noble family, then the Crnojevic noble family, and by the 15th century, Zeta was more often referred to as Crna Gora (Venetian: monte negro). As the Crnojevic dynasty disintegrated, Montenegro was ruled by its Bishops until 1696, and then by the House of Petrovic-Njegoš until 1918. From 1918, it was a part of Yugoslavia. On the basis of a referendum held on 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence on 3 June of that year.
Montenegro is classified by the World Bank as a middle-income country. Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is currently an official candidate for membership in the European Union and official candidate for membership in NATO.
Southeastern Europe, between the Adriatic Sea and Serbia
total: 13,812 sq km
land: 13,452 sq km
water: 360 sq km
total: 625 km
border countries: Albania 172 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 225 km, Croatia 25 km, Kosovo 79 km, Serbia 124 km
Coastline: 293.5 km
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: defined by treaty
highly indented coastline with narrow coastal plain backed by rugged high limestone mountains and plateaus
lowest point: Adriatic Sea 0 m
highest point: Bobotov Kuk 2,522 m
arable land: 13.7%
permanent crops: 1%
Irrigated land: 22 sq km (2008)
Mediterranean climate, hot dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfalls inland
other (Muslims, Croats, Gypsy) 12%
unspecified (includes Croatian) 3.7%
0-14 years: 15.5%
15-64 years: 71%
65 years and over: 13.5%
The economy of Montenegro is mostly service-based and is in late transition to a market economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the nominal GDP of Montenegro was $4.114 billion in 2009. The GDP PPP for 2009 was $6.590 billion, or $10,527 per capita.
GDP grew at an impressive 10.7% in 2007 and 7.5% in 2008. The country entered a recession in 2008 as a part of the global recession, with GDP contracting by 4%. However, Montenegro remained a target for foreign investment, the only country in the Balkans to increase its amount of direct foreign investment. The country is expected to exit the recession in mid-2010, with GDP growth predicted at around 0.5%. However, the significant dependence of the Montenegrin economy on foreign direct investment leaves it susceptible to external shocks and a high export/import trade deficit.
In 2007, the service sector made up for 72.4% of GDP, with industry and agriculture making up the rest at 17.6% and 10%, respectively.
According to Eurostat data, the Montenegrin GDP per capita stood at 41% of the EU average in 2010.
Aluminum and steel production and agricultural processing make up for most of the industrial output.
Tourism is an important contributor to Montenegrin economy. Approximately one million tourists visited Montenegro in 2007, resulting in €480 million of tourism revenue. Tourism is considered the backbone of future economic growth, and government expenditures on infrastructure improvements are largely target towards that goal.
The Montenegrin road infrastructure is not yet at Western European standards. Despite an extensive road network, no roads are built to full motorway standards. Construction of new motorways is considered a national priority, as they are important for uniform regional economic development and the development of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.
Current European routes that pass through Montenegro are E65 and E80.
The backbone of the Montenegrin rail network is the Belgrade - Bar railway. This railway intersects with Nikšić - Tirana (Albania) at Podgorica; however, it is not used for passenger service.
Montenegro has two international airports, Podgorica Airport and Tivat Airport. The two airports served 1.1 million passengers in 2008. Montenegro Airlines is the flag carrier of Montenegro.
The Port of Bar is Montenegro's main seaport. Initially built in 1906, the port was almost completely destroyed during World War II, with reconstruction beginning in 1950. Today, it is equipped to handle over 5 million tons of cargo annually, though the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the size of the Montenegrin industrial sector has resulted in the port operating at a loss and well below capacity for several years. The reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railway and the proposed Belgrade-Bar motorway are expected to bring the port back up to capacity.
Montenegro has both a picturesque coast and a mountainous northern region. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. Yet, the Yugoslav wars that were fought in neighbouring countries during the 1990s crippled the tourist industry and destroyed the image of Montenegro as a tourist destination.
The Montenegrin Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long, with 72 km (45 mi) of beaches, and with many well-preserved ancient old towns. National Geographic Traveler (edited once in decade) features Montenegro among the "50 Places of a Lifetime", and Montenegrin seaside Sveti Stefan was used as the cover for the magazine. The coast region of Montenegro is considered one of the great new "discoveries" among world tourists. In January 2010, The New York Times ranked the Ulcinj South Coast region of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, as among the "Top 31 Places to Go in 2010" as part of a worldwide ranking of tourism destinations. Montenegro was also listed in "10 Top Hot Spots of 2009" to visit by Yahoo Travel, describing it as "Currently ranked as the second fastest growing tourism market in the world (falling just behind China)". It is listed every year by prestigious tourism guides like Lonely Planet as top touristic destination along with Greece, Spain and other world touristic places.
It was not until the 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of visits and overnight stays. The Government of Montenegro has set the development of Montenegro as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major contributor to the Montenegrin economy. A number of steps were taken to attract foreign investors. Some large projects are already under way, such as Porto Montenegro, while other locations, like Jaz Beach, Buljarica, Velika Plaža and Ada Bojana, have perhaps the greatest potential to attract future investments and become premium tourist spots on the Adriatic.
Montenegro at CIA The World Factbook
Montenegro at Wikipedia