The nation of Montenegro is one of the smallest on the Balkan Peninsula, covering just over 5,000 square miles. It derives its name from the Montenegrin word meaning Black Mountain, referring to the fact that the mountainous areas of this country are thick with the classic ‘black forest’ style peaks famous in many parts of Europe.  The capital city of Podgorica is its largest city, as well, home to most of the 600,000 citizens of the country. Most people here speak the official Montenegrin language, but dialects ranging from Serbian to Croatian are generally understood by many, as well. Montenegro shares borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Albania to the southeast, Croatia to the west and Kosovo to the east. Along part of its southwest border lies the Adriatic Sea. 

While Montenegro’s name is a Slavic term first used to describe the region during the 1200’s AD, it held populations far earlier, according to some historians even as far back as the Neolithic period. In 9 AD the Romans arrived and after that time, a huge number of different civilizations would show up and rule for periods of time. Cultures from the Middle Eastern regions of the world, Europe and the Mediterranean all played a large role in shaping the populations here, but more than any other part of this region, Montenegro has ended up with the most diverse population. While ethnic Montenegrins are the greatest percentage of the population, there are many Serbs, Bosniaks, Ethnic Muslims, Croats and Albanians, as well. This has blended to create a distinct culture that manages harmony and variety that is also reflected in its geography.

There are Mediterranean climates along the coast of the Adriatic Sea where it is warm and sunny most of the year. There are alpine regions which receive much snow in the winters, making them home to ski resorts and mountain climbing destinations. In the more central part of the nation there is a more continental climate and rivers which lend to greater agriculture. Over all, this is one of the most highly developed nations in all of the Balkans and a rising star in the tourism industry due to that fact. Massive levels of recent foreign investment have brought in large numbers of world renowned resorts and a rising ecotourism trade has brought about high levels of visitors with over a million people visiting this nation annually in recent years thanks to its transportation system and famed night life in the coastal regions.

Filed Under: The Balkans

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