The cultural background of Montenegro has been formed under the influences of both eastern and western civilizations, from prehistoric times to present days. On this relatively small area, one can trace influences of the Mediterranean, middle European, East European and Oriental civilizations and cultures. Such a historical process has affected the formation of cultural image of Montenegro, which is primarily characterized by multiculturalism in the broadest sense. Today's cultural heritage of Montenegro offers an abundance of archaeological, written and artistic objects of great value by means of which one can discover the cultural history of these parts. Diverse architecture of cultural and historical monuments, as well as the richness of the museum, archives and library holdings provide material evidence of the specific cultural milieu of Montenegro.

  1. Immovable tangible heritage
  2. Movable tangible heritage
  3. Intangible heritage

Immovable tangible heritage

The concept and idea of immovable cultural heritage has developed over time and today cultural properties include not only separate buildings, i.e. monuments but also urban and rural ensembles and areas, as well as cultural landscapes that manifest the interaction between humankind and nature, connected with intangible heritage. In Montenegro, the official term for cultural properties is cultural monuments.  

Immovable cultural monuments are designated by the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro and listed in the Registry of Cultural Monuments. The Central registry of protected cultural monuments lists 357 cultural properties, archaeological, historical, artistic, building, ethnological and technical monuments of culture *(a complete list is enclosed). According to the degree of their importance, cultural monuments are divided into three categories:

  • 1st category – monuments of outstanding importance
  • 2nd category – monuments of great importance
  • 3rd category – monuments of local importance  

A list of protected cultural monuments in Montenegro according to types and categories

Type of monument 1st cat. 2nd cat. 3rd cat. Totally
Urban ensembles   6 1 1 8
Old towns 3 2 - 5
Sacral monuments  18 79 110 207
Secular monuments 4 23 31 58
Fortification monuments - 10 15 25
Archaeological monuments  3 10 14 27
Ethnological monuments - 1 4 5
Technical monuments - 4 11 15
Commemo-rative monuments 1 2 4 7
Totally 35 132 190 357

In the Registry of cultural monuments, the most numerous group of cultural properties is that of sacral monuments, while, on the other hand, only one protected rural ensemble has been listed, as well as very rare examples of vernacular architecture, industrial architecture or the 20th-century architecture, and the concept of cultural landscape has not been recognized yet. Cultural landscapes and ambient ensembles have neither been identified nor protected, although undoubtedly they represent one of the most valuable segments of space of Montenegro.   

Apart for the protected cultural monuments listed in the Registry of cultural monuments, important parts of immovable heritage of Montenegro are also numerous cultural properties, sacral, secular, rural, industrial buildings, as well as urban and rural areas and cultural landscapes that have not been listed in the Registry of cultural monuments although they posses heritage values (historical, architectural, ambient…)

Movable heritage

Identification of heritage properties of movable objects is done by museums, archives, libraries, galleries, collections and similar institutions. Movable cultural monuments are kept in specialized institutions. Movable cultural monuments, administered by museums, archives, libraries, galleries, collections and similar institutions, are listed in the Central registry of cultural monuments as separate objects or collections.  

The Central registry of cultural monuments contains 425 register units (although its re-registration has not been done in accordance with the current legal regulations).      

In 22 museums in Montenegro, there are totally 145 collections and 92513 objects. The museums keep evidence of museum material owned by citizens or juristic persons. Museum materials, objects and collections of exceptional importance are regarded as movable cultural monuments and they are inscribed in the Central registry of movable cultural monuments.    

Among the library holdings, there are materials of exceptional value, which are, being old and rear books, treated as cultural monuments.

The National library, i.e. Central National Library “Djurdje Crnojevic” functions as a depository and main library for all other lower-tier libraries (town, i.e. public, university and CANU - Montenegrin Academy of Science and Arts libraries).    

Library activity of the Central National Library “Djurdje Crnojevic” consists of collecting, keeping, processing and using books, brochures, periodical, newspapers, documents, works of music, reproductions of paintings, drawings, posters, geographic maps and other material. The greatest treasure of the library is its book holdings consisting of 1 450 000 volumes.     

Protection of filmed material, as an integral part of cultural heritage, through institutional organization is performed by the Montenegrin Film Library. The Montenegrin Film Library keeps a part of the oldest recordings about Montenegro (majority of them, whose copies need to be obtained, are kept in film libraries of various European cities), as well as holdings of the Montenegrin film industry.     

Archival material consists of original and reproduced documentary material (in traditional, audio-visual and electronic form) which resulted from the work of juristic and physical persons and represent property of cultural and historical heritage. Archival material is kept in archives, primarily the National Archives of Montenegro, but also in other institutions, churches and in private ownership. The National Archives possesses 80 % of archival material in the state ownership, which consists of 1.228 stocks (9.006 meters), 111 personal and family stocks (42 meters), 142 collections (210 meters), as well as library material consisting of 36.062 bibliographic volumes.       

Intangible heritage

Together with valuable built heritage and rich museum, archival and library holdings, which are material evidence of the specific cultural milieu, cultural heritage of Montenegro consists also of intangible heritage encompassing local customs, oral tradition, languages, music, holidays, rituals, cookery and skills related to material aspects of culture and cultural heritage.

The topic of intangible cultural heritage has been present to a greater extent in the field of heritage protection over the last years and although intangible heritage has been recognized in Montenegro, it has not been defined legally (by law) yet.



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The South East European (SEE) Heritage network Secretariat
P.O. Box 85
85330 Kotor - Montenegro
phone: + 382 (0)32 302520
mobile:+ 381 (0)64 1989577
fax:     + 382 (0)32 302521

The material displayed on the separate country pages has been prepared by:
Albanian Heritage Foundation
Bosnia and Herzegovina: CHwB Regional Office in Sarajevo
Kosovo: EC MA Ndryshe
Montenegro: EXPEDITIO and Notar
Serbia: Civic Association SUBURBIUM

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SEE Heritage network gathers all those willing to contribute to protecting and promoting the South East European heritage as part of our common European and world's heritage. Read more about the network  >>>


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South East Europe (SEE) – a region where people cooperate, understand and respect each other on the basis of their cultural differences, believing that cultural, ethnic and religious diversity is a valuable resource.


South East European Heritage is a network of non-governmental organizations established in 2006. The mission of the SEE Heritage network is to work toward protecting and promoting our common cultural heritage with the aim of encouraging the sustainable development of the region.

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