Podgorica, meaning “under the hill”, is the capital and largest city of Montenegro
In contemporary history (from 1946 to 1992) during the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the city was known as Titograd
Podgorica is located at the crossroads of several historically important routes, near the Morača, Cijevna, Ribnica and Sitnica rivers, in the Skadar Lake valley. The city is nestled in fertile lowlands near the Adriatic Sea and has a favourable climate. The earliest known human settlements were pre-historic, with remains having been found dating from the late Stone Age. During the Illyrian period, the area between the Zeta and Bjelopavlići valleys was occupied by two Illyrian tribes, the Labeates and the Docleats.
The first mention of the name Podgorica was found in a court document of the Kotor archives dated 1326. The city was prosperous. Well-developed trade routes between Dubrovnik and the State of Nemanjici passed through Podgorica, by way of Trebinje and Nikšić.
The Ottoman capture of Podgorica in 1474 interrupted its economic, cultural and artistic development. Podgorica became a kaza (district) of the Sanjak of Scutari in 1479.
In 1878 the Berlin Congress annexed Podgorica to Montenegro, marking the end of four centuries of Ottoman rule, and the beginning of a new era in the development of Podgorica and Montenegro.
Podgorica suffered heavily during World War II. The city was bombed over 70 times throughout the course of the war and razed to the ground, causing the deaths of over 4,100 people. The city was liberated on December 19, 1944. Under the name of Titograd, the city became the capital of the Socialist Republic of Montenegro on July 13, 1946. A period of unprecedented expansion followed – the era of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The population increased dramatically and the city was heavily industrialised. Infrastructure improved, and health, educational, and cultural institutions were founded. The city rapidly became the commercial, socio-economic, and cultural centre of the country.
Podgorica is home to many Montenegrin cultural institutions and hosts many cultural events. The Montenegrin National Theatre and a number of museums and galleries are located in the city. The Montenegrin National Theatre is the most important theatre not only in Podgorica but in all of Montenegro. Podgorica is also the home of the City Theatre (Gradsko pozorište), which includes the Children’s Theatre and the Puppet Theatre. Although not as rich in museums and galleries as the historic royal capital, Cetinje, there are several noteworthy museums:
There is a notable art gallery in the Dvorac Petrovića (Petrović Castle) complex in Podgorica’s largest public park. King Nicholas’s castle, Perjanički Dom (House of the Honour Guard), its chapel and surrounding buildings were converted into an art gallery in 1984. Since 1995, the gallery has been part of the Modern Arts Centre (Centar savremenih umjetnosti) and now houses approximately 1,500 works of art. The historic Cinema of Culture (Kino Kultura), which was founded in 1949, was closed in November 2008 due to continuous financial losses. It was the only cinema in the city for 6 decades. The building of the former cinema will be converted to host the Podgorica City Theatre. Shortly after its closure, a Ster-Kinekor (later acquired by Cineplexx) 6-screen multiplex cinema opened at Delta City shopping mall.
A significant cultural institution of over fifty years is the Budo Tomović Cultural-Information Centre (KIC Budo Tomović). The Centre is a public institution which organizes various artistic events, including the Podgorica Cultural Summer (Podgoričko Kulturno Ljeto), the International Alternative Theatre Festival (Festival Internacionalnog Alternativnog Teatra – FIAT) and December Arts Scene (Decembarska Umjetnička Scena – DEUS). The KIC Budo Tomović Center has hosted such names as Tony Parsons and the Brooklyn Funk Essentials.
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