The Eastern part of the European continent still shows deep wounds, that the strength and pride of their people try to mend every day.
That is the part which fights between tradition and innovation, in search of its own identity.
In all that I’ve seen of eastern Europe, Podgorica, capital of Montenegro, is the city where I noticed the most this struggle between old and new, fear of change as well as the fear of being stuck in the past.
What to see in Podgorica, this wonderful little city?
What to see in Podgorica
We walked through its streets in the middle of August. Empty streets, quiet areas of buildings under construction and abandoned meadows suddenly followed by symbols of rebirth as the Millennium Bridge.
A small capital, center of a small state. So small that you can visit it all in one day only, with no rush.
Podgorica was born near six rivers, two of which cross the city: the Morača and the Ribnica.
In them cold water flows, crystal-colored, where those who are forced to stay in town cool themselves down diving and swimming in the blue-green waters. And in August, the muggy weather and the heat are really pressing the Montenegrin capital (I will only say that in 5 hours we drank 1.7 gallons of water. Literally. Without exaggeration), so that water is really inviting, cold and clean as it is.
The Most Milenijum, (the Millennium Bridge), opened in 2005, next to the statue of a seemingly rocking Russian singer named Vladimir Visockij, carved in the rock bare-chested and with a skull under one of his foot.
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of the Resurrection (Saborni Hram Hristovog Vaskrsenja). Was only consecrated in October 2013 , so we did not have , unfortunately, the opportunity of peeking inside, but the outside is spectacular enough. The construction was started in 1993 by the architect Predrag Ristic, and was inaugurated in May 1994 in the presence of the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The senior architect had his own philosophy, for him religious buildings are elevations to the divine, so he tried to represent the same thing in his works.
In this Cathedral he did build the base of the building with rough stones, poorly processed , which gradually give way to more and more smooth, precise, finished, even decorated with elegant arabesques. The peculiarity of the Orthodox churches united to the creativity of this architect have given life to a truly original piece of work.
The Old Town (Stara varoš), the heart of the Ottoman city, with the remains of a Turkish Clock Tower , the old bridge over Ribnica , a mosque , and the ruins of the old fortifications . The most historic part of the city , the oldest symbol of an almost forgotten history.
Where to eat in Podgorica?
As already mentioned, in Montenegro , with a few exceptions , the cuisine is very similar to the Italian one. Practically the same (but not absolutely the same quality ). So, following the directions of our trusted Lonely Planet guidebook , we tried what was listed as the best restaurant in the capital: “La Lanterna”, with Italian cuisine, of course (and unfortunately, I add : I always prefer to try the true, characteristic food of the nation I’m visiting).
It did not disappoint us, however, fried pizza and coffee were by no means the worst tested abroad, on the contrary, the were eaten with pleasure.
Prices era a bit higher than normal for Montenegro, but still much lower than ours, and very nice ambient. It is about 1600 feet away from the station, so it is also easily reached.