The former kingdom of Montenegro, nearly 400 years under Ottoman rule but with a high degree of autonomy, then became part of Yugoslavia — and regained full independence only as of 2006. With longtime concern over governmental corruption, 2017 saw an unsuccessful coup attempt.
Montenegro has long been at the crossroads of religion. Conquered early by Slavs, yet later by Ottomans, and ultimately involved in the religious tensions of the Bosnian War in the 1990s, the country remains primarily (72%) Eastern Orthodox – also a cultural influence. Its strongest tradition, however, is to religious pluralism and tolerance.
One of the newest (2013) landmarks in Podgorica, capital of Montenegro, is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. This modernist edifice, most often described as ‘eccentric’, was consecrated on the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan – an early doctrine of religious tolerance, a hallmark of Montenegro’s culture.
Montenegro has a relatively pristine – and constitutionally protected — environment, its people closely aligned with nature. A poor country despite the presence of lead, zinc, and coal – the mining of which does present environmental concerns, its people of this ‘ecological state’ are nevertheless dedicated to its continued preservation, including the introduction of green technologies.
Montenegro is often thought of as having an old-world charm and gracious culture. A strong code of conduct is based in an ideal of ‘humanity and courage’ and an early code of chivalry which is viewed as one of integrity, dignity, and self-sacrifice.
There is also a ‘new culture’ to be found in Montenegro, in its modern art and relatively sophisticated capital city of Podgorico. While gentility still rules the day, the long-held value of diversity and engagement with the European community has allowed for a modern culture to develop.