MONTENEGRO-Bar: Stari (Old) Bar Historic Site (dates to 800BC)

Getty Images

Stari Bar

Adriatic Coast

A small museum housed in a 17th-century customs building just inside Stari Bar's entrance explains the site and its history. From here, follow the green arrows around the major points of interest. In the western part of the town are the remains of the 13th-century St Nicholas’ Franciscan Monastery, offering glimpses of Byzantine-style frescoes; it was converted to a mosque in 1595.

The northern corner has an 11th-century fortress with much-photographed views showcasing Stari Bar’s isolated setting amid mountains and olive groves. Nearby are the foundations of St George's Cathedral. Originally a Romanesque church, it was converted into a mosque in the 17th century by the Turks, but the unlucky edifice was ruined after an accidental explosion of gunpowder.

If you’re wondering why St John’s Church is in such good nick, it’s because it’s been completely reconstructed by one of the families associated with the original church. One of the few other buildings to have an intact roof is St Verenada's Church, which contains a few photos from the greater Bar area. The 14th-century St Catherine's Church, in a tower above one of the lower gates, was being restored when we last visited.

Ottoman constructions include a solid and charming Turkish bathhouse from the 17th or 18th century, the clock tower (1752) and the 17th-century aqueduct that carried water from a spring 3km away; it was reconstructed after the 1979 earthquake.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Adriatic Coast attractions

1. St Nicholas’ Church

1.16 MILES

Bar first became the seat of a Catholic diocese in the 9th century and in 1089 it was elevated to an archdiocese, with the archbishop given the title …

2. Church of St Jovan Vladimir


This huge, modern, gold-topped cathedral can be seen from all across Bar. It's dedicated to Jovan Vladimir, the patron saint of Bar, who is considered to…

3. King Nikola’s Palace

2.29 MILES

Presenting an elegant facade to the water, King Nikola’s Palace was built in 1885 and now houses a collection of antiquities, folk costumes and royal…

4. City Beach

2.34 MILES

With a large industrial port and marina on its doorstep, Bar’s City Beach is not the most appealing option for swimming.

5. Šušanj Beach

2.58 MILES

Šušanj Beach is popular with Serbian holidaymakers. Beat the crowds in the succession of rocky coves that follow; they're perfect for snorkelling and…

6. Virpazar

10.75 MILES

This tiny town, gathered around a square and a river blanketed with water lilies, serves as the main gateway to Lake Skadar National Park. If you're…

7. Lamit Mosque

11.83 MILES

Lamit Mosque dates from 1689 but was substantially rebuilt after the 1979 earthquake. The ceiling has interesting green-painted geometric wood panelling.