At the entrance to the Bay of Boka Kotorska from where beginning the territorial waters of Montenegro, and whose natural border make Cape Ostra with the left side and the island-fortress Mamula and Lustica peninsula on the right side is located Riviera of Herceg Novi, which stretches in the length of 15 km.
Island – Fortress «Mamula» was built on a small island, circular shape with a diameter of about 200 meters, surrounded by lots of agaves and with low vegetation.
Mamula island is named after the Austrian general and governor of Dalmatia Lazar Mamula, which in the mid-nineteenth century is built a fortress Mamula.
On the nautical charts this small island is called also Lastavica and together with the fortress Arza, which is about 1 nautical miles away from the fortress Mamula and fortress Prevlaka, on Cape Ostra (Croatia) was used as shield undesirable entrance to the Bay.
Lustica peninsula is located at the right of the entrance of the Bay of Kotor.
It covers an area of 47 km2 and it is 13 km long. Its highest point is the hill Obosnik 582 m.
Lustica peninsula has an extraordinarily lavish, 35 km long coastline and there are some of the most attractive tourist sites and beaches are such as: Rose, Zanjice, Miriste, Arza and Dobrec. Lustica is famous for its olives, olive oil, prosciutto, cheese and the brandy.
Herceg Novi Riviera includes the settlements Njivice, Igalo, city of Herceg Novi, Meljine, Zelenika, Kumbor, Djenovici, Baosici, Bijela and Kamenari which are located on 15 kilometers from Herceg Novi on the beginning of the Verige strait.
Verige Strait is only 350 meters wide and it is the narrowest strait in the Boka Bay.
The name comes from unwilling event from 1624, when the pirates from North Africa sailed into the Bay and then ravaged the city of Perast. After that, the people of Perast and Kotor in order to ensure against sudden pirate incursions, in the narrowest part of the strait, have developed from one coast to the other shore an iron chain-Verige.
Today Kamenari are best known for the ferry «Catara». Ferry shortens way around the Bay. During the summer period it works non-stop, while in winter period till 22,00 h.
In Kamenari there are more religious monuments and the most important is the church of St. Nedelja from 1704 which was built on the hill above Kamenari.
With Kamenari ends famous Herceg Novi Riviera, which attracts with its attractiveness, regardless of whether in the Boka Kotorska Bay you come by boat or you drive by Adriatic highway.
On a very attractive position, between mountains and the entrance in one of the most beautiful bays in the world Boka – Bay, lies Herceg Novi, the youngest medieval town in the Adriatic.
Herceg Novi is administrative, economic and cultural center of the municipality that borders with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the sea with Italy.
Herceg Novi is one of the youngest cities on the Adriatic, founded in 1382, as a commercial town (salt and silk) although, according to greek sources from the 5th century BC, there was once a settlement of Illyrian tribes.
The Bosnian king Tvrtko I Kotromanic, in 1382 established a new town in the bay of Topla, as a competitor to Dubrovnik in the trade of salt. Salt was a very important comodity to coastal towns in those days.
He called the town that he was created Sveti Stefan, but as the youngest town it was also called Novi, Castrum Novum, Castel Nuovo. His intentions were to establish it as an important trading port.
The Turks occupied the town for 2 centuries, until 1687. Acording to the trevel writer Evliya Çelebi who visited Herceg Novi after 1664, the town had become a resting place, sanctuary and a safe haven for pirates, as well as a transit place for tradesmen trading with slaves.
Evliya Çelebi was an Ottoman explorer who travelled through the territory of the Ottoman Empire and neighboring lands over a period of forty years, recording his commentary in a travelogue called the Seyahatname («Book of Travel»). His real name was Mehmed Zilli born 25 March 1611 died 1682. The name Çelebi is an honorific title meaning gentleman.
The Turkish rule was temporary severed during 1538-1539, when the Spanish took over and extended the fortress above the town. After the Turks, the Venetians captured the town and ruled until the collapse of the Venetian Republic in 1797.
It followed a period of many changes of rulers: the Austrians until 1806, Russians until 1807 and the French until 1814. From1813-1814 there was a temporary parliament of Montenegro and Boka Kotorska, followed by 4 years of Austro-Hungarian from 1814-1819.
Boka Kotorska joined the newly created kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians in 1923, which became known as Yugoslavia later on. When Yugoslavia capitulated in 1941, Herceg Novi was occupied by the Italians and the Germans until the town was liberated on 28 October 1944.
Situated on the crossroad between East and West, exposed to many conquests and cultural influences, Herceg-Novi took something from everybody, added its own stamp and did everything possible to differ from all other coastal towns in Montenegro.
It was always a town with good communications, place where different civilisation met. The railroad linked Zelenika (port of Boka Kotorska) and Herceg Novi to Gruz (Dubrovnik) and Uskopolje between 1901 and 1968 with branches between Hum and Trebinje.
This line was part of the then, southern railway network of narrow gauge railroads which the Austro-Hungarian Empire began to build in the 19th century. These railways linked the Adriatic ports of Metkovic, Gruz (Dubrovnik), Zelenika (Boka Kotorska) and later Ploce, with cities and towns in the mountain terrain of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Herceg Novi is a city of fortresses and towers because its urban development was based on defensive function of fortresses: Forte Mare, Kanli Kula with meaning Bloody tower – the most beautiful summer stage on the Adriatic, Spanjola, at the coastline small fortress Citadela or Macel and fortress that was built on the Mamula island (3,5 nautical miles away from the city), with circular shape in accordance with the configuration of the island, which in both wars served as a prison.
In Turkish times the entrance door had wooden mobile bridge above the canal where the stream run into the sea. This is evidenced by old drawings and engravings.
That canal was buried in 19 century and in its place Nikola Djurkovic square was built.
In the place where now is the western entrance door to the town, a tower was built in 1850 with a clock in pseudo roman style. In Turkish times there was also a clock tower called Sahat Tower, from which the one today got the name.
During the Venetian time, it was called Tora, a name which many people still use today. Also from this era is the heraldic sign of Herceg-Novi.
The stairs which pass under the Clock Tower lead to the uper town square – Square of Herceg Stjepan, known as Belavista by the locals.
St. Arhangel Mihailo church dominates the upper side of the town square called Belavista, where various cultural activities take place during summer, one of them being the International Book exhibition.
Although from a newer date, the church fits perfectly in the ambient of the Old Town.
The north stairs lead from the square to Kanli Tower. Kanli Tower rises above the north side of town, on 85m above sea level.
Kanli Tower or Bloody Tower was built by the Turks on the ruins of another tower which the Turks captured in January 1482.
The castle, whose dimensions are 60×70 m has angled towers, was made from roughly cut, local stone and looks very imposing. Inside the castle there is well preserved water cistern. At some stage it lost its original purpose and had become a prison cell.
From the Kanli Tower’s lower door, through a narrow passage, one can enter the Western Tower, which dominates the main square. Unfortunately, one cannot reach the actual tower due to the inaccessible walls. The access to the Old Town was used by loaded caravans, pulled in those days by donkeys.
Two roads led from Belavista square to the lower square of Mica Pavlovica – popularly called the square of the music.
On this square is situated the church of St. Jerome with belfry. On the eastern side the road leads to the town’s southern castle – Forte Mare.
St. Jerome church was built on the location of a mosque, which existed during Turkish occupation. The church was built by the Venetian soldier Jeronim Korner, in memory of the liberation of the town from the Turks in 1687.
St. Leopold Mandic´s Church is situated beside St. Jerome´s Church, lower down, toward the sea. It was erected by the Venetians in 1688. They built a convent and alongside it a church dedicated to the Holy Virgin.
Later on the church was dedicated to St. Francis, and then, as of the year 1976, it was dedicated to St. Leopold Bogdan Mandic which is born in Herceg Novi and who was proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1983.
Forte Mare is situated on the sea shore in the area in front of the Eastern doors of the Old Town. This is a single example of construction continuity from Bosnian rulers of 17 century, up to Austrians interventions in the 19 and 20 century.
Forte Mare is definitely one of the most beautiful examples of architecture in fortification and the presumption is real that here was the nucleus of the Old Town. It is used to be called the Tower of Abas-Pasha castle in turkish time, but was renamed in Venetian time to Forte Mare, name and appearance it maintains today.
The fortress Spanjola was erected at the hill above Herceg Novi, and it was given that name by the local population because the Spanish, during their short reign (1538-1539), added some elements to it. The Turks carried on the work on thi monumental building, actually the best-preserved Turkish fortification object on the Adriatic, from 1539 – 1548.
Although Herceg Novi is the one of the youngest towns in Montenegro, due to its location and lush greenery, it attracts special attention. It lies on the slopes of mount Orjen (1895m), the tallest of the Dinaric massifs, while at the same time it faces one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the southernmost fjord in Europe and the deepest in the Mediterranean.
Park Savinska Dubrava extends in a direction east-west connecting Herceg Novi and Meljine.
On a limestone ridge that rises pyramidal , winding forest trails through oleanders , Pittosporum, pine, cypress, hornbeam, chestnut, oak leading to a beautiful belvedere, from which there are views of the Bay of Kotor and the environment.
In this environment, is located Orthodox Monastery of Savina a monument not only to religion, but also to beauty.
Located in the Savinska Dubrava Grove, this monastery features unique Mediterranean vegetation and provides a breathtaking view of the Bay. The monastery complex includes three churches – two large churches dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin from the 11th century and the 18th century, as well as the Church of St. Sava – Serbian saint, located uphill from the main monastery.
Due to its southern exposure, sea front position and, at the foot of a mountain location, Herceg Novi has been blessed with an unusual micro climate.
It has on average more than 200 sunny days a year and 10.7 sunny hours per day in July and August. The sea temperature in summer is about 24 ° C and allows bathing season lasting more than five months.
The town is crisscrossed with numerous steps and stairways and is carefully planned with lush greenery to provide shade making it a haven for both locals and tourists.
They call it the «Green city», the «Sun city» and the «City of Artists» with very good reason. Unlike other Mediterranean cities, which live only in summer, Herceg Novi lives all year round and there is always something going on.
That’s why it has another name – city of festivals and cultural events. Winner of the prestigious golden hearts for hospitality and champion of cultural tourism for South-East Europe.
The oldest, Mimosa festival is also winner of the golden heart as the best tourist event. It’s been organized over 40 years and it’s always at the first Saturday in February.
Kanli Tower is known as the theater outdoors and it is one of the most beautiful summer stage on the Adriatic coast with over 1000 seats.
Igalo is situated on the most western point of the Montenegrin coast and from Herceg Novi is separated by the coastal borderline.
However, over time, the expanding coastal line broke down the borders between these two cities, and connected them by the longest promenade in the Bay «Pet Danica» (Five Danica) a promenade that stretches all the way from the health center to the main square in Herceg Novi.
Igalo has risen to notoriety as a spa center because of its very mild Mediterranean climate, with more than 200 sunny days each yeah, blooming vegetation and healthy mineral water (referred to as Igaljka) as well as mildly radioactive mud.
A modern Medical health center was built on the grounds of the Igalo’s mud bath.
More than a thousand patients can be treated in this center at the same time. This centre is especially famous for curing the rheumatic diseases.
Traditionally, the most regular «users» of Igalo’s benefits are the Scandinavians, especially the Norwegians.
Many famous people came here to be treated for rheumatic and the other diseases – many crowned persons, princes and kings.
One of the regular guests was also the president of the former Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito.
In order to serve his needs a special villa «Galeb» was built just beside the Institute which lately is frequent used as a residential facility of the Government of the Republic of Montenegro intended for receiving important foreign guests.
Igalo is covered in mostly sandy beaches, though some are concrete and rough.
Because of its mild climate all year round, Igalo is also a winter resort. It is a very popular destination for the preparation of sports teams from all over Europe.
For its beauty stand out and park areas in Herceg Novi and Igalo, elegant , with vegetable plantations of lemons, oranges, kiwis, olives…
The town also becomes a big Mediterranean garden revealing palm trees, eucalyptus, oleander trees, Cypress and mimosa trees in their full beauty.
Many find it very romantic when the colors from bright blue and white turn into grey and dark blue, when the air is full of sea aromas from the waves breaking on the promenade and when the town itself becomes a spa for relaxation.