"Bar Old Town (Stari Bar)" Stari Bar by peterdhduncan

Stari Bar Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 11 photos

Bar Old Town

Old Bar, in spite of being visible from some places on the main road round modern Bar, turned out to be quite difficult to find, and its one entrance even more so. However, it turned out to be well worth persisting! And the entry fee was only 1 euro per person!


Old Bar comprises the largest urban agglomeration of architectural ruins in Montenegro, and is recognised as the biggest and the most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans. It is situated in the hinterland of the Bar plain, some 5 km from the sea and occupies a rocky slope on the bottom of Mount Rumija, protected by nearly vertical, inaccessible cliffs on the east and the south sides. It consists of an enclosed town of around 600 buildings of public, religious and military character. The majority of the buildings date back to the Middle Age and Renaissance period. Other buildings belong to the period of Turkish occupation. All the buildings are located inside the city walls and most of them are ruined.

Residential architecture has late Gothic, Renaissance, and oriental elements. The architecture is characterised by a powerful fortified system built in the late 15th century and during the 16th century, consisting of towers and linked defensive walls. There are remains of 17 churches some of which are conserved and restored. In the immediate vicinity of the town there are many medieval churches, bridges, and oil and flour mills and an aqueduct from the late 16th and early 17th century.

Summary of the historic development and evolution

Old Bar was occupied by Illyrian tribes in prehistoric times due to its defensive position. It was included within the province of Dalmatia, and after 297 within the province of Praevalis.

The town was mentioned in the 8th century under the name Antibareos, In the first half of that century, Old Bar was the Episcopal seat, and in the 11th century the archbishopric seat was moved from Duklja to Bar. The King of Duklja, Mihailo, was crowned here in 1067. From the 12th century until the late 14th century it belonged to the dynasty Nemanjic, and after that to the dynasty Balsic, rulers of Zeta. In 1443 it was conquered by Venetia. In 1571, it was conquered by the Turks and it remained under their occupation till 1878, when it was liberated by Montenegrins.

Over the centuries Old Bar has suffered from many attacks and the majority of buildings have been ruined except the clock tower, duty building, church and hammam which were restored after the earthquake in 1979. The town was abandoned in 1979.

  • Last visit to Stari Bar: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated Aug 2, 2011
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Comments (1)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2011 at 4:14 AM

    Peter, brilliant photos of Stari Bar here. We visited teh town in summer 2010 and really liked it.


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