Bar is a very old town. There are no precise data of its origin, but in historical sources the name Old Bar is for the first time mentioned in IX century under the name Antibareos (Anti-old). According to information from some other sources the origin of the town is considered to be between VI and VII century, because at that time in Bar there was a characteristic roman settlement.

Even though there are very few precise data about the time of foundation of the ancient Bar, the remains of Neolithic material were found on a wider space, various items like: aeneolithical ax, dagger, vases of unusual manufacture etc., testify that in the area that today is municipality of Bar there was life even in pre-historical, Illyrian, Greek and Roman era. Still, the greatest confirmation of that thesis is a 2000 years old olive tree, which is situated in a place called Mirovica, which testifies in another way that in the area of Bar, there was life even before more than two millennia. That Bar indeed is an old urban settlement confirm the names of town: Greek – Antibareos, Roman – Antibarum, and Slovenian – Bar.

Old Town Bar
Old Town Bar

At the end of the IX century Bar is mentioned also under the name Antivari, which according to historical sources, can associate on the tribe of the Avars, who in VI and VII century, along with the Slavs settled the area that today is Montenegro.

Even though it was settled by Slavs at he beginning of VII century, until the middle of XI century Bar remained under control of Byzantium, more precisely, at that time Bar was placed in the region Dirahion, historically more familiar under the name of Prevalis. That Bar was a very important spiritual, cultural and political center tells the fact that until the middle of VIII century Bar was the center of bishopric. For the capital city of the first nominally independent ruler of the first Montenegrin state – Duklja, prince Vladimir, an area only few kilometers away from Bar toward the Skadar lake, village Krajina in place Ostros, 50 kilometers away from Bar is mentioned. Considering that that area was however in the structure of Byzantium Empire, in the year 1042, in the famous “Battle of Bar”, that was fought on the hill-side of Rumija, that part of the Bar territory is being freed (liberated) by the ruler of Zeta Vojislav (1017 – 1050).

It is being supposed that, already in year 1077 in Bar the first Montenegrin king Mihailo Vojislavljevic was crowned, and as a confirmation for such act, he received royal indications from Pope Clemet III. Afterwards, Bar is being ruled by the king Bodin Vojislavljevic (1082 – 1101). Because of Bodin's effort in the year 1089 bishopric of Bar receives the title of archbishopric, and as a result of that town Bar becomes the center of Bodin`s state. In the middle of XI century Bar again becomes a part of Duklja, and after 1183 it again enters into the structure of Byzantium empire, when with the rest of Zeta it becomes part of the state of Nemanjici. Bar is under the control of Nemanjici up to year 1360. During that time it experiences a full bloom – it had town autonomy, a statute, a coat of arms and money.

In historical documents it is said that, in the middle of the XV century Bar gained victory over Dubrovnik. During the 60`s of the XIV century, Bar is ruled by Balsici, a royal family that created an independent territory in the area of Skadar. During that period princess Jelena and Balsa III consider Bar their capital.

Afterwards, for a long time, Bar is found in constant battles and quarrels between the county landlords.

In the year 1404 Bar is taken over by Venice (Venetians), which in the year 1412 it would fall again in hands of Balsici.

In the year 1421 Bar was under patronage of despot Stefan Lazarevic, and from the year 1427 it was under patronage of despot Djuradj Brankovic – when it again becomes the capital of Zeta.

By despoiling (seizing) the town from a well-known Bosnian lord Stefan Vukcic Kosaca, in 1443 Bar with its coastal areas is being conquered by Venetians. After the Venetian ruling, Bar is being attacked by the Turks. Defending from Turkish invasion, Bar in order to preserve permanent peace, asked Venice for help, in which they failed.

Mosque in Old Town Bar
Mosque in Old Town Bar

The Turks, who had ruled over that territory for 307 years, conquered Bar in the year 1571. In 1878, Bar is being liberated from the Turks by Montenegrins. The same year, 1878, on Berlin congress Montenegro was proclaimed independent, so town Bar gained great significance and reputation. As during the liberation in 1878 Bar was deeply ruined, Ministry counsel of the Principality of Montenegro in 1908 makes a decision to begin the construction of a new town, that will be named Bar.

In time a large number of citizens of Bar begins to move in Southern parts of the town, mostly inhabiting the region beside the sea shore, where in the beginning of the XX century appears an area better known as Pristan (Port), on whose place was lied the foundation of New Bar. Today New Bar is considered to be urbanistically most organized, modern architectonic compound in Montenegro. Wide boulevards decorated with palm trees, oleanders, and other exotic Mediterranean trees that is delicately preserved and taken care of, with the cordial care of public workers, have made that several years in a row (mostly in the last decade of the XX century), Bar was proclaimed for the cleanest town in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Like in other coastal towns until 1928 Bar was under Austria-Hungary administration. After liberation from Austria-Hungary, until 1941 Bar is a part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (the state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians).

The Second World War (1941 – 1945) Bar was under foreign control. At that time, Italian and German army controlled Bar. Fighting against the occupiers (conquerors) partisan army liberated Bar in November 1944. Since then and until 1991 Bar was a part of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.

In the postwar period, especially during the 60`s of the XX century Bar developed in a famous harbor center of Montenegro and ex Yugoslavia. Also, beside portal and naval transportation, Bar is today famous for the development of tourism, economy and sport.