Book your Perfect Holiday

Bar Culture

Many important personalities who with their actions and appearances made an indelible trace in a long-range creation of that ancient town are mentioned in the history and the culture of Bar. Among the most significant individuals in the earliest period or in the period of the beginnings of town Bar, a historically very important personality Prince Vladimir is mentioned. According to some historical data, he was the first nominally independent ruler of the Principality of Duklja- the first Montenegrin state, and the time of his reign unfortunately is not precisely determined, only the period between 980 – 1016 is being mentioned. The personality of Prince Vladimir, today is connected mostly with the famous piece – “ The Life of St. Vladimir (of Duklja)”, in which among other things is cited the Legend of Vladimir and Kosara, written in Cyrillic in folk language.

In that legend among other things, it is said that love between Vladimir and Kosara- the daughter of the Macedonian King Samuilo, was unusual. Namely, during the Samuilo`s attack on the area known as Precista Krajinska, where the capital of the state Duklja was placed, Prince Vladimir former ruler, in order to save his people he voluntarily surrendered himself to Samuilo. Vladimir was immediately imprisoned, but not long after Samuilo`s daughter Kosara falls in love with Vladimir, so the Prince of Duklja is being released. Vladimir and Kosara stay in marriage until the year 1014, when after Samuilo`s death, the Macedonian throne falls into hands of Jovan Vladislav. Considering the fact that Prince Vladimir independently ruled Duklja, he immediately fell in disfavor of the new Macedonian emperor Vladislav, who tricked him into death in the year of 1016. Still, the appearance of Prince Vladimir, later a saint, is interesting also because of the fact that the cult of St. Vladimir of Duklja is cherished even today, so in the June procession that is organized up to the mountain Rumija, on which according to the tradition there used to be the church of St. Vladimir, believers of all three confessions participate: Orthodox, Catholics ad Muslims. On that day on the top of the mountain a wooden cross is being carried, which according to a legend Prince Vladimir had on him during the execution. Vladimir`s cross is being preserved as the greatest relic in Androvic brotherhood in the Old Bar.

For the data about Prince and St. Vladimir of Duklja, merit goes to Byzantium historian Jovan Sikilica, who at one time wrote that the “blessed Prince Vladimir of Duklja, was just, peace-loving man, full of virtues” so that the cult of St. Vladimir beside in Duklja was respected in Dalmatia, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Still, the most significant piece about Prince Vladimir, was written by the father of Montenegrin history and literature – priest Dukljanin (a Benedictine whose name is not known precisely), in the piece “The Chronicle of the Priest Dukljanin”, which most probably appeared in the year of 1183.

The next historically very important person is Vladimir`s nephew Stefan Vizantijac, who ruled Duklja from 1018 to 1043 as a Byzantium vassal, then the Montenegrin King Mihailo Vojislavljevic, who according to some assumptions was crowned in 1077 year and ruled until 1081 year. Still, the most significant spiritual names, in the history and the culture of Bar, are related to Bar bishopric, which was established in 1089 year. Bishopric lasted for 9 centuries, and on the head of it were 60 archbishops. Those were mostly educated people, the witnesses of events and time. The most famous among them, was the so-called Grgur Grizogono, or Priest Dukljanin, the author of Bar genealogy.

In the history and the culture of Bar, some other significant names are remembered, like King Bodin (1081 – 1101). He was the ruler of Duklja and later Zeta. During his reign, Duklja occupied an immense area, and it had sovereignty over Raska, Bosna, Travunija and Zahumlje and over parts of Macedonia, Croatia and Northern Albania.

Still, in the cultural life of Bar of the greatest importance were the grand notables of Bar bishopric. Some of them wrote epitaphs for tombstones. Bar epitaphs are one of the oldest literary works found in the area of Bar. Those are the verses in Latin language carved into stone, below which were buried grand notables from Bar bishopric: episcope Jovan from the time of Prince Vladimir and archbishops Djordje, Petar and Sergije who lived in period from XI till XIV century.

The above-mentioned bishop and archbishops are buried in the interior of the cathedral church of St. Djordje, which was placed in the outstanding place in Bar, in Londza.

In 1571 the Turks occupied Bar and turned the church of St. Djordje into a mosque.

Later, during some annex, the tombstones were taken out of the floor and built into the façade.

The French consul in Skadar, Vinsent Ekar, who often went through Bar, in his book “The History of Upper Albania”, published in 1858, was the first to mention Bar epitaphs, but he didn’t quote them. At that time the archbishop was a Bavarian Karl Poten.

The famous poet was Filip Gijo (1485 – 1624). His works unfortunately were not preserved. Also, very famous was Bar Archbishop Marin Bici. In period between 1608 till 1624 he sent a detailed report to Holy See about his travels along the coast of Montenegro, Albania and Old Serbia. Later that report served as a very important document, which testified of the situation in that area at that time.

Very important places in the history of the Bar bishopric had the members of Zmajevic family from Perast (near Kotor). The most fruitful Zmajevic was bishop Andrija Zmajevic, born in 1624, otherwise an excellent writer in folk language. Zmajevic was famous for his work which he regularly recorded, that is named “Church Chronicle”, but also for his manuscripts: Ode to Dubrovnik “To Slavic Dubrava”, a humorous poem “To Tripo Skuri”…

In the middle century in the area of Bar several distinguished literates, painters, and diplomats lived. Along with the well-known literate Antun Prokulijano, distinguished names of literary life of Bar were also the lawyers of a famous Italian family Basali. Among them, the first who in the beginning of XVI century settled in Bar from the Italian province Trevizo was a Venecian employee Kamilo Besali. He was famous for his writing of epistles. He is the author of many poems composed in an elegant style, which were later published by an editor Bartolomeo Gottifredi in his collection “Raccolta di Espitole Italiane” , published in Venice in 1572.

Also, a very famous and prominent was the lawyer Viktor Besali, born in Bar, a humanistic writer and a chancellor of Dubrovnik. He lived and worked at the end of XVI and the beginning of the XVII century. In the historical documents, the name of Viktor Besali is mentioned during diplomatic missions, in the Dubrovnik Republic in 1596 – at the Austrian archduke Ferdinand as well as in 1600, at pope Clement VIII. Besali wrote and published Latin and Illyrian verses, which among other things are a testimony of friendly relations of Besali and Dubrovian medieval writers, literates and humanists, especially with the famous Ivan Gundulic. His verses were mostly published in Venice and Dubrovnik in:   1579, 1599, and in 1621 year.

In Bar and the surrounding area there were some less famous painters. Even though the record from archive do not give sufficient information about life and work of those artists, it is still known that in XV century, in Bar lived and worked the goldsmith Matej (1441), as well as the painter Stjepan (1477). Along with theirs, in documents, beside the year of 1485 is mentioned the name of Marin Orso from Bar, otherwise a Venetian citizen. The precise records about archive documents, save the will dated in 1551, of Bar painter Dominik Nikolo, the author of the painting of pious motive, that used to be kept in the convent of St. Alvisa, do not exist.

When we are talking about the historical and cultural personalities of Bar, then the preserved written tracks direct us again to Bar bishopric. A very important individual of Bar archbishopric was Doctor Nikola Dobrecic, who wrote poems in Serbian, Latin, French, and Italian language. He was born in 1872 in Bartula near Old Bar. As a young man he becomes a catholic priest, so in the year of 1890 he is being sent to Rome, where with a colleague Marko Astic he graduated theology and philosophy, and he becomes the first doctor of two religious sciences. Later he served in Cetinje, as a priest of the Catholic Church, as a high school professor and the first stenographer in Montenegrin parliament. He publishes a well-know essay “Victor Hugo as a National and International Poet”. On returning to his hometown Bar, 1918, Dobrecic aids the development of culture, education and health care. In the Catholic Church he establishes a Maiden institute, in which nuns were trained. At the beginning of the XX century Dobrecic starts an action for building of a new archbishopric, whose building began in 1923. The humanity of Doctor Niko Dobrecic, was especially outstanding during the World War II, when he was helping numerous refugees and people in trouble.

Doctor Nikola Dobrecic died at the end of 1955 year in Zagreb, where he was hit by a trolley car and it broke his leg in hip. He was buried in his endowment in the church of St. Nikola in Bar.

Some very famous and appreciated creators in the area of literature, acting, music, politics, etc live in Bar in recent years. Among them we should be pointed out a film and TV creator, a founder of Bar International TV festival Pero Radovanovic then bishop of Bar Zef Gasija, a young and a very promising historian and writer Ivan Jovovic, in whose works the past and the history of Bar is mostly mentioned. In Bar also lives and works children’s author Rajko Jolicic, then a young painter Naod Zoric, the actor Dragisa Simonovic, pop musicians Mico Vujovic and Goran Pejovic.

© 2005-2019 Visit Montenegro. All rights reserved.® is private web project.