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Cetinje Culture

Cetinje Culture - Part I

When someone describes Cetinje one will not make a mistake if one uses the words of an unknown man, who passing through that town said: “In the foot of Lovcen, far enough and hidden from the looks of enemies and close enough and opened for all friendly hands is found Cetinje – town – museum, Montenegro’s capital for centuries and the point of departure of its spirituality and state organization”. It’s hard to find in the world a town which is so vitally connected with its people during its entire history, like it is the situation with Cetinje. Therefore, the one who meets Cetinje, with all its sights and landmarks, he will for sure comprehend everything that is important in Montenegrin history. Cetinje as a capital city in the past 5 centuries was and remained a cultural, educational center of the Montenegrin state.

If you are coming to Cetinje in spring or summer, especially in the time of blossoming of the famous Cetinje linden trees, the nature will dazzle you with its scents and coloring, so the story about the freethinking and rebellious people that lives in Cetinje for centuries will appear to you almost unimaginable and unreal compared to the surrounding in which you are going to stay.

People from Cetinje often know to say that the atmosphere in town and the surroundings is such, that it creates a special kind of experience and not everyday events, climate, surroundings, the colors and some inexplicable spiritual force concentrated in one place, made Cetinje famous also by a great number of talented people who for centuries back but also in recent decades were born or they lived in Cetinje. The cultural history of Cetinje begins with the first Djuradj Crnojevic`s printing shop, built in the XIII century. At first, for the cultural creativity of Cetinje the name of Djuradj Crnojevic (1490. – 1496.) is connected. That ruler was extremely well known by his great education, knowledge of astronomy, geometry and other sciences of which testifies the testament published in Milan in 1499. He distinguished himself in the widening of cultural and political successes. With the aid of the monk Makarije, in his own printing shop Djuradj Crnojevic published many very important works. The printer Makarije or “the monk Makarije from Montenegro” (jeromonah Makarije ot Crna Gori) as he called himself, was the first printer in the South Slovenian area. In the typography in Cetinje he printed the first Cyrillic books in the Slovenian south. In the period from 1494. to 1496. from Cetinje`s printing shop 5, today very famous and precious books, known as “Crnojevica inkunabule” (Crnojevica`s Incunabula’s) came out. Those were: Oktoih prvoglasnik (Oktoih First – voice), Oktoih petoglasnik (Oktoih Fifth – voice), Psaltiri s posjedovanjem (Book of Psalms with Possession), Molitvenik (Prayer Book) and Cetvorojevandjelje (Four Gospels). After his leaving from Cetinje, monk Makarije lived in Romania, and near the end of his life he lived in the monastery Hilandar. The last work which reminded him on life in his native Montenegro, came out from printing in 1526/28., under the title “Prikaz zemalja Dakije” (The Review of the Lands of Dakija).

When we are talking about culture, Cetinje is most famous for its monuments, but also by the famous personalities – writers, poets, painters, actors, and sportsmen.

The most famous is, by all means, a great Cetinje`s and Montenegrin poet Njegos (Petar II Petrovic, 1813. – 1851.). From his early youth, he spent days learning the philosophical and historical works, absorbing literary and creating his own works of art by himself.  Njegos often walked around Cetinje`s surrounding, considering that in that way he creates  the deepest emotions and collects the perfect energy after which his famous works were created, like: “Gorski vijenac” ((Mountain Wreath) printed in Vienna in 1847.), “Luca mikrokozma ((Microcosm Rays) printed in Belgrade in 1845.) and “Lazni car Scepan mali” ((False Emperor Scepan Mali) printed in Trieste in 1861), “Svobodijada”, “Ogledalo srpsko” (Serbian Mirror)…

All the above listed Njegos’s works of art are deeply reflective, they have a great literary, aesthetic, art and at last (even though some are only his visions) historical value. Njegos in his works has for sure for the first time called wide attention, above all, of the former European public, to little Montenegrin people that have always been brave, defiant and proud, but also craving for literacy and collection of knowledge. With his work and talent Njegos carried the fame, all over the world, not only of himself as a philosopher and poet, but he pointed out a new characteristic of Montenegro, which, even though at that time was considered lagging and poor, has shown to the rest of the world that in this and such areas something inexplicable is hiding, mythical and above all natural. For all the time of his reign Njegos has intensively worked on making literate his people. He also worked on educational and cultural elevation of Montenegro.
In 1834. he opened the first state elementary school in Cetinje. The same year he founded the print shop, and published his first poet collections “Pustinjak Cetinjski” (Recluse from Cetinje) and “Lijek Jarosti” (The Cure of Rage). By Njegos`s order the first school books were written – “Bukvar” (Elementary Reading Book) in 1836. and “Gramatika” (Grammar) in 1838. Because of his great contribution to literature and culture Njegos is considered to be the greatest South Slovenian poet.

In Njegos`s time the history and especially culture of Montenegro remembers also his teacher Simo Milutinovic Sarajlija. He was a very important Serbian poet. In the company of Belgrade literates at the beginning of the second half of the XIX century Simo was set to be the chief to Gundulic, and German writer Goethe wrote praises about him. Studing philosophy, he stayed in Germany and published with Goethe a very well known epic “Serbijanka” (A Woman from Serbia). His other important works are: “Trojebratsvo”(Brotherhood among three brothers) and “Trojesestarstvo” (sisterhood among three sisters) – epic poems, “Dika crnogorska” (Montenegrin pride) – a drama from the history of Montenegro, a tragedy “Obilic”, a collection of lyric poems, and two historical texts “Istorija Srba” (The History of Serbs) and “Istorija Crne Gore” (The History of Montenegro).

Long before Njegos and his contemporaries, in Cetinje and from it, in Montenegro many educated and literate people stayed and ruled. The greatest clergyman in history and culture of Montenegro is considered to be Petar I Petrovic Njegos (1747. – 1830.) or the “saint ruler”.


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