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Cetinje History

The History of Cetinje – Part I

Ivan Crnojevic is considered to be a founder of Cetinje. He built a castle and a monastery in the plane below the famous Montenegrin Mountain Lovcen. According to the written data, by the end of the XVII century, down the plane flew River Cetina, so that part of the town was called by that river Cetinjsko polje (The field of Cetinje).

In Cetinjsko polje, at that time there used to be a small inhabited village, by which the later newly created town got name Cetinje. In the historical documents Cetinje is mentioned for the first time in 1440 year. In the middle of XV century (around 1450 year) a church known as Vlaska church was built in Cetinje.

About the development and the origin of the town, first notes were made at the end of the XV century, when Ivan Crnojevic, in the place that he chose to be his capital, built a castle in 1482 year. According to some documents, the castle of Ivan Crnojevic, the Master of Cetinje, was ruined before 1650 year, but the reasons and the names of those who have ruined the castle, as well as the response to the question why did they do it, the historians still haven’t made to find. There is an interesting fact, that two years after the building of the castle Crnojevic, in 1484 year, a monastery dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, was built, but its remains were not preserved.

After the disappearance of the State of Crnojevic, Cetinje still managed to keep the status of a political and religious center of Montenegro. With the parting of the dynasty Crnojevic, in Cetinje, more precisely, in the monastery of the Holy Mother of God, religious heads of the church continue to rule and govern the city. At that time the religious heads of the church were the most significant personalities in Montenegro.

Towards the end of the XV century, a great part of Montenegro is being governed by the Turkish conquerors. From 1499 to 1513 as a part of the Turkish administrative charter, larger part of Montenegro was annexed to the so called Skadar sanjak, but the areas of Montenegro like the Hills and the North West part of the state had the nominal freedom, while the under Lovcen Montenegro (whose center was Cetinje) managed to retain permanent freedom.
A very important function in the political sense of those years had a legislative body called “Opstecrnogorski zbor” (General Montenegrin gathering). The first gathering, of the legislative body, defined as a military-democratic parliament of the Montenegrin people from the free under Lovcen part of Montenegro, after the crash of the state of Crnojevic and was actually reshaped in a certain state organization. The first decision of the gathering was to offer the alliance to Venice in the war it fought with the Turks (1499. – 1503.).

In 1579. Opstecrnogorski zbor signs the first bilateral contract between, the under Lovcen Montenegro and the Venice, about the maintaining of the Venetian postal communication with Constantinople (Istanbul).

Almost the entire XVI century Cetinje was marked by the ruling of the Cetinje`s archbishopric. Archbishops and clergymen owned feud estates that belonged to free peasants. As the dilemma about the owner’s rights over the parcels was to be solved, in 1577. Cetinje`s archbishopric, with the intervening of the Pec`s patriarchate receives protection of the Turkish Sultan, but the dispute with the peasants is still solved with a compromise (the peasants become the owners or the leases), while the Archbishopric bends down to the fight for the independence and freedom.

In the period from 1603 until 1613 Cetinje archbishopric turns from the position of a passive observer of the events into an active political relationship. Archbishopric then takes active participation in defensive and liberating fights. In the more significant fights, as the fight with the Turks near Ljeskopolje (1603. and 1613.) was, Montenegrin army was led by the former metropolitan Ruvim II Boljevic. In those years the autocephaly action of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church institutionalized in the face of the Montenegrin archbishopric begins. Ruvim II – a spiritual ruler and political head of the church was at the head of Cetinje archbishopric from 1593 to 1637.

By the decision of the General Montenegrin gathering from Cetinje, Montenegrins (mainly soldiers and individuals from three anti – Turkish bastions – under Lovcen Montenegro, the Hills and across them Herzegovina’s Montenegro) in the period from 1645 to 1669 participate in the battles of Venice against Turkey. From Cetinje and from other parts of the free Montenegro, the help in the arms constantly came.

In the period from 1659. to 1662. the religious head of the church and the first personality in the General Montenegrin gathering and Montenegrin heads of the church gathering in Cetinje, was Visarion II Kolinovic, originally from a place called Ljubotinj, near Cetinje. However, two years before the end of the ruling time of the Visarion II (1633), on the bishop’s seat in the under Lovcen Montenegro, comes Ruvim III Boljevic from Crmnica. In the position of the first man of the Archbishopric, Ruvim III stays until 1685 year.
Montenegrins from Cetinje, as well as soldiers from other areas of the free Montenegro, in the period from 1684 – 1699 year, in the alliance with the Venetians, participate in the Morej war, against the Turks.

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