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Ulcinj History

Ulcinj Legend
As many other states, places or towns are recognizable for its historical events, famous individuals, fairy tales or stories, Ulcinj and people from Ulcinj are famous for various and especially pirate ones.

Through the history, Ulcinj has been for many centuries a pirate nest. The town starting from the XIV century has began to be inhabited by the pirates from Malta, Tunis, and Algeria. The coastal part, from the present Ulcinj all the way to Kotor, was the pirate nest. The pirates, especially during the XVII and XVIII century, have represented fear on the sea. Pirate gangs have become so powerful that they attacked various trading ships that sailed under various ensigns; they have robbed them and quickly sailed in their bulwarks, which they made along the entire Ulcinj Coast.
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The greatest damage of the dangerous attacks of pirate commanders among whom the most famous were brothers Karamindzoja, Lika Ceni, Ali hodza and others, suffered the Venetian fleet.

Beside the invasions and robberies on trading ships, pirates from Ulcinj were famous by the trading of black slaves. Because of that fact a great number of inhabitants in Ulcinj were black people from different African countries. Among old people from Ulcinj even today it is mentioned how until 1878 in Ulcinj 100 black people lived, as well as the fact that among the slaves in the dungeons a famous writer Servantes dwelled, by whom one of the Ulcinj squares is named Slave square. Still, the most famous and the most gladly retold story among people from Ulcinj even today is the legend of famous pirate Liko Cena.

Liko Cena a man from Ulcinj was the most famous pirate chief. Everyday with his pirate army he attacked different trading ships, and sometimes even the entire fleets. One time Liko Cena with his company sank a ship on which there were pilgrims who traveled to a pilgrimage in Mecca. It was a very tragic event, which echoed even past Ulcinj. Namely, when the Turkish sultan heard of the great accident, he ordered that Liko Cena must be found and imprisoned. Sultan also proclaimed that he’d richly award the one who catches or kills Liko Cena. But, exactly then on the sea appeared another, also very dangerous pirate – Lambro or Aralampija as he was otherwise called. Originally from Greece, Lambro knew the sea very well, and he was thought to be a skilful pirate. Very dangerous and fearless, Lambro quickly became a real “sea monster’ for many trading ships and naval fleets. The news of Lambro`s misdeeds quickly got to the Turkish sultan. As the damages which Lambro`s company committed were immense, and sultan soon proclaimed that he will give a rich reward to the one who catches or kills Lambro.

However, the time went by and the sultan could find Lambro. The only thing that at that moment was left to him to do was to send a message to Liko Cena in which he is saying that he’ll forgive him everything if he manages to destroy Lambro.

Sultan soon did that, and Liko Cena with pleasure accepted the call, binding himself in front of the sultan that he’ll “either catch Lambro or die”.

After some time, there comes a duel in which Liko Cena manages to kill Lambro. For the favor he has done and for the loyalty, Turkish sultan spares Liko Cena`s life, by giving him the title of the captain. Famous men from Ulcinj, descendants of Liko Cena, were also distinguished captains. The legend of Liko Cena, among people is even toady mentioned as am unusual event, so people from Ulcinj from generation to generation tell the story of how the most famous bandit from Ulcinj thanks to the destiny became a captain.


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