Montenegro ( Montenegrin: Crna Gora / Црна Гора , meaning ” Black Mountain” ) , is a sovereign state in Southeastern Europe. It has a population of 620,029 inhabitants as of 2011 census, Montenegro has a total area of 13,812 square kilometres (5,333 square miles).
It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania to the south-east. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital (prijestonica).
Montenegro, like the rest of Yugoslavia, was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans in 1944. Montenegro became one of the six constituent republics of the communist Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Its capital became Podgorica, renamed Titograd in honour of President Josip Broz Tito. After the war, the infrastructure of Yugoslavia was rebuilt, industrialization began, and the University of Montenegro was established. Greater autonomy was established until the Socialist Republic of Montenegro ratified a new constitution in 1974.
The mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe, averaging more than 2,000 metres (6,600 feet) in elevation. One of the country’s notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountains, which reaches a height of 2,522 m (8,274 ft). Owing to the hyperhumid climate on their western sides, the Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded parts of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.
The diversity of the geological base, landscape, climate, and soil, and the position of Montenegro on the Balkan Peninsula and Adriatic Sea, created the conditions for high biological diversity, putting Montenegro among the “hot-spots” of European and world biodiversity. The number of species per area unit index in Montenegro is 0.837, which is the highest index recorded in any European country.
The economy of Montenegro is mostly service-based and is in late transition to a market economy. According to Eurostat data, the Montenegrin GDP per capita stood at 41% of the EU average in 2010. The Central Bank of Montenegro is not part of the euro system but the country is “euroized”, using the euro unilaterally as its currency.
The Montenegrin road infrastructure is not yet at Western European standards. Despite an extensive road network, no roads are built to full motorway standards. Construction of new motorways is considered a national priority, as they are important for uniform regional economic development and the development of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.
Montenegro has both a picturesque coast and a mountainous northern region. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. Yet, the Yugoslav wars that were fought in neighbouring countries during the 1990s crippled the tourist industry and damaged the image of Montenegro for years.
The Montenegrin Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long, with 72 km (45 mi) of beaches, and with many well-preserved ancient old towns. National Geographic Traveler (edited once in decade) features Montenegro among the “50 Places of a Lifetime”, and Montenegrin seaside Sveti Stefan was used as the cover for the magazine.
The coast region of Montenegro is considered one of the great new “discoveries” among world tourists. In January 2010, The New York Times ranked the Ulcinj South Coast region of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, as among the “Top 31 Places to Go in 2010” as part of a worldwide ranking of tourism destinations.
Montenegro is multiethnic state in which no ethnic group forms a majority. Major ethnic groups include Montenegrins (Црногорци/Crnogorci), Serbs (Срби/Srbi), Bosniaks (Bošnjaci), Albanians (Albanci – Shqiptarët) and Croats (Hrvati).
The official language in Montenegro is Montenegrin. Also, Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian are recognized in usage. All of these languages, except Albanian, are mutually intelligible. According to the 2011 census, most citizens declared Serbian as their mother tongue. Montenegro has been historically at the crossroads of multiculturalism and over centuries this has shaped its unique form of co-existence between Muslim and Christian population. Montenegrins have been, historically, members of the Serbian Orthodox Church (governed by the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral), and Serbian Orthodox Christianity is the most popular religion today in Montenegro.
Classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is also a candidate negotiating to join the European Union and NATO. On 2 December 2015, Montenegro received an official invitation to join NATO, whereby it would be the 29th member country. This invitation was meant to start final accession talks.