Njegos Mausoleum: Montenegro’s Cultural and Historical Landmark
Perched atop the second-highest peak in Lovćen National Park, Montenegro’s Njegos Mausoleum is a must-see destination for visitors to the region. This magnificent mausoleum, which was built between 1970 and 1974, is the star attraction of the park and is a symbol of Montenegrin history and culture. In this article, we’ll explore the history, design, and significance of the Njegos Mausoleum, as well as what visitors can expect when they visit.
Petar II Petrović Njegoš: Montenegro’s Cultural Figure
Petar II Petrović Njegoš, known during his life as Bishop Rade, was a Montenegrin poet, philosopher, and ruler who was born at the beginning of the 19th century. He became a monk at a very young age and took over the administration of Montenegro. At that time, a strong national consciousness and general patriarchal morality reigned in Montenegro, but still, anarchy, tribal conflicts, and blood feuds gained momentum.
However, upon coming to the throne, the ruler-artist began to establish schools and courts and develop infrastructure and diplomatic relations. In the meantime, he wrote literary masterpieces, the most famous of which are “The Mountain Wreath” and “The Ray of the Microcosm.” His works re-examine the essence of earthly life, thematically always focused on general ethics and eternity, on being, analyzing. Inseparable from his personality, this noble philosopher’s thoughts are quoted and interpreted daily in this region and beyond.
Njegoš’s legacy is felt throughout Montenegro, and a typical portrait in Montenegrin homes depicts Njegoš in traditional or monastic costume. Indeed, this inimitable figure, despite his untimely death, left a deep mark on the country’s history. “I am the ruler among the barbarians, and the barbarian among the rulers,” Njegoš once said.
Architecture and Design
Once visitors reach the Njegos Mausoleum, they are greeted by two granite giantesses guarding the entrance to the building. Inside, the Mausoleum boasts a stunning golden mosaic canopy that covers the tomb of Njegoš. The canopy is held up by the wings of an eagle, carved from a single block of black granite that weighs a staggering 28 tonnes. The eagle is a symbol of Montenegrin statehood, while the golden mosaic that covers the canopy represents the divine light that Njegoš sought to impart to his people. The actual tomb of Njegoš lies below the canopy.
How do I get to Njegos Mausoleum?
Getting to Lovćen and the Njegos Mausoleum is easy and can be done through various means of transportation. If you are traveling from Budva or any towns on the coast, the easiest way to reach Lovćen is by renting a car, taking a taxi, or a bus. Many tourist agencies from the Montenegrin coast offer organized excursions to Lovćen.
Alternatively, you can drive from the Ivan’s riverbeds direction towards Lovćen, taking the road that passes over the saddle Krstac and goes through the towns of Kotor, Njeguši, and Cetinje.
For those who love nature and have ample time to spare, hiking to Lovćen or the Njegos Mausoleum can be a great option. The journey is especially suitable for mountain climbers or fast walkers. The trek from Budva, Tivat, Cetinje, or Njeguši to Lovćen offers picturesque views of the surrounding area and can be a great way to explore Montenegro’s natural beauty. On this route, there are marked mountain tracks and various village roads for hikers to use.
The duration of the hike to Lovćen and the Njegos Mausoleum can vary depending on the starting point and the level of fitness of the hiker. The hike from the town of Cetinje to the Mausoleum takes approximately 2-3 hours, while the hike from the town of Njeguši takes around 1-2 hours.
Apart from the stunning architecture and design of the Mausoleum, visitors can also enjoy the breathtaking views from the circular viewing platform located at the rear of the building. The platform provides the same stunning views that George Bernard Shaw once described as being “in paradise or on the moon.” Visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and explore the natural beauty of Lovćen National Park.
For those looking for a unique souvenir, a photographer stationed near the entrance of the Mausoleum has a stash of folk costumes and a computer set up to print out quirky souvenirs for €10. This is a great way to commemorate your visit and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
Significance to Montenegro
The Njegos Mausoleum is not just an architectural masterpiece; it is also a symbol of Montenegrin identity and pride. The Mausoleum’s significance lies in its tribute to one of Montenegro’s most important cultural figures, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, whose contribution to Montenegrin culture and history is immeasurable. The Mausoleum is a testament to the country’s fight for independence and its resilience in the face of adversity.
Montenegro’s love and reverence for Njegoš are reflected in the Mausoleum’s grandeur and its location atop Lovćen’s second-highest peak, Jezerski Vrh. It is a fitting tribute to a cultural figure who was so important to the Montenegrin people.
The Njegos Mausoleum is a cultural and historical landmark that is not to be missed. Its stunning architecture, historical significance, and breathtaking views make it an unforgettable experience for visitors to Montenegro. The Mausoleum’s location and design reflect the country’s love and reverence for Petar II Petrović Njegoš, a cultural figure whose contributions to Montenegrin history and culture are immeasurable. For those who are willing to take on the journey, the hike to Lovćen is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Montenegro and to pay homage to one of its greatest cultural icons.