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.
Upon ascending the throne, the ruler-artist embarked on a mission to establish educational institutions and courts, while also prioritizing the development of infrastructure and diplomatic ties. Concurrently, he crafted literary treasures, notably renowned works such as “The Mountain Wreath” and “The Ray of the Microcosm.” Through his writings, he delved into the fundamental nature of human existence, consistently exploring themes of universal morality, eternity, and profound analysis. Inextricably intertwined with his persona, the profound musings of this esteemed philosopher continue to be referenced and contemplated on a daily basis, both within the 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
Upon arrival at the Njegos Mausoleum, visitors are greeted by a pair of imposing granite female figures standing guard at the entrance. Stepping inside, one is greeted by the breathtaking sight of a golden mosaic canopy, gracefully sheltering the tomb of Njegoš. This awe-inspiring canopy is supported by the wings of an eagle, meticulously carved from a massive, single block of black granite, weighing an astounding 28 tonnes. Symbolizing Montenegrin sovereignty, the eagle represents the nation’s identity, while the shimmering golden mosaic adorning the canopy symbolizes the divine light that Njegoš endeavored to bestow upon his people. Below this resplendent canopy lies the actual resting place of Njegoš.
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.
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 transcends being solely an architectural marvel, serving as a profound symbol of Montenegrin identity and pride. Its significance lies in its homage to the exceptional cultural figure, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, whose immeasurable contributions to Montenegro’s culture and history resonate to this day. The Mausoleum stands as a testament to the nation’s indomitable spirit and struggle for independence in the face of challenges.
Montenegro’s deep affection and admiration for Njegoš are beautifully manifested in the grandeur of the Mausoleum itself, strategically perched atop the second-highest peak of Lovćen, known as Jezerski Vrh. This remarkable location befits the honor bestowed upon a cultural luminary who held such profound significance for the Montenegrin people.
Don’t overlook the Njegos Mausoleum, a captivating cultural and historical gem that should not be missed. Its remarkable architecture, historical importance, and awe-inspiring vistas combine to create an unforgettable encounter for visitors exploring Montenegro. The Mausoleum’s strategic placement and captivating design vividly reflect the nation’s deep affection and respect for Petar II Petrović Njegoš, an esteemed cultural figure whose impact on Montenegrin history and culture is beyond measure. Embarking on the journey to Lovćen offers not only an opportunity to appreciate Montenegro’s natural splendor but also a chance to pay homage to one of its greatest cultural icons.