Some of the most interesting graffiti I saw on my trip this summer was in Podgorica (much like Cluj-Napoca, in Romania). Many of the painted walls seemed both psychedelic and angry at the same time, and I certainly got the sense that staying in Podgorica too long could drive someone crazy!
I also noticed the word "барбари" or "barbari" spray-painted on many walls throughout the region. I understand the linguistic connection to the word "barbarian" but I'm not sure if it's used with pride (as in, we're tough, or we're gothic), or if it's used as an insult against those living in the community. Anyone have any insight?
While much of Podgorica could be described as "crumbing remains of the Soviet Empire", one of Podgorica's most-recognizable monuments could be described as anything but. The Millenium Bridge spans the Moraca River on the north edge of the city center. It is 140 metres across and the tower rises 57 metres above the road.
I loved walking around Podgorica and looking at the colliding architectural styles. I am particularly partial to Communist architectural movements, so I fell in love with the "Zgrada Vlade" (Government Building) located just across the river from Mali Park. I believe this is the old government building, and that a newer one exists, but this is the one that evokes memories of the region's past (complete with stray dogs ready to chase you away at any moment). I'm pretty sure I'll never come closer to being on a Soviet space ship.
There are a number of small parks along Podgorica's rivers and throughout the center of the city. Park Mali was close to my hostel and provided some comfortable shade on an afternoon with temperatures topping forty degrees celcius. "Mali" translates to "small"- I'm not sure if there's also a "Big Park" or not! I had a few run-ins with creepy men in the park at mid-day, so I would not recommend visiting alone at night!
There are few sights in Podgorica, which makes the clock tower of note. Dating back to the 1660s this Ottoman structure was one of the few to survive WW2-era bombing of the city. Considered an important monument in the country, it is protected by law.
Carved into the hills outside Podgorica is one of Montenegro's holiest sites- Ostrog monastery. The monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church has been on the site since the 1600s, though the building there today dates back to the 1920s. Once there you can take a look at beautiful frescoes and mosaics, and also take in views of the surrounding countryside from high above.
I recommend arriving by taxi, which your hostel or hotel should arrange. As a group of four we paid twenty euros (or five per person) for a return trip, including about fifty kilometres of travel in each direction, a major delay at the base of the hill (there was some kind of road race going on and the road was closed for an hour... but our driver talked the police into letting us up!) and about an hour of time to explore the site. The drive up was harrowing- steep drops, no barriers and twisting, turning, single-lane roads accommodating pilgrims traveling in both directions (though the most dedicated pilgrims walk up... barefoot... and sleep on mats outside the monastery).
The Ribnica (big and small) are two of the three rivers that go through Montenegro’s capital (the third is the Moraca). The Ribnica is evidently not a very deep river at the best of times, as it appeared to be dried out completely when I visited the city in September 2008. It was, perhaps, the most beautiful site in all of Podgorica, as the scraggly brush against the stones and light beige earth was quite aesthetically pleasing.
Trg Republike (Republic Square) is the main central shopping square of downtown Podgorica. Don't let that description confuse you - this is no Magnificent Mile or Champs-Élysée. Certainly, there are a few high-end stores in the neighbourhood, but for the most part it is nothing special. It was recently renovated, but unfortunately I can't give any qualitative statement about whether its better or worse than it was before. The fountain is pretty, and I assume that the square will be even prettier when the construction on the west side of the square is completed.
The Sahat Kula (Clock Tower) is a bit odd because it is essentially an old stone building surrounded by hideous Socialist-era apartment blocks and housing estates. There are some shops and stores around it, but in general this is not built up as a tourist site. It is an odd sort of clock tower, as it is square and does not appear to be connected to anything else - in Skopje, the same sort of Ottoman installation is found beside Hjuncar Mosque, which sort of makes sense. In all, Sahat Kula is most remarkable in that, if you are coming to Podgorica by train or bus and want to look around the city on foot, it is the first historic monument that you will see.
Almost every city in the world has its own Millenium Bridge. Recently Podgorica got one too. It was opened on July 13th, the National Holliday of Montenegro. I like it , especially at night.