The Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency of the Municipality of Tivat celebrated May 29- “European Park Day” by organizing a donor action for new seedlings for the largest artificial park in Montenegro and the wider region, the protected nature monument of the Great Town Park in Tivat. This is a good opportunity to walk through the history of this botanical garden, which begins at the end of the 19th century.
In the Middle Ages, the coastal part of today’s municipality of Tivat was owned by several families of Kotor nobility. Given its pleasant climate, good solar exposure and the terrain suitable for settlements, they used to build summer residences there surrounded by spacious park-like gardens. The summer houses were located in the flatlands, at the foot of the Vrmac hill, with concurrent existence of villages higher up on the slopes of Vrmac. In late 19th century, at the time when Boka was under Austro-Hungarian rule, Tivat started developing into the town we know today. At the time, the Austro-Hungarian Navy built their naval base, known as Arsenal, with the town of Tivat developing around it. At about the same time, the Large Town Park was established.
The Large Town Park in Tivat was established in 1892 by Admiral Maximilian Daublesky Von Sterneck, as testified by an inscription on the memorial plate at the park entrance, which reads, translated from German, as: “This park was set up in 1892 by former Navz Admiral Friherr Von Sterneck. The construction was managed by ship commanders Hnatek, Padevit, Zeigler, Denning, Heinrich and C. Lanjuz, and Nedwich as the site manager”. Admiral Von Sterneck ordered all ship captains, when coming to Tivat, to bring a young tree to be planted in the Park. According to the data of the Austrian cadaster plan from 1838, the Park was developed on the grounds of former summerhouse of Radali family, surrounded by a garden and vineyards, which disappeared while Arsenal was being built. The land was made available free of charge by the Municipality of Tivat, with the signature of the Mayor of Tivat, Captain Marko Krstović. For a long while, the park was taken care of by the navy, very much present in Tivat at the time, what gave rise to the popular name for the park, the Navy Park.
Von Sterneck’s command, though not addressed to them, was very seriously understood by the Tivat sailors in the decades to come. The Large Town Park became one of the biggest horticultural gardens at the East coast of the Adriatic Sea, covering the area of 5.9 ha, thanking the diversity of plant species it has always been recognized for to this unwritten duty of each seaman to bring a tree from their overseas voyages. The park dendroflora consists of 150 species, varieties and form, some of which are exceptionally rare such as Aleppo pine, Himalayan cedar, bunya pine, Monterey cypress, windmill palm, Japanese pittosporum etc. The two large bunya pine trees, as signature stamps of the Large Town Park, are considered to be among the oldest such trees in Europe.
It is a custom of enriching the park with the participation of the community that inspired the NGO European House Tivat to launch the action. In 2007, this NGO started the action "Your Tree in our Park", which was attended by a large number of citizens and guests. This was a logical continuation of the earlier efforts of this organization that valuable horticultural garden in the center of Tivat receive adequate care and protection. Despite the fact that park was listed in 1968 as an exceptional horticultural property in the Register of Protected Natural sites of SR of Montenegro, it was in a very bad state. The first project "Forgotten Beauty" was organized by the NGO in 2001, after which the park original architectural components were reconstructed a year later, which was a prerequisite for access to horticultural restoration. The local Secretariat for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency continues the action “Your Tree in Our Park”, held yesterday for the 12th time.
In 2014, under the current Nature Preservation Law, the decision was made to declare the Large Town Park a protected natural asset inscribing it as a monument of nature, managed by the local Utility service. The support is coming from lot of friends, as we could see also yesterday on the donor action, bringing the Park 30 new plants. Among the others, new plants were donated also by the companies Porto Montenegro and Luštica Development, Water supply and sewerage system of Tivat, Regional Public Company “Vodakom”, Tourist Organization of Tivat, Public Pre-School Institution “Bambi”, Primary School “Drago Milović”, NGO “European House Tivat” and Tivat Municipality.