July 23, 2020 - As part of the "We Live Culture" campaign by the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro, a research, educational and creative project has been launched in the area of Boka Kotorska aimed at preserving and valorizing its cultural heritage, entitled "My Museum - Boka Kotorska."
The project's idea is to create a website, which would serve as an online platform for the digital presentation of cultural-historical-artistic material provided by a broad range of paticipants. In the initial phase of its preparation, a Viber community was formed, drawing great interest among fans of Boka's cultural treasures and it now already has about 420 members and a Facebook page, which publishes all the most essential information related to the project and also shares educational content.
The goal of such a project is to enable people to actively participate in valuing and preserving the space in which they live, their heritage, and their culture.
Citizens from the area of Boka Kotorska and beyond are invited to submit material on persons, memories, legends, customs, rituals, practices, skills, crafts, localities, objects, speech, language, useful objects, or objects of artistic value. The main goal is to draw attention to values that are not entirely or not professionally valorized and have specific importance in the context of the tradition of a family or community. Particular emphasis is on dialogue and interaction of family members, conversations within the family and the local community, especially inter-generational communication. Young people will have the opportunity to learn more about family, domestic or collective culture, and the process of its evaluation and presentation.
A Guide to Heritage Research has been specially designed for children. It should bring them closer to their heritage and make it easier for them to understand the concept of heritage, as well as enabling them to understand what interests them and then better research, describe and submit material. The idea is for children and young people to interview older members of the household and write down testimonies about the past and culture. It will also be essential for them to understand all the useful and beneficial ways digital technologies can be used.
The project is aimed at amateurs and professionals - heritage lovers, scientific researchers, artists, and anyone whose personal and professional interest may not even be related to the Boka Kotorska, but support the idea of the project. They can involve heritage researchers of different profiles (archaeologists, ethnologists, anthropologists, historians, art historians, conservators) and choose one motif, angle, or theme that they want to make visible to a broad audience. It would ensure that their research topics are accessible and increase the general public's understanding of who deals with heritage, especially the legacy of the Bay of Kotor, and in what way.
Another way to engage researchers and experts would be through the use of the material itself. An interactive map of the Bay of Kotor and Montenegro with recorded locations where the content arrives will be provided. Processed material will be marked with one color, and unprocessed with another. The map will provide direct access to content related to a given location.
The ART segment is open to artists of all backgrounds and interests to stimulate creative thinking about heritage and heritage themes - its recognition, understanding, preservation, presentation, and endangerment.
July 21, 2020 - The traditional "Fašinada" event will be held also this year, but following counter- COVID-19 rules. It is to be held this Wednesday, July 22, for the 569th time. The ornate boats from Perast will set sail for the island of Our Lady of Rocks before sunset, at 6.30 pm.
"This year, due to the current coronavirus situation, the Fašinada will be held in more unusual conditions as we have to maintain distance between people in boats. There will be four people in the first boat; we have provided a boat 10 meters long to ensure the distance prescribed by the National Coordination Body's measures. The second boat with singers will be subject to the same regulations. Due to social distancing, there will be a maximum of two people in the other boats. This year we do not expect a big crowd due to a much smaller number of tourists compared to previous years," said Perast parish priest Don Srećko Majić to Boka News.
The Fašinada is a tradition that has never been interrupted and has the characteristics of both a religious and tourist event, being a custom that you can not see or experience anywhere in the Mediterranean," said Don Srećko Majić.
Legend has it that Perast fishers found the icon of the Our Lady with Christ on the rock (which is today on the main altar) and decided to immerse stones and shipwrecks to build an island and church dedicated to Our Lady of the Rock. Since then, the unwritten vow of Perast sailors is to immerse new rocks around the island before each trip out to sea, contributing to the strength of the base of the temple of their patron saint.
It is probably for that reason that Fašinada was created. The event is named after the Italian word "fascia," which means ribbon or bandage. It is so-called because the convoy of boats, decorated with tree branches and filled with stones, is linked in a chain. Only the pastor and men are in the boats, being the ancestors of famous sailors and more prominent Perastans, while women greet them from the shore.
Every year on July 22, at sunset, a convoy of boats goes to the island to fulfill their ancestors' legacy by throwing stones around the island. The island with the original church was built at the end of the 15th century. The church expanded following the changes in the island's dimensions. Today's church was built in 1630 and is one of Boka's most important historical and cultural monuments.
Fašinada, Photo Boka News
July 20, 2020 - On the program of the 19th KotorArt Don Branko's Music Days tomorrow at 9.30 pm in the Church of St. Spirit, as part of the KotorArt Talents series, soprano Petra Radulović will be performing alongside the pianist Professor Oleksiy Molchanov.
Petra Radulović is studying solo vocal performance at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. During the last year, she had notable performances in the capital of Serenissima. Among others, she performed with the young pianist Andrija Jovović, whose concert, also at the Festival, is scheduled for Saturday, July 25, in the Church of St. Spirit at 9.30 pm. Both appearances by these young performers will be broadcast live on Kotor's Cinema Square, in partnership with the Ombra cafe. It is also possible to follow the concert virtually, via social media platforms Youtube and Facebook.
On Friday, July 24, at the Cinema Square at 9 pm, KotorArt will start a series of talks with relevant artists, festival directors, and intellectuals, as well as on the impact of the coronavirus on cultural life, art, and festivals. The first conversation is reserved for two prominent Montenegrin artists, guitarist Miloš Karadaglić and pianist Ratimir Martinović, Director of KotorArt, who will host the evening. They will discuss various experiences within the current situation and its impact on the world of music, the position of art in Montenegro in these circumstances, and the perspective and ways of adapting to the new reality.
The weekend at the Festival is traditionally reserved for Jazz Square. On Saturday, July 25, in the Luštica Bay Amphitheater at 9 pm, the MP trio's performance is planned, which will be presented to the festival audience in Kotor on Sunday, July 26, at the Cinema Square at 10 pm. MP Trio consists of famous jazz musicians Miladin Perunicic (guitar), Davor Novak (bass guitar), and Ivan Ivanovic (drums).
In addition to these programs, KotorArt Don Branko's Music Days continue with the concept of the Port of Art, which includes performances by young musicians from the terraces of several Kotor palaces, giving a unique atmosphere of the Old Town during the Festival, as well as morning concerts "Boka Music."
The KotorArt International Festival, an event of national importance for the culture of Montenegro, won the most prestigious award in the field of tourism "Wild Beauty Awards" and was declared the best event in Montenegro for 2018. Every summer, KotorArt gathers an impressive number of international artists, and with over 200 programs (dozens of central and over one hundred accompanying programs) at numerous ambient locations in Kotor and across Boka. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors, making it one of the most visited festivals in the region.
July 20, 2020 - The fishing port planned for the southern part of the Montenegrin coast, will provide a sufficient number of safe berths for Montenegrin fishers. It will undoubtedly be another tourist attraction of the Ulcinj region, believes the Director of the Institute of Marine Biology Aleksandar Joksimovic.
Fishers use only a certain number of berths in existing ports and marinas, which also creates an administrative burden for them. This problem is especially evident during the summer months, when the tourist season is in full swing, and when a large number of yachts are staying in our ports and marinas," explains Joksimović.
The scientists of the Institute of Marine Biology pointed out the need for this port, within the process of negotiations between Montenegro and the European Union, through the working group 13-Fisheries.
They also participated in the development of the Fisheries Strategy of Montenegro 2015 - 2020 with an action plan for the transposition, implementation, and enforcement of the Acquis Chapter 13-fisheries. They gave particular importance to the provision of fishing infrastructure and logistics on the coast.
"Along with the rejuvenation of the fishing fleet, whose average age is close to 50 years, safe berths for fishing boats must be provided.
He points out that the development of modern fisheries largely depends on logistics on the coast.
"Once the fishermen have a safe fishing port, they will undoubtedly sleep more soundly, because at the moment every storm and squall carries the danger of breaking the berths and damaging the boats. It is known that the south wind is strong and hazardous, which develops from the Otranto Gate and batters the coast of Montenegro.
Once the first berth sites on the coast are built, fishers will have a more accessible opportunity to sell their catch in controlled conditions. It certainly gives a new impetus to the control by the competent institutions but also provides better and more accurate statistics on the annual catch of all fishermen. Such well-developed and modernized fishing is the future of the coastal region of Montenegro, and our society has a chance to have healthy food from the sea on its tables, says Joksimović.
Research of marine fisheries resources, which the Institute continuously conducts within national government programs for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development needs, and international scientific expeditions (MEDITS and MEDIAS), shows a well-preserved fish stock in Montenegrin seas compared to other areas of the Adriatic.
"More precisely, this fact gives us the right to request the exemption of Montenegro from restrictive measures, i.e., the Decision on reducing the number of fishing days and catches, both for demersal and pelagic resources, at all meetings of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean."
We have won key battles in this area, and for now, the decisions of the GFCM and the EU do not apply to countries that have small fleets and make low catches annually. This is of exceptional importance for the fisheries of Montenegro because we want to strengthen and modernize our fleet, with safe and robust ships, which can make better catches," said Joksimović.
He believes that this fact gives an opportunity to the processing industry, which should, with the help of European funds, open small, family factories for processing fish and fish products in the hinterland of the Montenegrin coast.
"Such a final product will undoubtedly have a higher economic value than raw fish. These products should find their way to the tourist gastronomic offerings of our hotels and restaurants, which should be taken into account. Of course, we should also increase the consumption of fish and seafood among our own people, considering that food from the sea is rich in healthy proteins and omega fatty acids," states Joksimović.
As an essential link in all aspects of this economic activity, the Director of the Institute of Marine Biology, emphasizes the vital role of fishers, as members of all national working groups.
"Fishers are the most vital here because without them there would be no fishing. They know best how hard and demanding the work is. Their suggestions and comments are of great importance in all initiatives and projects related to fisheries. As much as possible, we always accept suggestions and work to maximize their interest, says Joksimovic.
As a scientific research organizational unit of the University of Montenegro, the Institute is a link between fishers, their needs and requirements, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Administration.
"Because of their trust in the Institute, everything they notice, they immediately tell us, ask us for our opinion, look for scientific answers to the processes and changes in the sea, which they see. Through this mutual communication, we enrich knowledge, and we come up with essential data. We are especially dedicated to the appearance of new invasive species, which we have recorded in recent years. Fishermen are happy to receive the scientific teams of the Institute on boats, which in their regular activities get the original data on the state of our fish stock, which is indeed the best possible way of doing so," states Joksimović.
On the other hand, he adds, the Ministry has a reliable scientific partner in the Institute, especially with regard to making important decisions based on scientific data.
"In that way, we are all certain that fishing must be sustainable, respecting all the principles and codes of responsible fishing, which we have been cultivating in Montenegro for decades," says Joksimović.
He also points out that the Institute carries out broad international cooperation in the areas of Mediterranean and Adriatic fisheries, and sea ecosystems, which is borne out through many completed and ongoing projects, within which the Institute is a vital partner.
"Our wish is to make the best use of our "blue" field and to, as much as possible, increase the consumption of healthy fish and seafood in our society," concludes Joksimović.
July 16, 2020 - This year's celebration of July 13, Statehood Day of Montenegro, will be remembered for an unpleasant event in Kotor - celebrations with torches led to a fire on the walls of the San Giovanni fortress above the Old Town, thanks to which Kotor and Boka Kotorska enjoy UNESCO protection.
While the Municipality of Kotor comes with implausible explanations that this was an accident caused by celebratory euphoria, professionals and the public are still in disbelief - cultural heritage of global importance has been allowed to burn due to human negligence and irresponsibility.
The former director of the Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Kotor, Prof. Dr. Ilija Lalošević, said yesterday that he was shocked by what happened on the ramparts two nights ago. For twenty years, he emphasizes, there has been a ban on lighting with naked flames on the cultural-historical monument in Kotor.
Lalošević, who also received his doctorate on the Kotor Fortress and fortifications from the Venetian period in Boka, is one of the best connoisseurs of the walls, bastions, and other buildings that make up the complex system of the medieval Kotor fortress. He led the Regional Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments from 1999 to 2004. He says that at the initiative of that institution, the traditional illumination of the Kotor ramparts with naked flames during major festivities, such as Boka Night, was abolished.
"Just after one Boka Night, I, as the Director of the Institute, climbed the ramparts and went to the fortress of San Giovanni with the then representative of UNESCO, Mr Fubomishi Kudo of Japan, who was on an official visit to Kotor. He was astonished to see the remains of burnt sawdust and oil on the walls, and he could not believe that something like this was being allowed on this valuable architectural and cultural heritage. He was so shocked by the condition of the ramparts that he immediately took $ 2,000 out of his pocket and donated it personally for the cleaning and refurbishment of the Kotor fortress. Since then, any illumination of the Kotor walls with the use of naked flames has been strictly forbidden." Dr. Ilija Lalošević is the laureate of the highest recognition of the city of Kotor - the November Award - for his contribution to the protection and improvement of the Kotor fortress and walls and their inclusion to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017.
Kotor police remain silent
Even after two days, the Kotor police have not explained how they allowed the holding of a hazardous public gathering - a torchlight procession on the walls and along the waterfront on the occasion of the celebration of Statehood Day on July 13.
A public gathering violated the current orders of the Ministry of Health issued to prevent the spread of coronavirus and was organized contrary to the Law on Public Order and Peace, the Law on Explosive Substances, and the Law on Protection and Rescue. The unknown organizers turned the celebration into a scandal because torches carried along the walls by participants caused a fire that endangered part of this cultural monument, which is under the first category of UNESCO's protection. Kotor firefighters, with the help of participants in the torchlight procession, extinguished the fire that was reported to them at around 10 pm, and was brought under control at 1.30 am. It was completely extinguished just after 5 am the following day.
The Mayor of Kotor, Zeljko Aprcovic (DPS), told "Vijesti" yesterday that it was not true that a pine tree had caught fire on the ramparts on the hill of Sveti Ivan above the Old Town.
"This is not true. All the pine trees below San Giovanni are still there. Only grass and low vegetation have burned, " said the Mayor. However, the Commander of the Protection and Rescue Service of the Municipality of Kotor, Maksim Mandić, told "Vijesti" that several hundred square meters of low-lying vegetation and one pine tree had caught fire.
Aprcovic did not comment that the organizers of the torchlight procession at the Kotor Fortress violated the seasonal ban in force on lighting fires in the open and in public areas, which was signed by the Mayor, and which is valid from June 1 to September 30. Kotor is also awash with posters from the Municipality and Protection and Rescue Service drawing the public's attention to the fact that they must strictly abide by these orders and "refrain from any action that could lead to an uncontrolled fire."
"We are surrounded by the indescribable beauty of the Bay of Kotor and thousands of years of old buildings under UNESCO's protection. Please preserve them with us for future generations. Every tree is an invaluable gift of nature, it can disappear instantly in flames, but it takes decades for another to grow. Do not do anything that can contribute to its disappearance, because life has been chose here." Breaches of seasonal bans on lighting fires and "leaving burning objects in places where there is an increased risk of fire," are met with fines of 30 to 2,000 euros.
Responses from the Regular State Prosecutor's Office in Kotor, which initiated an investigation, and data obtained by the Prosecutor's Office regarding the organizers of this public gathering, procurement and introduction of several hundred pyrotechnic torches into the protected cultural monument are still awaited, Vijesti writes.
July 15, 2020 - The nineteenth edition of one of the most famous music festivals in this part of Europe - KotorArt Don Branko's Music Days, starts tonight in Kotor. In the current circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival management is bringing a reduced program, the dynamics of which will depend on the epidemiological situation in Kotor and Montenegro.
In the "Boka" cinema in Kotor, tonight, starting at 9 pm, the audience will have the opportunity to watch a film by the German television company Deutsche Welle. The documentary called "Symphony for the World" is a story about Beethoven that will run through the entire KotorArt Festival. Admission to the Boka Cinema is free, and seats are limited due to the country's epidemiological situation.
During the first week of the Festival, several programs are currently planned. On Saturday, July 18, starting at 9.30 pm, in the Church of St. Spirit, the best students of the Music Academy from Cetinje will be performing, marking a jubilee - 40 years of the Academy's existence. Another concert is planned in cooperation with the professors of the institution.
This year's Jazz Square will present some of the best jazz musicians from Montenegro every weekend during the Festival, in cooperation with Luštica Bay and the Wild Beauty Art Festival.
The series of concerts begins on Saturday, July 18, when the "Šule Jovović Trio" consisting of jazz pianist Sara Jovović, guitarist Milorad Šulet Jovović and drummer Martin Đorđević will perform in the unique ambiance of Luštica Bay. The same band will perform in Kotor the next day, July 19, starting at 10 pm, on the traditional Sunday, which has been accompanied by the sounds of jazz during the KotorArt Festival. This year's Kotor concerts are planned on the open air, to respect all security measures of the competent services.
"We hope that the situation will allow the planned program for the first week of the Festival to happen. All events we organize are with a small number of performers in compliance with the National Coordination Body and the Institute of Public Health measures. The audience indoors is required to wear a mask and respect the distance between individuals in the audience, which is mandated at 2m. Admission is free for all events at this year's Festival, and we ask our audience to understand during this year's Festival if there are changes in the program. Thus, we have just approached the audience responsibly, not announcing the thoroughly planned schedule, but we will gradually respond with the scheduled weekly programs," the organizers explain.
Weekly information, the planned calendar, and interviews with people from the world of culture, art, diplomacy, and economics, as well as information on festival profiles, will be available to all those interested on social networks and the website - www.kotorart.me.
July 15, 2020 - The Festival of the Mediterranean Theatre Purgatorije in Tivat should start on August 1 with a reduced program and conditions that are not limited to specific dates or the realization of the entire program. Whether and to what extent the language of culture must be redefined - whether muses are permitted to remain silent while plagues are raging - whether long-term abstinence from art can atrophy the need for it as a haven for the mind and soul... All of this, as well as the virtual dimension of culture and this year's Purgatorije program were the topics of the interview by Radio Tivat with Neven Staničić, Director of the Cultural Center of Tivat.
"On an individual level, it is impossible to stifle creativity in any condition. It even inspires and heats up, but collective projects in the cultural industry are a problem," Staničić believes.
"It is impossible in these conditions to coordinate guest appearances from several countries in the region in important international cultural festivals. It is difficult to imagine a theatrical event taking place with the obligatory application of all protection measures.
For the audience, it could be managed somehow, but how will a love scene take place on the stage without respecting physical distance, for example? Culture cannot do without an audience and direct contact. Although we received great reviews from all over the world for the online version of our Guitar Fest, I am not a fan of such an experience, which cannot be compared to listening and watching a guitar master from a few meters away.
We will try to realize the program as we know and can, in coexistence with the coronavirus. Sometimes it seems easier to deal with it than with cultural alternatives, and we want to stay at the level we have maintained for many years. Today we have surrogates at all levels. We have streets instead of assemblies, fights instead of matches. So, instead of the culture we are used to, we may get an adequate solution," says Stanicic, who is probably the main "culprit" behind Tivat having one of the most important theater festivals in the region.
The Purgatory Mediterranean Theater Festival 2020 starts with the theater's premiere play "The Other Side of the Wind" on August 1 on a small stage in the summer house Buća. It is a marine theme with an engaging text by Miroslav Antić, directed by Branko Ilić, in which students of the Cetinje Faculty of Dramatic Arts play, for whom it will be an exam, and graduation play. The rehearsals are going according to plan in the main hall of the local Cultural Center.
"Tivat Cultural Center has always been a place where young actors start their professional lives, and so far, we have done three such projects. "Tre Sorelle" is an excellent example, it is a show with excellent ratings, a large number of performances and awards, so we hope that such a fate will befall the "Other Side of the Wind".
The second premiere, "Application Volant" out of four planned for this year's Purgatorije, is scheduled for August 5. The rehearsals are taking place in Sabac, after which final rehearsals should continue here in Tivat. The play comes on the back of the celebrated "Jami District", with the same production team and author team. The text is signed by Minja Bogavac, and directed by Kokan Mladenović.
"It's about the impact of mobile phones on our daily lives, with a projection on the future. In the play itself, the audience will have to use their phones on which they will install the play's required application to start," explains Staničić.
This summer, local plays will be performed: "Filomena Marturano", "Bokeški D-mol", "Little pirate", "Tre Sorelle", "Jami District" with the celebration of its 100th performance. The repertoire also includes several guest performances - "Don Quixote" by the City Theater from Podgorica and the Bar Chronicle, "Twilight of the Gods" by the Belgrade Drama Theater and "Colonel of Birds" by the City Theater from Podgorica.
This year's Pugratorije will have its own literary and musical segment.
"On August 3, we planned to honor the audience on the Summer Stage, especially the women, with the musical-poetic evening of actor Ivan Bosiljčić, which would be a kind of replacement for the musicals that have marked the beginning of each edition of Purgatorije."
The music segment of Purgatory, the festival "Mediterranean Notes", will most likely be held from August 18 to 22 with three to five concerts, and with guests, world-renowned violinists - Nigel Kennedy and Stefan Milenković. The contracts have been signed, and the relevant Ministry is interested in helping to keep the festival going.
The program of this year's Purgatorije is much reduced, as well as the budget and financial outcome.
"The problem is not that we are now postponing, moving and reducing some things, but that we, even if the coronavirus disappears very quickly, will not be able to return to the level of 2019, but we must go back and start some things from scratch. We should be more than optimistic and expect the same budget for culture as it was at the beginning of 2020 if we know that we have reduced it by 80% at this time.
Perhaps it is now a consolation to be proud of what we have done so far, to have fond memories, and to know that we will have new beginnings. We're not going to move any more now from where we left off. I'm afraid it will be a few steps below. But we have enough experience, and we hope that it will help us quickly reach the level we once had," concluded the Tivat Cultural Center's Director, Neven Stanicic, in an interview with Radio Tivat.
Source: Sonja Štilet, Radio Tivat
Solana shut down, 1.3 million Euros’ worth imported.
14 July, 2020 - A combination of state negligence and deals with the boss of Eurofond have destroyed a promising industry. From being a significant producer and exporter, Montenegro has become dependent on salt imports and is the only Mediterranean country that does not produce its own.
According to the Statistics Office Monstat, Montenegro last year imported 1.3 million Euros of edible salt from as many as 29 countries and four continents.
Now closed and demolished, the Ulcinj Saltworks used to produce up to five times more salt than that consumed in the whole of Montenegro.
Solana was state-owned until 2003, when, after voucher privatization, the largest owner became Eurofond, owned by businessman Veselin Barović, investing about 800,000 euros. Barović gradually increased his ownership in the company through various recapitalizations over the following years.
Solana manages 14 million square metres of state land in the hinterland of Long Beach (Velika Plaža), which the management of Eurofond wanted to turn into construction land for the building of apartments and hotels, and also to bring it under the ownership of the company.
Solana filed for bankruptcy in 2005 with a debt of 13 thousand Euros, the year in which its book value increased from 22.6 to 31.2 million. DPS votes in the Assembly changed the named purpose in the spatial plan and Solana became construction land, however the implementation of the plan was prevented by the NGO sector and representatives of various embassies.
Meanwhile, those in charge of Solana’s bankruptcy administration attempted to sell the land as construction land, first for 250 million, with the price later dropping to 160 million.
Eurofond only interested in turning millions of square metres of land over to construction: Former Solana Administration building, photo: Solana Administration building
If the plan had come about, most of the money would have ended up in the pockets of individuals connected to Eurofond, explaining the lack of interest in salt production.
The last salt was harvested in 2013, after which the pumping of sea water into the saltworks stopped, leading to environmental problems. National Parks took over the management of Solana as a protected area in 2015, allowing seawater to be pumped into the salt pans, but not salt production.
At one time, 70 percent of the salt was exported.
Former manager of Solana Saša Mitrović recalls that they produced an average of 10 to 15 thousand tons of salt.
"Montenegro's needs for edible salt were at the level of three to three and a half thousand tons, approximately 30 percent of our annual production. The rest, some 70 percent, went to the markets of the countries of the region and Europe," stated Mitrović to Vijesti, adding that there was also more than enough salt for the roads.
"If Solana was 'alive', we wouldn't need a gram of imported salt," Mitrovic points out.
But, while Ulcinj's Solana was still producing, salt of a much lower quality was also imported from various places in Montenegro. And yet Ulcinj salt was of the highest quality, as evidenced by numerous accolades won by the now-defunct factory at many competitions in Montenegro and beyond.
Leading Ulcinj ecologist Dželal Hodžić says that for years no one has been considering quality, only price.
"However, wider Yugoslavia knew and appreciated the Ulcinj product as the healthiest and highest quality in the country, because in the southern Adriatic the concentration of salt in the seawater was the highest and purest. The fact that the housewives from Gevgelija to Triglav used our salt for the winter speaks volumes, because their produce spoiled after only a few months using other products," recalls Hodžić.
Imports mostly from Germany and Egypt
According to Monstat, last year Montenegro imported the majority of its edible salt from Germany and Egypt, a total of 256,076 and 235,594 Euros respectively, and the least from Sweden and Russia, 48 and 83 Euros respectively.
We also imported 128,389 Euros’ worth from Albania, 181,758 from Austria, 108,092 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 401 from Bulgaria, 453 from China, 42,354 from Croatia, 225 from the Czech Republic,1,940 Euros’ worth from France, 12,308 from Greece, 17,413 from Hungary, 1,990 from India, 9,627 from Israel, 10,396 from Italy, 392 from Latvia, 590 from Malaysia, 25,513 from Pakistan, 2,755 from Poland, 165,231 from Serbia, 5,312 from Slovenia, 1,675 from Spain, 28,402 from Tunisia, 72,593 from Turkey, 222 from North Macedonia, 764 from the UK and 986 Euros’ worth from the USA.
Although the norms for edible salt have now been tightened due to its allegedly harmful effect on the human body, Mitrović claims that even that would not jeopardize, or even affect the profitability of Solana's business.
"The saltworks has, and can still produce, a wide range of products - from table and road salt, through sophisticated items for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and even to the animal husbandry business. I remember, seven or eight years ago, we sold huge quantities of salt, truck loads, to the then Mesopromet - for tanning leather," recalls Mitrović.
The only country in the Mediterranean without its own salt
Ornithologist Darko Saveljić, who has been protecting birds at Solana for 20 years, but also studying the work of salt pans in the region that work on the principle of biodiversity sustainability, said earlier that Montenegro is the only country in the Mediterranean that does not have its own salt production.
“Sea salt from Ulcinj's Solana is made from the purest water of the Adriatic Sea and is produced from the sun and wind. It contains 97 percent sodium chloride, and the rest is magnesium, zinc, bromine - all the supplements that we buy in pharmacies. It is a healing salt. Montenegro now imports salt from Egypt and China that can be very dangerous. Slovenia has branded salt as a product, although their salt from the Adriatic Sea comes from unclean water and is of far lower quality," said Saveljić at the time.
Ulcinj saltworks "Bajo Sekulić" is still in bankruptcy, with Eurofond and related companies owning a majority share, around 75%, while the management of the National Parks expires next month. The dispute over land ownership, between Eurofond and the state, continues.
Continuing production is a prerequisite for the survival of nature.
Hodžić says Solana is not for sale because it is a national asset, like lakes and rivers.
"Continuation of salt production is a prerequisite for the survival of nature in this area, for birds to remain and in breeding-quality lagoons for white fish and crabs. In addition, if we start production, we also have high-quality peloid (medicinal salt mud), which we still have in unlimited quantities, and some hoteliers import it for eight euros per kilogramme," states Hodžić.
He claims that it is difficult to maintain the land as it is without production.
"We may end up in a situation where our saltworks turns into a swamp and becomes a source of infection and malaria," warns the ecologist.
He points out that he himself does not know whether production would be profitable, but that experienced financial and commercial experts would be charged with that task. As a parallel, he cited the example of a Slovenian saltworks near Piran.
"It was state-owned and operated with a deficit for several years. The state helped the company from a special fund all the time, while the managers devised a way of survival. Today, the factory sells salt in packs of 100 grams, as well as various souvenirs and has tens of thousands of tourists. They got back on their feet and make hundreds of thousands of Euros, and we all know very well that our saltworks has five times more potential than this," claims Hodžić.
Producing one kilo of salt costs two cents. Mitrović says that Solana can operate profitably without any problems.
"The maths is clear - the price of salt with all the costs on an annual basis, including the harvest, cannot exceed two cents per kilogramme. So, if we sell it for roads - we earn 100 percent, and if it is for human consumption - the profit is many times higher," explains Mitrović, mentioning that a 25-kilogramme package of table salt has a retail cost of 2.5 Euros, and per kilo 30-40 cents.
He adds that in Solana, the biggest cost has always been the salaries of workers.
"If Solana had 70 workers as was the case when it closed, we would need to sell 500 tons per month from a harvest of 10 to 15 thousand tons, which means 50 thousand Euros if the average selling price is 10 cents. About 35 thousand Euros would go on employee salaries, while the rest would be used to cover other costs," claims Mitrović.
He highlights that Solana, even when it had 450 employees and produced 20 thousand tons of salt 20 or more years ago, operated with a profit because it had a wider domestic market.
"The then Director of the company, while we were in the community with Serbia, said publicly that while the Ulcinj saltworks maintains production, the country (FRY) does not have to worry about edible salt," says Mitrović.
Montenegro now imports salt from Serbia, which is not a producer but only repackages imported salt.
July 13, 2020 - Today, Montenegro celebrates the Statehood Day, remembering the two most important dates in its history - on this day in 1878, the Berlin Congress recognized its independence. On July 13, 1941, the people of Montenegro led the peoples of Europe to resist fascism.
"O smallest of nations, the hard rock of a harder country, the throne of freedom, you great Montenegro," sang the English poet Alfred Tennyson. All that strength and freedom of a small - big nation seems to live forever in one date - July 13.
While number 13 is associated with the superstition that brings bad luck, it is unique for Montenegro - on that day in Berlin's Razeville Palace, in 1878, Montenegro's independence was recognized, and 63 years later the first nationwide uprising broke out in enslaved Europe.
Little Montenegro deserved to be written about by the London Times and The New York Times. The French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said that the July 13 Uprising is one of the greatest achievements of the libertarian tradition of the 20th century, and his compatriot, former president Francois Mitterrand, that it was the most significant event of World War II.
And one of the dates on which a consensus was reached mainly in Montenegro -that the July 13 Uprising is an event of the most significant national pride.
"July 13 meant a lot to the people in 1941. Not only to us, but to everyone in Europe. While there was Tito, there would be no other greatest statesman, nor was there before him, at least for me, but also for many, because that was the time when we were all friends, we were all one, and we did not see any divisions, we paid great attention to 13 July. Later, some meetings or ceremonies were held in the theater, which I did not attend because I was not part of the theater, but again that date is always marked ", Danilo Miljanic from Niksic, who turned one hundred this spring, told "Vijesti".
He remembers a lot, records a lot, and leaves some things, as he says, to silence. Although the people in Montenegro took up arms on July 13, Uncle Danilo says that he had already seen weapons some twenty days earlier.
"I enrolled in the Officer School in Bileća, and at the end of March, we were deployed in military units. They sent me to the third company in Risan and charged me with a machine gun. We waited for the war there, but we were told that an agreement had been made with the Germans. After the bombing of Yugoslavia, they sent us home. I asked for a rifle in exchange for the machine gun, but it wasn't there, so I left the machine gun because I couldn't carry it. "
Miljanic recalls the Ustasha massacre of the Serb people in Herzegovina in early June and says many survivors fled to Montenegro.
"Immediately, fifteen of us from Muževica went to the border, and there we found Miljanić from Dubočak and formed the Miljanić company, whose commander in the first days was Risto Mashutov. My father was with me too. The Miljanic company, together with the companies from Grahovo, Tupan, Golija, was in that part towards the border. There we heard that on July 13, there were armed conflicts, that the whole of Montenegro rose. We were already under arms then," Miljanic recalls of the first days of the war.
Milovan Djilas came to Montenegro after the extended session of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY), at which a decision was made to start an armed struggle. The people "reluctantly" accepted the idea, so instead of guerrilla actions, there were thirty thousand armed people, about 65 percent of the able-bodied population.
"Because of that uprising, the Italians had to withdraw six divisions from our side to appease Montenegro. The revolution lasted until mid-August when a strong Italian offensive suppressed it. It meant a lot that the whole nation stood up. The formation of the battalion began the following year, and in April, seven Montenegrin battalions were formed in the Niksić district, two in Velimlje and five in Niksić. July 13 meant a lot then, and it seems to me that it still does today," says the old man who was awarded the Medal for Courage for his success in the National Liberation War.
The President of the Association of Fighters of the People's Liberation War (UBNOR) and anti-fascist Nikšić, Slobodan Bato Mirjačić, said that July 13 was the brightest page in Montenegrin history because, on that day, Montenegrins rekindled their freedom.
"The platoons of the first Montenegrin insurgent rifles resounded in enslaved Europe. In a few days, most of Montenegro was liberated. It was the first popular uprising against the occupiers in Europe, an authentic Montenegrin event. Bearing in mind that the insurgents inflicted significant losses on the occupier and thwarted their political and military plans, the uprising was a unique phenomenon of the Second World War. It united the peculiarities and values of Montenegrin history and preserved its libertarian continuity," Mirjacic points out.
He recalls that Jean-Paul Sartre said about the uprising: "The July 13 uprising in Montenegro can serve the pride of the peoples of Europe."
"The uprising loudly announced that Montenegro would play a much more important role in the People's Liberation War, and thus in Yugoslavia, than the one that would belong to it in terms of population and size of its territory. With its participation and the sacrifices it made during the Second World War, Montenegro paved the way for the equality of its people in the new Yugoslavia. "We must preserve the achievements of July 13, for which many lives were given, to preserve the achievements of anti-fascism and independence, while nurturing the multiethnic and multi-religious harmony of all citizens of Montenegro," Mirjacic said.
Radislav Stanisic, President of the Central Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party of Montenegro, said that the Montenegrin people, led by the communists, responded with an uprising to the decision of the Montenegrin Parliament on July 12, when Italian fascists and separatists decided to declare independent Montenegro.
The next day, with shots fired at Italian strongholds in Čevo, Virpazar, Košćeli, Crmnica and other places throughout Montenegro, with the song 'Without a spring, there is no water, no life without freedom,' the Montenegrin people said with gunfire that only they could decide their fate, and not a handful of separatists led by Sekula Drljević. Montenegrin fighters fought equally for every inch of Yugoslavia, not distinguishing the Karavanke from Lovćen, nor Zagreb from Podgorica, so the blood shed of fallen soldiers obliges us to do everything to prevent the destruction of the achievements of the People's Liberation War and the socialist revolution. The communists remind us that the people who won freedom with blood and built the country with sweat do not need any dictators."
After the Second World War, the Montenegrin government adopted a special law establishing July 13 as a national holiday. On that day, ceremonial academies, lectures, cultural and sports events were held, while the state leadership of Montenegro would attend the central celebration of the Uprising Day. It was recorded that on July 13, 1946, ten thousand people were present in Podgorica, eight thousand in Nikšić, five thousand in Danilovgrad, and about ten thousand in six municipalities in the Durmitor region.
Along with these large numbers, it was celebrated in other cities of Montenegro.
The following year, on July 13, Josip Broz Tito came to the then Titograd, and in 1948, on that day, the Titograd-Nikšić railway was opened.
Since 2006, when Montenegro became independent, July 13 has been celebrated as Statehood Day.
The month of freedom in enslaved Europe
According to historical sources, the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia for Montenegro and Boka unanimously accepted the Central Committee's decision on the uprising, made on July 4 in Belgrade, on July 8 in Stijena Piperska, near Podgorica. In addition to Djilas, the meeting was attended by Bozo Ljumovic, Blazo Jovanovic, Radoje Dakic, Savo Brkovic, Budo Tomovic, Vido Uskokovic, Krsto Popivoda, and Perisa Vujosevic.
In Cetinje, on July 12, 1941, at the Petrovdan Parliament, the "Greens" decided to annul the Podgorica Assembly from 1918 and repeal the Constitution of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and all its institutions and declare the Independent State of Montenegro under the jurisdiction of fascist Italy.
In the early morning of July 13, the uprising began. Already on that day, Virpazar, Čevo, Rijeka Crnojevića, and parts of the coast from Miločer to Sutomore were liberated. Guerrilla fighting turned into a nationwide uprising on July 14, 15, and 16, historians say.
During July 15, Mojkovac, Bioče, Spuž, and Lijeva Rijeka were liberated, and a motorized battalion of the Italian division "Messina" was attacked near the village of Košćela, killing 70, wounding 110 and capturing 290 Italian soldiers.
Andrijevica was liberated on July 16, as were Bijelo Polje, Berane, Danilovgrad, Zabljak, Kolasin, Savnik, and Grahovo soon after.
One of the most significant battles was in Brajići, between Cetinje and Budva when a substantial Italian motorized column was attacked from an ambush - 220 Italians were thrown out of line, and insurgents had two dead and seven wounded.
A good part of Montenegro remained liberated until August 14, when significantly strengthened Italian troops quelled the uprising.
Translation of the text "July 13 lives, the achievements die out," Svetlana Mandić and Slavko Radulović, Vijesti
July 12, 2020 - The exhibition, held on Dvorski Square in Cetinje, is part of the annual programme organized by the royal capital on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the restoration of the Kingdom of Montenegro, and will run until September. The exhibition, entitled "Restoration of the Kingdom of Montenegro and the 1910 Jubilee Celebration" is being organized in cooperation with the State Archives of Montenegro, and the city's Tourist Board.
The exhibition includes more than 120 documents and photographs from the State Archives, which illustrate numerous events related to the jubilee ceremonies and the restoration of the Kingdom of Montenegro in 1910.
In 1910, on the day of the Feast of the Assumption, Montenegro was proclaimed a kingdom, and Prince Nikola was proclaimed King. At the ceremony that was organized at that time, half a century of the reign of King Nikola and the golden wedding of the royal couple were also celebrated.
Information for the exhibition states that the jubilee of 1910, according to many experts, is one of the most significant events in the history of Montenegro.
In the media of that time, both throughout Europe and on other continents, much was written about the fearless nature of the Montenegrin people "who have been fiercely guarding freedom in the Balkans for centuries."
The highest-ranking officials in European public life - emperors, kings, prime ministers, ministers, writers, artists and scientists - express their recognition and admiration for the Montenegrin people and their sovereign in many ways, the information reads.
The official opening ceremony of the exhibition, with guests present, was cancelled due to the worsening epidemiological situation linked to coronavirus.