14 Mar 2019, 00:50 AM

12 March 2019 - The great mission of the Theatre City Festival, which takes place during the summer in Budva, was recognized by an international jury, comprised of 11 artists from the art world, which define the criteria for the EFFE 2019-2020 award!

Festival “Theatre City” is one the most prestigious cultural manifestations in the country and region, organised under the patronage of Municipality of Budva. Since its founding, in 1987, this Festival has been rebuilding the Mediterranean spirit of the Old Town and every one of its squares and piazza’s, but also parts of the town that are outside of the old town's centre. The Festival changes them into a scene in the open on which every visitor and passer-by can become a participant of the artistic act. Since it is, from its founding, an integral part of tourist offering of the city, Theatre City and the whole city of Budva became and an indispensable destination not just to ordinary tourists but also to cultural - tourists, and to that attests the fact that the festival is every year visited by over 15000 people.

Theatre City Festival Gains EFFE Label 2

After the Kotor Children's Theatre Festival, another art festival in Montenegro was awarded the label EFFE, which is Europe’s quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals showing their engagement in the field of the arts, community involvement, and international openness.

The Festivals labelled with EFFE award are embedded in the European artistic, cultural and social reality. They are recognised for presenting a coherent and curated artistic programme, supporting on-going artistic development, providing opportunities for upcoming or innovative artists to create or to be presented in their programme, helping to increase access to culture and attract diverse audiences, taking measures to be more sustainable, helping to shape, encourage and promote intercultural experiences for different audiences and artists and engaging with audiences, for example through educational programmes.

“Theatre City” was conceived as an intersection of contemporary achievements first of all theatrical, and art, musical and literary creations. With its program quality, the Festival still confirms its prestige not just as a host to many troops and creators, but also with a quality of its production activities with which it confirms authentic cultural heritage of Budva and Montenegro.

Data on the Festival acquired from Montenegro 360

14 Mar 2019, 00:37 AM

13 March 2019 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Milutin Simović paid an official visit to the Municipality of Mojkovac. Deputy Prime Minister Simović noted that Mojkovac is making progress. Valorisation of the municipality's potentials, primarily in agriculture and tourism, is going in the right direction thanks to the implementation of Government's policies aimed at supporting the development of Mojkovac and the North, the Deputy Prime Minister emphasised. 

He said that the Government would continue to support and implement development and investment activities that will contribute to the further development of the local economy, job creation and improvement of the quality of life of citizens, equally in urban and rural areas of this municipality. 

At a meeting with President of the Municipality Ranko Mišnić and his associates, the Deputy Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the evident results in the local finances, regular fulfillment of local needs and obligations towards the State, as well as the satisfaction with the teamwork that gives results in creating a favourable environment for investments and implementation of development projects for the benefit of the citizens. 

Furthermore, Deputy Prime Minister Simović said that a significant development incentive for Mojkovac would be an additional 900.000 EUR of revenues that the municipality will receive from the Government this year by the amended Law on Financing Local Self-Governments.

The meeting agreed on concrete activities on the construction of rural infrastructure, road and water supply, which the Government will support through the programmes of the Ministry of Agriculture. Simović also expressed special satisfaction with the successful implementation of the Žarski Ski Resort project, which will have significant effects on the development of tourism, the possibilities of placement of domestic products, the development of entrepreneurship and the creation of new jobs.

12 Mar 2019, 00:08 AM

11 March 2019 - The project Development of the Road Map Database, which is finally completed, provides conditions for improving road safety in Montenegro, which will result in a reduction in the number of traffic accidents; it was estimated from the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs of Montenegro.

The staff that developed the project, as announced by the Ministry, collected and processed data of 1.783 kilometres of main and regional roads, and in this way, they established a computerized system for managing the state roads network.

Director-General for International Cooperation and EU funds in the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs, Emina Mujević Kara, stressed that the conditions for improving road safety in Montenegro are being achieved, which will ultimately result in a reduction in the number of traffic accidents.

The Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section in the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Audrone Urbonaviciute, stressed that the Union would continue to be the main partner of Montenegro when it comes to the efforts to make the road transport sector more modern, useful and safer for all its citizens.

Assistant Director of the Transport Directorate, Ervin Adrović, said that their primary goal is to achieve quality management of state roads, both the effective maintenance and improvement of the existing and the construction of new roads in the country. According to him, it is necessary to analyse and store data on state roads, road facilities, their condition and traffic on them.

The coordinator of the project - SPEA Engineering representative, Lorenzo de Angelis, pointed out that the primary goal of the project was to develop the support management system following the most advanced international standards, configured and filled with data on the Montenegrin infrastructure network.

The project implementation contract was signed on November 21, 2017, with SPEA Engineering and it is funded from EU funds, within the IPA Annual Action Program for 2014.

The value of the contract is 356,8 thousand EUR, of which the EU contribution is 303,3 thousand EUR, while the state funds the rest.

11 Mar 2019, 20:59 PM

March 11, 2019 - The fortress of Mamula on the small island of Lastavica is one of the most idyllic spots on the Adriatic with a dark past and a more luxurious future, but not everyone is happy.

One of the things I have learned after 17 years living in the Balkans is that nothing is as it seems. I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen something which looks amazing, fully embraced it (often publicly) and then been quietly told by locals why I should not have been so enthusiastic.

The huge Belgrade Waterfront is a case in point. When I saw it last year for the first time, I was mightily impressed. And then I heard it was sinking, apparently both financially and literally. 

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And so these days, I have learned to contain my enthusiasm a little until I figure out a little more about the situation. But when I saw the Mamula fortress on the island of Lastavica and the plans to turn the crumbling stone ruins into a luxury resort, I was more than impressed. The plans were amazing, and the end product had all the potential to be just as arresting as the Sveti Stefan Aman resort. In an Instagram world, here was another incredible location about to cement Montenegro's emerging status as a global luxury destination. 

And I believe it will. And that the investors will do a very good job. 

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But this is the Balkans, baby, and not everything is so clean cut. 

With an old fortress on the small island, I assumed that there was some kind of military past to Mamula's history, but I had no idea that it had been a former concentration camp during the Second World War. None of this was new to the international media, who covered the issue in some detail when the 49-year-lease to OHM Mamula Montenegro was announced. Here is what CNN had to say, for exampleThe Guardian also reported on Mamula's proposed new status, including the Montenegrin Government's response:

(Trailer for a forthcoming documentary - Mamula All Inclusive)

“We were facing two options: to leave the site to fall into ruin or find investors who would be willing to restore it and make it accessible to visitors,” Olivera Brajovic, head of Montenegro’s national directorate for tourism development, told AFP.

Brajovic said plans for the conversion included a memorial room to former inmates. Relatives of some of those detained at Mamula during the war have come together to oppose the project, which they say is inappropriate given the island’s dark past.

“To build a luxury hotel dedicated to entertainment at this place where so many people perished and suffered is a blatant example of lack of seriousness towards history,” campaigner Olivera Doklestic told AFP.

(Extract from the 1959 film, Mamula Camp)

So many issues to consider. On the one hand, the chance to transform a disintegrating cultural treasure into one of the top hotel destinations in the world; on the other, questions about using the site for hospitality given its dark past, as well as (I am sure) local concerns about access to one of the few islands Montenegro possesses should a luxury hotel be built there. Memories are still fresh, and as we reported last year, the 75th anniversary of the dissolution of the camp was marked last September.

Mamula was back in the news last week for different reasons. As previously reported, excavation works have begun and more than 4 million euro will be invested this year. Photos of the excavation works appeared briefly online last week and made it to various media before being taken down, allegedly at the request of the photographer who took the photos. The shots showed the level of excavation ongoing, which caused local NGO Bokobran to protest about the devastation of Mamula's cultural heritage, in addition to the island's change of use after its painful past. 

On the surface, such a beautiful island and project, and just under the surface, so many issues. Ah, the Balkans. It seemed that local opposition was not against the investor (it is widely acknowledged that Montenegro desperately needs investment), but rather against the policies and interests of the authorities. My first question was whether the photos showing the excavation had been removed due to pressure from the development, something denied by the head of OHM Mamula PR, Dragana Becirovic in an email:

"No It was not an initiative from our side. We didn’t ask anyone to remove any photos."

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It is not my place to say who is right and who is wrong, but Mamula raises several important issues, and so I contacted both Bokobran and OHM Mamula, inviting them to contribute to this article. I am grateful to both not only for replying, but replying considerable detail. Rather than summarise and pick and choose topics, I publish their answers in full, so that you can form opinions on the full extent of the information made available. That will make this article long, but for those interested in the topic, I would rather provide all I was given. First up, Bokobran:

The Bokobran Initiative on the occasion of the latest devastation of Mamula Fort has sent an Open Letter to the Montenegrin public, and requests to the competent institutions to urgently take all measures within their jurisdiction.

As experts in the protection of cultural heritage, we would like to draw attention to the demolition of part of the walls and the excavation of the interior of the fort in depths of more than ten meters, which is touched by the adequate revitalization of the first category of cultural monuments.

As conscientious heritage protection experts and citizens aware of the importance of this cultural and historical monument, we have addressed the competent institutions. We sent the urgency to the Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Property, the Council for the Natural and Cultural-Historical Area of Kotor, as well as the National Commission for Cooperation with the UNESCO Committee, bearing in mind that the island of Lastavica with its belonging fortress Mamula stands in the buffer zone of the UNESCO Area of Kotor.

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In the latest recommendations in the Report on the State of Natural and Cultural Historical Area of Kotor, UNESCO and ICOMOS experts emphasized the importance of the careful management and buffer zone of the Area. We consider this kind of devastation to show that we are unable to control the processes in the field, day by day reducing the extraordinary universal value of the Boka Bay area.

Excavations at depths of 10 meters are not an adequate approach to revitalizing this cultural asset. With such urbicidal activities, it permanently loses the extraordinary architectural value. We note that during the execution of the work, a part of the defense wall was demolished. We also asked for the inspection of the works on Mamula to the Construction Inspectorate at the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism.

We are looking to investigate how much these works are being carried out by the provided permits. If these works are approved in this way by the Department for the Protection of Cultural Property, we insist on sanctioning officers who have authorized such intervention. If this is not the case, we ask that all competent institutions comply with their legal obligations and adequately process the perpetrator - the supervisor who follows the work on behalf of the Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Property, as well as the OHM Mamula company conducting the actions.

We appealed to the whole public because we believe that such treatment of cultural heritage once again places ourselves outside the family of civil societies. 

We remind of the fact that we witness the transformation of the concentration camp, in which many citizens of Boka and other parts of the former Yugoslavia found the suffering in a boutique hotel with pools of high-budget clientele. We also remind that the citizens of Boka strongly opposed giving Mamula under concession for transformation into tourist content. With the help of the party's private Parliament, the Government of Montenegro succeeded in ignoring the petition of citizens and appealing to the expert public deciding to allow the masterpiece of architecture and the place of patriotism a position of the greatest shame in the recent Montenegrin history. And all this is not enough, but swimming pools and wineries are arguing for digging a grave amongst one of only seven islands along the Montenegrin coast.

Along with the already mentioned aspects of the devastation of the material and immaterial heritage on the island, Mamula was once a colony of about 5000 birds. Bokobran recorded the mortgage of seagulls at Mamula with means of deratization.

The competent institutions have not found that there is room for prosecution and possible sanctioning of perpetrators.

Our address is not OHM Mamula Company. Our address is the captive institutions of the system, which do not act in the interests of Montenegrin citizens and generations to inherit this country.

Vuk Čvoro, architect

Bokobran Initiative

Cultural Heritage Protection Team:

Maja Marović, art historian

Miloš Petričević, archaeologist

Vuk Čvoro, architect

Danijela Đukić, ethnologist- anthropologist 

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Dragana Becirovic, PR for OHM Mamula Montenegro, sent me three documents:

1. Overview of the project and ongoing works

All works on the reconstruction and adaptation of the Mamula fortress on the Island of Lastavica are in accordance with planning, building, and conservation conditions and under the supervision of relevant experts. The Mamula project is undertaken in accordance with the highest international standards for the restoration of cultural goods.

The development and renovation of Mamula, a historic and fascinating abandoned fortress which lies in the Adriatic at the entrance of Boka Bay, has been carefully planned to preserve the structural integrity of the existing buildings while restoring and renovating them into a world-class boutique hotel & spa.  The historical value of the island will be recognised and honoured through the establishment of a memorial gallery which Orascom is obliged to develop as part of its lease agreement with the Montenegrin government.  The project will be a great addition to Orascom’s existing project in Montenegro –Luštica Bay.

We really believe that history should be alive among us, creating jobs and prosperity and pushing the younger generation to greater reflection on their history and their past.

All preparatory works on the island have been implemented according to the procedure strictly prescribed by the Law and based on the Government's consent for preparatory works of a larger scale.

In addition, on 12 October 2017 OHM Mamula Montenegro, in its press release announcing the beginning of preparatory works, said that the works would include, inter alia, "removing the embankment on the central plateau of the island and soil digging to the ground level", so these were not unexpected or unauthorized activities.

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Work on the central plateau includes ground and rock material removal. After forming auxiliary facilities underneath the plateau, the embankment will be returned, and the plateau will have its original look.

The preparatory works also include fencing of the location where works will be carried out, the positioning of temporary facilities necessary for facility reconstruction, the supply of materials and equipment, making temporary roads for supply network, the installation of sanitary facilities and the cleaning of the site from weed and plant that endanged the stability of the existing construction, in accordance with the consent for preparatory works and conservation conditions for this site, issued by the Ministry of Culture.

Planned works also include the storage and collection of original structural elements and stone sculptures that will be subsequently installed at the appropriate positions on the facility, removal of the embankment on the central plateau of the island and soil digging to the ground level, construction and installation of an autonomous construction power and water supply, site for and preparation of a temporary landfill for construction waste etc.

The revitalization project of the Island of Lastavica with the Mamula fortress will include a luxury boutique hotel & spa with 34 rooms, a memorial museum, four hospitality facilities, a shop, swimming pools, a non-motor water sports club. Access to the site will remain open.

The restoration design has provided for making maximum endeavours in environmental and body of water protection, i.e. two small beaches will be preserved; all wastewaters will be collected and treated, and, by making use of contemporary building techniques, heating and cooling needs will be reduced.

Orascom always implements only the projects involving low site occupancy indices, low-carbon emissions and restricted building height, all with the aim of preserving landscapes and natural areas.        

Global leader in the development of integrated tourist destinations, Swiss Orascom Development Holding, which is developing €1.1bn worth Lustica Bay project in Tivat, has signed a lease agreement for the Island of Lastavica with the Mamula fortress for 49 years. Through its subsidiary company in Montenegro, OHM Mamula Montenegro, Orascom plans to rebuild the island and the Mamula fortress, preserving the landscape and architecture, and securing the protection of the historic value of the site.           

2. An article from national newspaper Vijesti on impressions of a November 2017 Mamula visit 

A look at Orascom’s plans for the reconstruction of ‘Mamula’


‘Vijesti’ had an exclusive opportunity to take a look at the preliminary concept, i.e. preliminary design that Orascom is preparing together with local and foreign experts  

Austro-Hungarian Fortress ‘Mamula’ on the island of ‘Lastavica’ at the entrance of Boka Bay, which is under long-term lease of the Swiss-Egyptian Consortium ‘Orascom’, will be carefully restored with the utmost respect for all the architectural-conservation profession standards and with the decisive influence of local experts.

So at least they claim at Orascom's daughter-company OHM ‘Mamula Montenegro’, which the company registered in Herceg Novi for the purpose of implementing this Project. ‘Vijesti’ had an exclusive opportunity to take a look at the preliminary concept, i.e. preliminary design that Orascom is preparing together with local and foreign experts  

As they say in Orascom, ‘Mamula’ will be the pearl and the biggest attraction that will further position their project of the new tourist town of Luštica Bay at the global stage. This resort is being built by the company of Egyptian businessman Samih Sawiris at the Tivat’s part of the nearby peninsula of Luštica. Mamula project will also position the entire country of Montenegro as a tourist destination with extraordinary offer. 

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People from Orascom are saying that,  ‘Mamula is so unique that we didn’t think twice whether to enter into this financially utterly unfeasible project, in which we will make no profit, but instead certainly lose money. However, this is the price we are willing to pay in order to preserve this architectural-historical pearl and to turn it into something that will be world-renowned and become a landmark of our project at Luštica’. They are also recalling that they have already reconstructed similar valuable local cultural heritage site in the vicinity of the famous El Gouna resort in Egypt.

The Government's decision to lease the island and fortress to a foreign investor for 49 years has met resistance from the opposition parties, but also from a bigger part of the general public in Boka Kotorska, which is particularly emotionally linked to Mamula.

According to Orascom plans, the island and fortress will be carefully restored and converted into a small hotel with a range of related amenities and attractions, and shall be open to public non-stop.

Conservation, Design and Consulting Studio ‘Projector’ and its leader, Architect-Conservator Katarina Nikolić from Tivat, are engaged in the Project. They have produced the main design and the base study as well as a report on survey results. In addition, ‘Projector’ is working on a conservation and restoration project, which will be part of the main design, soon to be submitted to the Montenegrin Cultural Heritage Management Agency.

"Throughout the development of the main design and the base study, ‘Projector’ company has engaged, various consultants and other companies’, said Dragana Bećirović PR Consultant of OHM Mamula Montenegro company. 

Conceptual design of the exterior and interior were made by MCM Design from Portugal, which, according to the large model recently delivered to Montenegro, has done a good job.

Looking at the model (except for the fact that one cannot see the gray colour of stone from which the fortress is built), only experienced eye of someone living in Boka can notice small visual difference in relation to the actual look of Mamula. The design has definitely done away with large pools, which according to some older computer simulations were supposed to ‘sink’ the entire internal yard of the fortress. The Lastavica coast will remain virtually untouched, and only the existing boat mooring will be slightly extended and enlarged.

Instead of the three large pools, previously planned to be built at the elevated platform of the inner part of the fortress, where its main armament once stood, three much smaller pools are planned- one fresh and the other with salty water and the third –special one in which water will be purified by plants.

At the fortress’s tower, some hotel rooms will be located, but the tower whose open yard will be covered by a glass roof with a promenade, is primarily intended for a spa- centre. Most of the rooms (maximum up to 33 hotel rooms) will be located in dungeons and ammunition rooms of the Fortress Ring, while one of the two larger buildings at the beginning of the 96-square-meter meringue platform is intended for a museum, which will be telling of a rich and complex history of the fortress. In the remaining space there will be two restaurants, two bars and a wine bar, and the resort will also include a water sports club.

On the island outside of the Fortress, without damaging its natural relief, several sunbathing platforms will be formed, and the beach will be developed near the only pier on the northern side of Mamula.

‘There will be no casino on the island and it has never been in our plans. It is quite clear that the island and the fortress will not be closed to the public. On the contrary, for someone who plans to have a hotel, museum, restaurants and cafés, people’s attendance is a must. We said it many times and we shall be repeating it as many times as necessary that Mamula will remain open to public 365 days a year. This is also regulated  by a contract with the Government of Montenegro,’ Bećirović told us.

The only significant, but still just potential difference with respect to the current look of the fortress, which is being considered by Orascom and their consultants is the possibility of building two smaller annexes, from easily removable materials, at the top of the tower, i.e. in the part of the southern rampart above the position of the former main canon battery. ‘We have planned six additional rooms on the tower, which are embedded and do not disrupt its architectural entirety. These are temporary structures whose construction can be removed at any time. In the same way, additional rooms are planned on one part of the rim, across the tower, which will have a ‘green roof’,’ Bećirović explains.

When positioning of these structures in relation to the (non) -disruption of the Mamula landscape’s visibility, both from the land and sea, designers and architects have an advantage due to the fact that all the horizontal roof surfaces on the fortress are covered by a thick layer of earth and sand that were used to depreciate the grenade strikes that the enemy was firing on the fortress. This material will not be removed, and with its green areas, shall continue to underpin the specific appearance of this unique building.

The entire autochthonous plant life of the island will be preserved and further improved, so that Mamula will still be specific for its numerous agave trees and slender Mediterranean herbs, including its characteristic big pinewood that has been growing for decades on the south-eastern end of the fortress rampart. All the wells and reservoirs on the island will be preserved, while on the west side of the tower, hidden by natural relief and vegetation, there will be the most modern desalination plant for seawater, which will provide the supply of all facilities with potable and technical water. A sewage treatment plant will be installed, which will then be used for irrigation of greenery and other needs that can be satisfied with this technical water.

Seif Estefanous, one of the best ‘Orascom’ engineers, has been working for a long time on extremely complex infrastructure issue on the island. This Egyptian expert has a particularly huge experience in the field of desalination, waste water treatment, rainwater collection techniques and the like.

‘Mamula is definitely the most challenging project I'm facing, but we will do absolutely everything to protect the fortress’s beauty and its uniqueness in the best possible way, and here we are developing an environmentally viable system, especially from the standpoint of waste water treatment,’ Estafanous said.

He and architect-conservator Katarina Nikolic do not hide the fact that, as they explore Mamula and archival material about the construction of this fortress, which started in 1853, they are increasingly fascinated with the skills and craftsmanship of Austro-Hungarian military engineers and then builders who have used, in a very intelligent an sustainable way, many natural features of the relief, climate, and material from which they have built the fortification. Thus, for example, the rainwater collection system on the island is still working, which, after filtration, is used as drinking water, and one and the same technical water has been used multiple times even 150 years ago.

At the time Mamula was built, it was an exceptionally high-tech structure, and many of its unique features will still be of great benefit to us when it is converted into a hotel. It is fascinating how these people have designed it and built it so well,’ Estefanous said, adding that the floor channel system allows to easily implement electrical and plumbing installations and its thick stone walls and volts with natural ventilation of the former ammunition chambers, practically completely eliminate the need to install air conditioning systems in hotel rooms.

OHM, Mamula Montenegro company is planning to deploy a submarine cable that will supply Mamula with electricity once the new Klinci sub-station becomes operational, and sufficient electricity at Luštica and  Arza is secured.

Meanwhile, along with the work on the design, preparatory works are ongoing: the ‘Primavera’ company from Herceg Novi is conducting an analysis of the green fund on the island and also producing a study on preparatory works - the repair of the mole and the access road, for which the main design is done; the clearing of the former hiking trails is done by ‘Nikmar’ company from Tivat, while the project of landscape design and lighting is managed by ‘Gaia Chaillet Giusti del Giardino’ from Italy.

"The main reconstruction works should begin next year. In the meantime, on July 20, we got permission for the preparatory works and started cleaning hiking trails on the island, cleaning the invasive vegetation in and around the fortress, and we started the reconstruction of the dock and the access road to the fortress. We have cleaned two reservoirs in the fortress, and excavated at least 6 cubic meters of stones, which was then measured and deposited. We identified locations of the fortress to which this material belonged and everything will be returned to its original place,’ said Bećirović.

Their plan is to complete the whole Project within 18 months as of the date they receive construction permit 

On the question, can they complete the entire Project on the island within just 18 months, OHM Mamula Montenegro says ‘We are working simultaneously on design and preparation of documentation, obtaining appropriate approvals and preparing the site. Once the main design is completed and revised and we start working, we think that we will be in a position to meet the agreed deadline’.

‘From the day, we obtain the construction permit, or according to the new Construction Law, we apply for construction works, and we get electricity connection on the shore, our obligation is to start works within nine months and from that time onward the deadline for completion of the works is 18 months. Orascom's Montenegrin daughter company  also says that, ‘We believe that we will complete all the works and open the facility within that timeframe,’ reminding us that it is the first project of the kind in the country, that all the works are to be implemented on the island that is a mile away from the coastline, that there is no infrastructure, and on top of that that they are engaged in reconstruction and adaptation of the protected site.

They will bring 80 to 100 new jobs

The Mamula long-term lease agreement was signed on February 2015. Orascom, which was selected as the best bidder, got the island and the fortress for a period of 49 years, for €1.5 per square meter per year for land lease, and € 0.9 lease for the aquatorium, which is 50% more than what the tender asked for in terms of the minimum required amount. Announced investments are of € 15 million minimum.

OHM Mamula Montenegro claims, that, ’Once the reconstruction is completed the preliminary Business Plan estimates the need for at least 80-100 employees on the island. During the construction, and especially after the start of operations, Mamula will definitely trigger cooperation with big number of entrepreneurs and companies who will be servicing the resort - such as supplying fresh fish and seafood, general food items, maintenance of green areas, taxi transport and others’.

3. A 2018 press release on the visit of European fortress experts


European Fortress Experts explore Fortress Heritage of Montenegro

Pilot Study Tour in the frame of FORTE CULTURA® to Montenegro from 23rd  and 26th May 2018

From Wednesday, 23rd until Saturday, 26th May 2018, a pilot fortress study tour under historic and touristic aspects will be held at Kotor, Budva and Podgorica in Montenegro. The twelve participants are fortress experts and members of various national fortress societies and monument protection organisations from Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Ukraine.

The visit is part of a study tour between Sarajevo in Bosnia Herzegovina and Podgorica in Montenegro. The aim and purpose of the tour is to get to know different types of fortifications, to exchange professional experiences among professional colleagues, to examine further cooperation, in particular with interested people of three countries on the Balkans and other European countries, as well as to submit proposals and possibilities for the enlargement of the European cultural route FORTE CULTURA® to South-East Europe.

The tour is organized by Dr.-Ing. Hans-Rudolf Neumann. He is Deputy Chairman of ECCOFORT reg.ass. (European Cooperation Center of Fortified Heritage) and also a member of ICOMOS Germany. He is a co-founder of the European cultural route of fortified monuments FORTE CULTURA® (,

FORTE CULTURA® was founded in the years 2012 - 2014 and was a co-operation project of eight European countries of Central Europe. Meanwhile the culture route consists of more than 30 partners and participants. FORTE CULTURA® presents the „Architectura Militaris“ as unique fortress architecture with its very diverse tourist offers under a uniform brand. Fortified monuments have a big tourist potential, but only a few benefit from that. 80% of the fortified monuments are lesser known, not present on the tourism market, underfinanced and burden the communal budgets.

The main aim is the opening of historic fortifications for tourism development and better marketing on European level. FORTE CULTURA® is a main partner in the European Cultural Heritage Year 2018 and has opened the European Fortress Summer on 24th April 2018.

Especially interest will be shown to the Venetian fortifications as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, Lastavica island with Mamula fortress, some Austrian-Hungarian fortifications and Fort Kosmač near Budva.


On Thursday, 24th May 2018, the group visited during a bay cruise Lastavica island with Mamula fortress from outside. The group got an impression about the current situation of building condition and natural surroundings. After visiting plans and the model of the project “Mamula Island” in Lustica Bay Office, members of the group admired the careful planning of the whole project, especially the provided reversibility of new architectural constructions. A new, adequate function of the old fort is always a guarantee for the surviving of the historical heritage. However, it is and remains important that the old building substance will be recognizable. The group was impressed by all researches done before of the start of building restoration, because careful researching and planning helps to economize time and money. Also the group expressed its hope, that all aspects resulting from the sad history of the Second World War, will be considered under a memorial implementation. Mamula Island Project can be a future highlight in the European Culture Route FORTE CULTURA®, if it will be possible to consider all planned aspects in the upcoming realisation. The members of the study group expressly welcomed the fact that the fort, even after its completion in its new function, is open to the public and accessible to everyone.

All works on the reconstruction and adaptation of the Mamula fortress on the Island of Lastavica are in accordance with planning, building, and conservation conditions and under the supervision of relevant experts. The Mamula project is undertaken in accordance with the highest international standards for the restoration of cultural goods.

More on this story as we get it, but I will leave you to form your own opinions. To see how Mamula will look when finished, check out the official website

11 Mar 2019, 20:13 PM

10 March 2019 - Around 140 various costumes and masks from Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Herceg Novi and even some cities from Russia, took part in the second big Masquerade Ball on the 50th Mimosa Festival organized by the Igalo Institute.

The beginning was marked by the local music of Đenovići and the majorette club Lili, while the band "Stari Kapetann" was a great introductory to popular regional singer Dženan Lončarević. The participants and the guests described the atmosphere as unforgettable and hot. Dženan Lončarević sang all famous pop, rock and folk hits, varying Bijelo Dugme, Čolić, Dino Merlin, Yu Grupa as well as Tina Tarner hits, Oliver Mandić and Prljavo Kazalište.

The organizers provided financial awards for individual and group costumes. For individual - up to three members, 600, 300 and 200 EUR, and for group ones - from three to eight members, 800, 500 and 300 EUR.

The audience chose the best animators, the most original ideas and the most beautiful costumes and masks.

Mimosa Festival Brings Great Atmosphere at Second Masquerade Ball1

In the singles competition, the most successful costume was "The King of Mimosa and the Old Fisherman", the second was the costume "AmputiNiranje" (Vučić and Putin) and the third "Crimean Octopus" and "Mastrelak".

In the category of the group's first prize, the "Happy Merry Wife" costume, the second "Satiri" from Herceg Novi, and the third "Grand Stars Jury" equalled with "Exotic Travel".

The next masquerade ball at the 50th Mimosa Festival is on March 16th with Indira Forca at Hotel Park in Bijela.

10 Mar 2019, 00:26 AM

08 March 2019 - Public Enterprise for Coastal Zone Management has published a tender for the lease of 20 swimming areas and beaches in Kruče, Valdanos, Mala plaža and Borova šuma. Initial price ranges from 500 EUR to 9.940 EUR, no VAT included.

Four of the cheapest swimming areas are in Kruče and they can be leased for 500 EUR. Ice cream stalls are allowed to be installed at two of the beaches. The most expensive lease at this location costs 2.262 EUR, for a 100-meter long beach and with the area of 780 square meters. This beach allows for the installation of a bar and a terrace.

The swimming area in Valdanos depression will be leased at an initial price of 7.224 EUR. It occupies 300 m of length and 2.400 square meters of sand beach, as well as 125 meters of the western part of the shore.

The public-family swimming area in the western area of the Mala plaža has the most expensive price of the lease contract – 9.940 EUR. It is 95 meters long, 2.850 plus 6.150 square meters. One part of the area is public and intended for families, whereas the other part has no equipment. Three condensers are planned to be installed there.

Coastal Management offers a swimming area in the eastern side of Mala plaža, at a price of 3.660 EUR. It is 50 meters long and has an area of 1.300 square meters.

Minimum lease contract price at the location of Old town is 4.736 EUR.

As far as the location of Borova šuma is concerned, there are six swimming areas and beaches in the offer. Initial lease prices range from 4.170 EUR to 6.552 EUR. Bars and terraces are allowed to be set up in all of them.

The tender will be open until 21 March, 11 AM.

09 Mar 2019, 19:28 PM

March 9, 2019 - The Tourist Organization of Tivat is present at the most considerable ITB Travel and Tourism fair in Berlin, representing the rich tourist offer of the town for the upcoming season.

"The emphasis in the presentation of the tourist offer of the Municipality of Tivat is on active vacation and cultural tourism, which is the greatest interest of the guests visiting Tivat. Guests are interested in a substantial stay, which includes visits to cultural-historical sights and numerous programs organised in our town. On the other hand, the fair visitors expressed the great interest for the gastronomic offer and elite contents, and we are pleased to present the luxury tourism projects in Tivat- Porto Montenegro and Luštica Bay", reported yesterday from the Tivat Tourism Organization.
They explain that Tivat is visited mostly by high paying clients from the German market, which does not relate to the destination for a specific period of the year, but tourists travelling throughout the year. Tivat has continued seeing a growing number of tourists from Germany, so the guests from this country achieved 86% more arrivals and 56% more nights than in 2017.
"The announcements we have for this year will significantly exceed these figures. These are tourists who stay short of their visits (from 3 to 5 days), and we do not expect big changes in that trend. In addition to good announcements, the excellent air link between Tivat is for sure the promising factor for this market. With national company Montenegro Airlines guests can come to Tivat with direct airlines from Leipzig, Munich and Hanover from early May to early November," said TO Tivat.
They add to the significant oil optimism and the entry of the famous German air carrier Lufthansa into our two-rotation market every week, planned from April 13 through the end of October, from Frankfurt and Munich, both to Tivat.
At the Montenegrin stand at the Berlin Tourism Fair, on the first day of these events, the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation of Montenegro (MORT) and Camping Motor Touristik (CMT), the organiser of the fair from Stuttgart, will be signed, where Montenegro will be partner country next year.
"ITB, as the largest specialised tourism fair, brings together more than 240,000 visitors and more than 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world every year. This fair is attractive for numerous enthusiasts-travelers looking for new markets that are looking for a large number of such content in new and unexplored locations, which is a great step forward when it comes to presenting Montenegro on this Western-European market,“ reported TO Tivat.
They noted that their representatives in Berlin held numerous meetings with representatives of major German tour operators, marketing companies and organisations, media and other associations in the field of tourism.
Representatives of the local tourist and nautical agencies "Montenegro Destinations", the hotel "Regent Porto Montenegro", as well as Luštica Bay with the hotel "The Chedi" are present at the fair, in addition to representatives of TO Tivat. They presented their offer under "Orascom Development" in a special pavilion for development projects.
06 Mar 2019, 10:36 AM

March 6, 2019 - Gornja Lastva is a small Mediterranean settlement in the hill of Vrmac separating the Kotor and Tivat bays. It is the best preserved so-called upper settlement on Vrmac mountain, succeeding to save the cultural landscape confessing dynamic and rich past of this area.

Gornja Lastva lies at an altitude of 300m above sea level, 3 km away from the Adriatic highway. The settlement is located on the sunlit slope of Vrmac commanding a spectacular view of Tivat bay and even farther, over the peninsula of Lustica, of the open sea. The settlement has existed here ever since the ancient times.

gornja lastva stone lace

Gornja Lastva, a stone lace, photo by Antonela Stjepcevic

Stone, as a primary building material, and Mediterranean flora, hiding the settlement from view, reflect the recognizable Mediterranean atmosphere. From the early days, stone houses were built and torn down only to be replaced by new, modern ones. Although many of the houses and pertaining stone walls were deserted and destroyed in time, the authenticity of the traditional method of building and overall environment was never disturbed before the last two decades when some of the inadequate interpolations are allowed.

The best preserved and the most prominent houses today date back mostly to the 19th century. The olive mill dates back to the same period, and nothing has changed in it until the present day, olives are being milled in the same way as they used to be a long time ago, the mill being man-powered. Thus, during olive milling days, many inhabitants gather in the mill, socialize, sing songs making this occasion a cultural event of its kind.

St. Mary's parish church dates from the 14th century. Lastva inhabitants adorned their church with numerous valuable objects of art, like Romanesque golden cross, multi-colored marble altar, altarpiece with the picture of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary believed to be the work of Andrea Trevisano, etc.

Older church of St. Vid was built in the 9th century on top of the hill above Gornja Lastva bearing the same name.

gornja lastva montenegro for meCopyright:

During the period of its full life, in the first half of the 20th century, Gornja Lastva had about 500 inhabitants and more than 100 residential units. It was a self-sustainable system; enough food was being produced to satisfy the needs, there were seven olive mills, one water mill for grain threshed on 12 threshing floors, 24 wells, and five capping. On nearby slopes, there were numerous vineyards, olive groves, orchards. Gornja Lastva had its local government until World War II; it had had its school since 1845, parish priest, tamburitza orchestra... People from Gornja Lastva were excellent craftsmen, masons in particular. Many of them navigated on board Bokelian ships.

After World War II, Gornja Lastva, following broader economic and political movements, and people started leaving the village. The population moved closer to the sea, most often to Donja Lastva or to Tivat. The inhabitants of Gornja Lastva also moved to other places of Boka Bay, and usually even farther.

Majority of inhabitants of Gornja Lastva live today mostly at Donja Lastva and Tivat, but they come to Gornja Lastva daily. Gornja Lastva was spared the sale and destruction of units of architectural heritage, which happened elsewhere even to whole villages of exceptional environmental value. Rich cultural and economic past has got the strength which moves even the present day generations of the inhabitants of Gornja Lastva.

gornja lastva landscapeHouse of Stjepcevic Family Hiding Valuable Ethnological Collection, Photo by Antonela Stjepcevic

For the reasons of the preservation of traditional values and way of life, protection and restoration of cultural heritage, the inhabitants of Gornja Lastva got organized in 1975 into the Association of Friends of Gornja Lastva, which in 1991 was renamed to Cultural Heritage Association “Napredak” Gornja Lastva. “Napredak” is a nongovernmental organization founded for the sake of preservation and improvement of cultural identity, preservation of traditional customs and architectural heritage.

gornja lastva eco actionFriends of Gornja Lastva Often Organize Eco Actions, Photo by Antonela Stjepcevic

Former Association of friends of Gornja Lastva, today Cultural Heritage Association NAPREDAK Gornja Lastva, was founded with the intention to preserve the original values and particularities of Gornja Lastva by protecting the cultural identity, the environment, and architectural heritage. At the same time, the intention is to restore life in this settlement based upon these values. Aware of the fact that many circumstances and conditions of life have changed, NAPREDAK tries to find new motivation for present and future generations of Gornja Lastva inhabitants to restore life at the village, respecting traditional values. The intention is to find the right measure and ways of a restoration of architectural heritage which will not destroy, through “modernization,” what has so far been only touched by the time and survived in its original beauty. Often just declarative and somewhat politicized ecological slogans are intended here to be transformed into the way of living which feeds on the sources of the past of Gornja Lastva. Striving for complete restoration of the place also means the preservation of its cultural life.

gornja lastva gastroIn front of the Cultural Centre Ilija Markovic, Gornja Lastva, Photo by Antonela Stjepcevic 

Thanks to this organization, Gornja Lastva was recognized as the dynamic address of cultural deities, especially during the summer months. Napredak is organizing numerous programs dedicated to the natural and cultural heritage of the village and Vrmac, as well as cultural manifestations which present the Vrmac space as an exceptional stage in the open sky.

In addition to the traditional Gornja Lastva Feast, which will be organized this year for the 42nd consecutive time, Napredak has been hosting the manifestation "Landscape Days" for five years, where visitors can enjoy numerous concerts of classical and popular music, exhibitions and literary evenings. The feature of this event is organizing programs at unusual times in unusual locations.

gornja lastva music in the dustThe Concert "Music at Down" in front of the parish church of St. Mary, Copyright:  



06 Mar 2019, 01:33 AM

05 March 2019 - On the occasion of the World Energy Efficiency Day (March 6), the sixth assembly of the network "CIVINET Slovenia – Croatia – South East Europe" was held in Tivat, Montenegro. The goal of this network is to reduce pollution in cities through a sustainable transport system - with cycling, hiking, and public transport. This summer, at the network assembly, the representatives of Tivat Municipality announced the establishment of a sea line service between the cities of Bay of Kotor which will run with new electric ships.

CIVINET Slovenia – Croatia – South East Europe was established in 2013 as a network of cities and other stakeholders from neighbouring countries that deal with sustainable mobility planning and traffic management. The objective of the system is knowledge sharing and good practice exchange as well as the implementation of partner projects which are meant to finance future sustainable mobility activities. The activities of the organisation include networking and all forms of cooperation (which are crucial for more effective solving of urban traffic and mobility problems), from the exchange of experience, knowledge, and ideas to joint participation and synergy of the cities, thus enabling better usage of EU funds.

At the assembly, it was noted that Tivat has just over 14,000 inhabitants, but the city managed to initiate and realize significant projects in improving energy efficiency.

"Our goal is for Tivat to continue its development as a city which priorities include balanced economic development, spatial planning, and environmental protection. In this regard, in the past ten years, the Municipality of Tivat has been putting great effort into work in the field of sustainable mobility by introducing various models that show results," said the Mayor of Tivat Siniša Kusovac at the opening of the 6th Assembly of CIVINET and the round table on sustainable mobility that is being held in Tivat in cooperation with the network for sustainable movement in the cities of Slovenia, Croatia and South East Europe.

As the Mayor of Tivat explained, in 2018, the local government of Tivat Municipality paid special attention to promoting the use of alternative means of transport, to the temporary suspension of traffic to “return the roads” to pedestrians and cyclists, and continuing education of children and youth on this subject. “We are also successful in the field of EU funds, from which we managed to reconstruct a significant part of public lighting and build solar collectors on the roof of the Sports Hall. We have several new complete projects for which we hope will be competitive enough in terms of EU funds, "Kusovac added.

The round table on sustainable mobility also presented projects of electromobility in Montenegro and many other projects. On the occasion of World Energy Efficiency Day, the distribution of LED bulbs and promotional materials to citizens was organized in front of the municipal building.

05 Mar 2019, 00:36 AM

04 March 2019 - Turkish company Erka, which recently started building a luxury Condo Hotel LeGrand in Podgorica, Montenegro, will soon begin construction of a tourist resort on Sveti Stefan!

As reported by News Agency Investitor, the most recent project by Erka, named "Sveti Stefan Hills Condo Hotels & Villas", will cover 17,000 square meters and will have 22 villas and 104 apartments.

New Luxury Tourist Resort in Montenegro Sveti Stefan Hills Condo Hotels Villas 3

Tens of millions of euros will be invested in the complex in order to reach the five-star level and meet the highest demands of high-paying tourists.

The construction of the resort will officially begin on March 31 and project completion is planned for December 31, 2020, just around the completion date for the construction of the LeGrand hotel in Podgorica.

New Luxury Tourist Resort in Montenegro Sveti Stefan Hills Condo Hotels Villas 2

So far, Erka Group has implemented 65 projects in five countries, totalling 188 million USD.

Turkish investors have serious project plans in Montenegro, which has been confirmed by the former Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Montenegro Serhat Galip. He said that there is an interest of Turkish companies in the construction of Aqua Park, shopping centre and sports complex in Podgorica.

New Luxury Tourist Resort in Montenegro Sveti Stefan Hills Condo Hotels Villas 5

"The conditions for investing are very favourable and investors have confidence in investing their money here," Galip explained. He pointed out that until September 2018, investments coming from Turkey to Montenegro reached an amount of over 44 million EUR, and as one of the most important," the Ambassador singled out the construction of the five-star hotel in Podgorica.

New Luxury Tourist Resort in Montenegro Sveti Stefan Hills Condo Hotels Villas 4

The company Erka Construction was established in 1990 as a partnership of M. Veysi Erdoğan / Murat Erdoğan in Adana. Erka Construction, with over 20 years of experience, aims to create a different value in the construction sector with its long-term relationships and completed high-quality projects. ERKA is a global player in construction, maintenance & upgrades, mechanical & electrical installations, leasing heavy machinery, procurement, transportation, and sub-contracting.

05 Mar 2019, 00:03 AM

04 March 2019 - The first International Film Festival “Uhvati Film Montenegro” (English: “Seize the Film” Montenegro) will be held on March 5 and 6 in Kotor. The opening ceremony of the Festival, film screenings and the discussions are planned for Tuesday, March 5 at 4 pm (at Cinema Boka) and March 6 at 12 pm (at the Solidarity Gallery in the Old Town of Kotor).

As the director of the festival Aleksandra Božović explained for TVCG, film festival Seize the Film is part of the regional network Film festival Seize This Day With Me/Seize the film, which has been held for the past 16 years in Novi Sad, Rijeka and Banja Luka, and this year it comes to Montenegro.

First International Film Festival Seize the Film Montenegro in Kotor 3

According to its organisers, the Film Festival Seize this Day with Me - Seize the Film includes screenings of foreign and domestic films on the topic of the lives, activities and achievements of people with disabilities and the following programs: film workshops, forums/discussions with the filmmakers and actors who appear the films, a seminar for journalists and students of journalism, exhibitions, performances, etc… in which people with disabilities participate.

16 films from 13 countries (among which are Japan, Italy, Argentina, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, Russia, Germany, Serbia) will be screened at the Festival in Kotor and they are selected from the program of the Novi Sad Festival 2018.

The festival features 16 films about people with different types of disabilities, different age, social, national, gender structures. It is this diversity that gives a broader picture of the situation of persons with disabilities, so it is possible to notice differences in approach and position, but also similarities.

The first International Film Festival Seize the Film Montenegro will be opened with the Japanese short film "Wheelchair dancer".

First International Film Festival Seize the Film Montenegro in Kotor 2

"The film projections are preceded by a panel discussion on the participation of persons with disabilities in culture, on institutions’ accessibility in regards to people with disabilities, but also on content, as well as how people with disabilities are displayed in movies and in the media," Božovic explained. The panel discussion will be organized in Kotor on March 5, starting at 12 pm in the Solidarity Gallery in the Old Town of Kotor.

"Guests of the festival and panelists will be representatives of the public sector, media houses, artists, representatives of non-governmental associations both from the country and from abroad," said Božovic.

As explained by the festival organisers, the goals of the Festival are: “informing the public about the lives, activities, positions, and accomplishments of people with disabilities, recognizing one’s own identity and potential, facilitating a better understanding and acceptance of differences, and influencing the media to more adequately follow activities and events in which people with disabilities participate”.

The Film Festival has, is in its 16 years of existence, attracted the attention of numerous media outlets, and, as a topic, it has had an everyday presence in both printed and electronic media.

The festival is organized by the non-governmental Art Association 365 in partnership with Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro and supported by the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro and the Municipality of Kotor. The festival is supported by the Cultural Centre Nikola Đurković Kotor, the Cultural Centre Novi Sad, as well as the partner organizations from the region AS Parnas Novi Sad, Spirit Rijeka Association and HO Partner Banja Luka.

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