The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes – Part 52 – Montenegro: Merging the North and South?

Transposing emblem by Ana Boričić

Introducing Montenegro to someone who has never heard about this small country is always challenging and interesting in so many ways. Everything from the nature and culture to its religion and national structure make Montenegro a land of many extremes. A quick glance at demographic facts on Montenegro shows how everyday life is naturally shaped by many differences and great diversity:

• Its population of a little more than 620,0001 citizens is comparable to a city or part of a metropolis in most countries.
• In one day you can go sea diving and be at top of one of the highest mountains (Bobotov kuk, with an elevation of 2,522 m2).
• The territory of Montenegro covers 13,4503 square kilometers and makes it the 41st4 smallest country in the world.
• There are two alphabets, used as equal, Cyrillic and Latin, and five native languages in official use, with none of them being English.

Kotor, Montenegro – The Bay of Kotor – TMP – An Instant of Time

Being Montenegrin means enjoying a mostly “sunny” life within the borders of national, religious, economic and political differences. Talking about Montenegro lifestyle is difficult because it depends where exactly you find yourself in the country. Despite its small size, the south and north of Montenegro are very distinct when it comes to the lifestyle a person has in these areas.

Budva, Montenegro – Old town – F8 studio

If we start with economic factors indicating the quality of life, there is a big difference in terms of how the economic situation in these areas is developing. The southern belt of Montenegro is attractive to tourists for its wild beauty and for foreign investors because of its economic potential. Although the history of all of Montenegro is very unusual in terms of the number of governments in this Balkan region, the southern part of Montenegro had its own peculiarity and authenticity also in periods when Montenegro did not have its independence, but was part of other state structures (in recent history: the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, etc). Legacies of the cultural heritage (Illyrians, Byzantines, Venetians, Austrians, French, etc.)5 are still present and stunning. Combine that with beautiful nature and this part of Montenegro can be considered unique. Due to the increasing amount of foreign direct investment, the development of infrastructure, as well as many years of priority investments and reliance on “sea” tourism, this part of Montenegro is steadily developing and expanding, sometimes even damaging natural beauty and its resources.

Przno, Montenegro – Vacation – Alexey Oblov

When it comes to the economic aspect of life on the coast, the growing numbers of foreign tourists, investments, as well as the opening of the economy to new international companies has caused this region to be characterized by economic stability. The abundance of sunny days, its proximity to the central (economic) area of Montenegro, good infrastructure and higher salaries are some of the benefits of living by the seaside. Although the tourists during the summer months cause a certain amount of hectic, traffic jams, impede day-to-day obligations, and increase retail prices, these are the costs of generating revenue during the summer, which in many cases is enough for a stable life for the rest of the year. The average resident of Budva, one of the most famous coastal cities in Montenegro, has a very moderate, peaceful life (due to less cultural, social and other urban activity) during the winter, but usually has at least one property/room for rent, which generates substantial passive income.

Perast, Montenegro – Locals relaxing – Danil Voronin

Moving along the road to Podgorica, the capital, and further north, we find that the economy, society and nature differ substantially from the south. Although the northern belt of Montenegro covers more than half of the total territory, the sporadically settled area and poor infrastructure make it inaccessible and therefore less favorable for daily life. Although the beautiful nature is very diverse, and the area has many natural resources, which are also suitable for economic exploitation, the region is underutilized and has suffered from insufficient development. Low salaries, closed factories, few start-ups (despite tax breaks) in this economically backward region have driven young people to migrate to the central and southern part of Montenegro. Although a large percentage of the inhabitants work in agriculture and animal husbandry, these industries are usually at the level of meeting personal needs and are not aimed at further market exploitation. The north of Montenegro holds untouched beauty, diverse in nature, with beautiful scenery, deep canyons, vast pastures, fast rivers, mountainous plateaus and, as such, it is very suitable for developing tourism. The tourism potential of the northern region is steadily being realized, but this has not stopped the exodus of people from this part of Montenegro.

Dobrota, Montenegro – Fishing – Karina Bostanika

The north is becoming more and more empty, with net migration in the period from 2003 to 2011 being minus 17,1616 inhabitants, which is a very significant figure for such a small country. If you live in Mojkovac, a town in the north with 8,622 residents,7 you do not have the opportunity to go to the cinema to watch a movie, enroll in college, play water polo, etc. The only option would be to go to the closest urban town, which is about two and a half hours away. When we consider this distance, it is clear why a certain person would not choose to lead a peaceful life in the north and prefer the central part of Montenegro. The great diversity of the north, the extensive inaccessible rural areas as well as the wild nature make it difficult for the inhabitants to connect. This is unlike the south, which, due to the warmer climate, has “lighter” main roads and is better connected and therefore more visited, culturally richer, more economically stable and connected to the rest of the world by an airport.

Kotor, Montenegro – Climbing together – Karina Bostanika

Not only are there significant differences in the natural beauty of the two landscapes, views of life and opportunities, but the mentality of the inhabitants in these opposite regions also diverges, starting with their cultural heritage and extending to the historical background and past in different state structures. Montenegro’s geographical position places it between the East and West: The collision of different cultures, nations, as well as religions, is not alien to these regions, and it is therefore difficult to generally define the mentality of a particular region since both have a heterogeneous structure, which, in my personal opinion, enriches every aspect of life in such a small country.

Žabljak, Montenegro – Here and there – Maurice Lesca

Despite these differences, all citizens of Montenegro share similar hopes. They would like a highway to connect all the regions of the country. This would mean connecting the north and the central part, and therefore the south of Montenegro, so a higher percentage of young people would stay in their hometowns and a richer social life would be achieved in every sense. The idyllic dream is to connect the sea with the mountains, the sunshine with the snow, the shoreline with the pasture. In this dream, Montenegro becomes a place where, regardless of our birth, cultural heritage or social environment, we have, we will be able to enjoy, the same opportunities and a somewhat harmonious lifestyle.

Ana Boričić

Works cited:

1. https://www.destatis.de/Europa/EN/Country/Candidate-countries/Montenegro.html
2. https://www.summitpost.org/bobotov-kuk/152989
3. https://www.destatis.de/Europa/EN/Country/Candidate-countries/Montenegro.html
4. https://www.countries-ofthe-world.com/smallest-countries.html
5. https://me.visit-montenegro.com/main-cities/kotor/kotor-history/
6. Strategija regionalnog razvoja Crne Gore za period 2014-2020. godina – nacrt, Ministarstvo ekonomije, Crna Gora, maj 2014
7. http://www.mojkovac.me/o-gradu/stanovnitvo

Credits

Snapshot 1: Budva, Montenegro – The transparent sea – Naeblys (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 2: Kotor, Montenegro – The Bay of Kotor – TMP – An Instant of Time (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 3: Budva, Montenegro – Old town – F8 studio (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 4: Przno, Montenegro – Vacation – Alexey Oblov (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 5: Perast, Montenegro – Locals relaxing – Danil Voronin (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 6: Dobrota, Montenegro – Fishing – Karina Bostanika (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 7: Kotor, Montenegro – Climbing together – Karina Bostanika (Shutterstock)

Snapshot 8: Žabljak, Montenegro – Here and there – Maurice Lesca (Shutterstock)

Cinemblem voiceover: Talia Stotts

Locations

Home: www.perypatetik.net

Social: www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel

The Syncretion of Polarization and Extremes

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Dastan, S.A. Polarization and the Epidemic of Extremity – Turkey. August 2019.

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Kanunova, Nigina. Role of Polarization in the Life of an Individual and Society – Tajikistan. July 2019.

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Milivojevic, Stevan. Polarizing LGBTIQ Life – Croatia. November 2019.

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Skobic, Alexandar. The Loss of Identity – The Balkans. April 2019.

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Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

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