Ulcinj is one of the oldes cities in Montenegro, with its 2000-year history providing it with many landmarks, the most visited among which are The Old Town, the Balšić Tower, as well as the big fortress and citadel. The famous Miguel de Cervantes was imprisoned in Ulcinj, publishing his masterpiece, Don Quixote, shortly after his release.
The Foretress of Ulcinj a mighty fortification system encircles the Ulcinj Old Town. The Ulcinj Fortress is located on a stone cape, with strong waves hitting its impenetrable walls. The Old Town is very much similar to medieval cities protected by massive walls. Inside the walls, there is a citadel called “The Upper Town“. Around 100 black slaves lived in Ulcinj, and one of the slaves, who spent five years in prison in the Ulcinj Fortress, was Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes himself. After his liberation, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote. It is thought that two female characters in the work were inspired by Cervantes’s stay in Ulcinj. One of the small squares inside the Old Town is called “Trg Robova (Slave Square)“, which is believed to have once been a slave trade spot. The Old Town can be entered from the northern gate of the city.
The Balšić Tower is located in the Old City. The Balšić family was a medieval dynasty, which ruled over Zeta (an old name for the part of Montenegro near to the Skadar Lake) between 1360 and 1421. After the fall of the Serbian Empire, the Balšić family ruled over Montenegro independently. In time, they ruled over Metohija and Travunija as well. They had no titles like King, Vojvoda or Knez, instead refering to each other as “gospodin (Sir)“. They were related to the Nemanjić dynasty.
The Old Ulcinj is located outside the city walls, some two kilometers away from Novi Ulcinj (New Ulcinj). This landmark has a unique Oriental flair to it, with its old streets witnessing the many rulers who came and went through the city. When you walk these streets, you will feel as if you lived during the time of the Sultans, Agas and Pashas, with the old, one-storey Turkish houses speaking to you not only of feuds, sabres and swords, but also of beautiful woman-slaves, the richly decorated Turkish national costumes, their delicacies and bazaars. In the many souvenir shops that are located along the narrow streets of the city, you’ll be able to buy beautiful Turkish scarfs, blouzes with gold and silver strands, while the sound of Islamic prairs lingers in the air.
The Summer Festival or Ljetna Scena is as cultural manifestation organized every third week in August, on the plateau in front of the Balšić Tower. This manifestation is a haven for fans of drama, music and literature. For the last 12 years, at the end of July, a book fair has been orgaized to promote the newest works of both foreign and Montenegrin authors. In December, the Cultural Center organizes the International Children’s Fair, during which many different competitions are held. Children perform their own music at the festival and, apart from children, many composers and song-writers attend the event.