A new, beautiful and energy efficient profile for the Montenegrin old royal capital of Cetinje

The project „Beautiful Cetinje“ will provide economic and cultural revitalization of the city, and the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje will move to return former glory. „It is about a set of measures that will contribute to Cetinje and the historical center of this beautiful city getting a new, fresh face, that Cetinje really should have,“ said President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović.

This project, which the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro will realize in cooperation with the UNDP Montenegro, will contribute greatly to the economic revitalization of this city, but will also make a significant step for the entry of Cetinje on UNESCO list. This was the conclusion of the conference „Beautiful Cetinje“. The main purpose of this project is the reconstruction of the cultural and historic heritage and implementation of energy efficiency, providing of professional training and support to entrepreneurship and small businesses.

This project will reconstruct buildings in the historic city center, mainly those in which diplomatic missions were placed in the early twentieth century. The project „Beautiful Cetinje“ will start with tender announcement for adaptation of the Old Urban Core King Nikola’s Square. Restoration of first buildings (Danilo I hospital and Music Academy) are expected to start later this year. During the previous months, the Mayor of the Old Royal Capital, Aleksandar Bogdanović, made contact with representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Montenegro, many of whom announced support for the project. The conference was attended by representatives of the embassies of Greece, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Russia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Serbia.

During the conference two panel discussions took place: on the economic revitalization of the cultural and historic heritage (participants: Branislav Mićunović, Minister of Culture of Montenegro; Matija Dautović, the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje; Đorđije Vušurović, Protection of Monuments Authority of Montenegro; Goran Radović, Dean of Architecture Faculty in Podgorica; Jelena Janjušević, UNDP Project Team; Rajko Radusinović, Energy Auditor), as well as on the theme of energy efficiency in the cultural and historic heritage buildings (participants: Vladimir Kavarić, Minister of Economy; Ivana Vojinović, Deputy Minister for the Environment; Filip Aleksić, Zoning Secretary of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje; Željko Uljarević, Representative of the KfW Bank; Olga Memedova, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Vlasta Zanki, the UNDP Country Office Croatia).

Due to his inability to personally attend the conference President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović  sent a letter to the participants in which he says: „The realization of ideas unified under the name ‘Beautiful Cetinje’ is of interest not only for our royal capital, but also for the whole country because Cetinje has a special place in the Montenegrin history and in its present. I believe that, along with restoration of facades of many buildings whose value is priceless, almost as important will be the implementation of elements of energy efficiency. These measures will have multiple beneficial effects, while representing the best example and a model to achieve energy efficiency for other communities in Montenegro. There is one more element that must not be omitted when planning upcoming activities: the entire work within the project ‘Beautiful Cetinje’ implies involvement of the local population, but also represents a sort of encouragement primarily for small businesses, which is of extreme importance in this environment. This announces that the project ‘Beautiful Cetinje’ will be a kind of complementarity model of how to valorize resources and how to offer incentives to the local community, its economy and population. Also, I think it is inevitable to point out the previous joint action of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje and the United Nations Development Programme in Montenegro as part of preparations for the commencement of the project. Their previous work has given us enough reasons to believe that the implementation of the ‘Beautiful Cetinje’ will be effective and successful, and their loyal ally will be the state.“

According to UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Montenegro Alexander Avanessov, today’s buildings, for the way they were built and how they are used, can in some cases contribute to environmental problems. „The manner in which these old buildings will be rehabilitated in Cetinje will satisfy comfort when it comes to heating, cooling and layout, but at reduced levels of energy and resources consumption. This contributes both to the promotion of strategic goals of the Government of Montenegro related to sustainable development, and to the Constitutional commitment to the concept of an ‘ecological state’ into practice. This day is an extraordinary occasion simply because the Royal Capital of Cetinje has, by starting this innovative type of revitalization of its cultural heritage, decided to join a small but growing number of energy efficient and environmentally responsible communities across the world,“ said Mr. Avanessov. „Let us see what translating of good plans into practice looks like: five years is the return period for the investment of €142,000 for increasing energy efficiency of the Hospital Danilo I in Cetinje. This investment is expected to yield annual savings of €50,000. Successful, prosperous countries do not have fewer problems than anyone else – the difference is that they recognize their challenges and are committed to dealing with them. Over the past five years the country has achieved significant progress in terms of the human development, but a lot still remains to be done to ensure a higher quality of life and more disposable income at the end of the month. This will be achievable easier by investing in resource efficiency and by engaging domestic labor wherever possible. The ‘Beautiful Cetinje’ project is also very important in the context of the EU accession. We believe that a green economy is sustainable in two ways: for the environment itself, but also in terms of people’s ability to live at a decent material standard and to enjoy basic rights and opportunities at their workplaces. Thinking in this way in the coming years will help the economy to pick up, while at the same time competitiveness and development of local economies, promotion of small and medium enterprises, social development, anti-corruption, and enhancement of the educational system, science and technology, should all feature strongly in the national agenda,“ Mr. Avanessov explained.

The Mayor of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje Aleksandar Bogdanović believes that this project has a natural home in the old Montenegrin capital, which for centuries has been a source of pride for Montenegro. He stated that its implementation will help it to return to its former glory. „This conference has a special symbolic symbolic as well as a special value for Cetinje – it represents the beginning of a new page in the reconstruction and development of Cetinje, Montenegro’s Old Royal Capital – spiritual and historical center of Montenegro. In addition to historical and cultural dimensions of this project we should also underline the range of economic effects that will be achieved. Its multiplier effects will reflect in increasing employment of local population and strengthening their economic power, encouraging entrepreneurship and creating a new, modern and complementary tourist offer in Cetinje. Especially important is that the project is based on the principles of sustainable development, which are listed as one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. The development of the Old Royal Capital as a cultural and historical center, as a city museum and the city where the statehood of our country has been composed is an obligation of us all – of its citizens, local government and state, in which I am sure, we have a solid and reliable partner. But the development of the Montenegrin capital is also an opportunity for all of its friends to contribute and thus leave its mark in its rich history,“ said Mayor Bogdanović.

„One of the most important ideas of the late 20th century in the field of preservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage is the idea of ​​world heritage, which is based on the principle of universality,“ said Minister of Culture of Montenegro Branislav Mićunović. According to him, Cetinje is in the process of preparing dossiers for registration of historical center of Cetinje on the World Heritage List. „The path to the registration on this list is neither easy nor guaranteed, but it is certain that Cetinje has values that will make it part of ‘World Heritage’ and therefore we are committed to this project. ‘Beautiful Cetinje’, as well as other development projects have found, and will always find the support and understanding of the Ministry of Culture, provided that they are all implemented in collaboration and consultation with the Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Property and the Center for Conservation and Archaeology, in order to avoid failures which are very difficult and sometimes impossible to correct. We are confident that we will be cooperative with the Old Royal Capital in respect of laws and principles of the profession. This approach will enable us to make great use of UNDP funds and Cetinje’s resources. We will work together on the development of Cetinje, taking care not to disturb the harmonious blend of cultural heritage, preserved urban matrix and public and park surfaces that make Cetinje universally valuable. Only a coordinated approach will provide its long-term sustainability,“ said Minister Mićunović.

Being aware of the potential of Cetinje and its importance for cultural and national identity of Montenegro, at the proposal of the Ministry of Culture in 2010 the Montenegrin Government adopted a four-year development program „Cetinje – City of Culture 2010 – 2013“ which has already implemented a range of activities. Also, Cetinje is the seat of the Secretariat of Culture and Society, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The Old Royal Capital will be hosting the Regional Centre for Management of Cultural Heritage that will be nominated for a category II UNESCO Center, which will integrate the politics of heritage management and create conditions for a comprehensive progress in Montenegro and the entire region in this area.

On its path towards the EU, in achieving a balanced and equitable regional economic growth based on sustainable planning and strategic use of natural resources – Montenegro must invest in the development of:

– clean sources of energy as the main driver of a low-carbon economy,

– technical assistance to the private sector in integrating environmentally sustainable practices into their business model,

– sustainable management of protected areas,

– effective pollution prevention and control,

– minimization of waste and environmental risks, and

– strengthening the climate-resilience of the economic system as well as – enhanced environmental awareness and action on the part of every inhabitant, including children and young people.

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About the project „Beautiful Cetinje”

The Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Montenegro, implements a project titled “Beautiful Cetinje” in order to support the process of economic revitalization of this city.

The main purpose of the project “Beautiful Cetinje” is the reconstruction of cultural and historical heritage along with the implementation of energy efficiency, providing of professional training and support to entrepreneurship and small businesses.

The project “Beautiful Cetinje” will be realized through three components: (1) Support to law-carbon development through the revaluation of cultural and historical heritage buildings by implementing energy efficiency, (2) Encouraging education and training programs that will enhance a wide range of skills required to implement energy efficiency measures to given objects (auditors, architects, construction workers, engineers and other professions that will specialize in tasks of reconstruction of facilities that are part of cultural heritage, tourism professionals, etc.); encouraging of small and medium business and entrepreneurship by supporting creation of “green” jobs (3) Providing support to other innovative ideas that will encourage sustainable urban development.

One of the key aspects of the project is the fact that all measures of intervention to the buildings will be carried in a way to make costs of maintenance of facilities reasonable, including efficient use of energy. The main objective of the project will be also to reduce the risk of inadequate maintenance of protected buildings in the old town, which aspires to become an area protected by UNESCO, by excluding negative impact on their historic or architectural value.


Building by building, ton of CO2 by ton of CO2, euro by euro- we reach ‘eco’ of ecological state
Op-ed by Milica Begović Radojević, UNDP Montenegro Economy & Environment Cluster Leader about the implications of „Beautiful Cetinje“:

Zgrada po zgrada, tona po tona CO2, euro po euro – način za ostvarenje onog „eko“ iz ekološke države
Dr Milica Begović Radojević, šefica sektora UNDP u Crnoj Gori za ekonomiju i životnu sredinu o značenju projekta „Beautiful Cetinje“