“The queen of the Mediterranean”, situated on a perfect spot in the Adriatic, Budva has always been inspiration for artists and attraction for tourists. It sometimes reminds me of a Sleepy Beauty, frozen in time, hiding her personal story from curious visitors’ eyes. The most interesting spots in Budva are not so obvious, don’t draw attention and even if they do- they leave you wondering what it is all about. It is like treasure hunt, you have to be good hunter and explorer to find out more about Budva and its treasures. I will share with you some of them.
People pass by one of the most interesting Budva sites regularly, not knowing about it. At first sight, you wouldn’t say it represents something important to the town, but then, when you know the story, you start looking at it with different eyes: with respect and admiration. Ancient Budva graveyard was discovered completely by chance – while digging the ground to put foundations for Hotel Avala in 1938. Layers and layers of history appeared unexpectedly, giving us an idea of what ancient Budva used to be like. Roman and underneath Greek graves told us that people of Budva were lay down to rest here for 10 centuries (from 5th century BC till 5th century AD). It was one of the biggest archaeological discoveries in this part of the world. Graves were full of items one might need after life, considering the occupation in this one : ceramics, weapons, personal belonging, golden jewelry as well as glass dishes used for preserving tears as a sign of grief for a passed away.
Entrance into ancient Budva
This you definitely would never guess –the entrance into ancient Budva from 5th century BC still partly exists. And even stranger, it is placed in the most unusual place you can imagine-private shop. No, it is not private owned, but it is protected by low even though in a strange setting. Looking at the remains of what have left from ancient entrance into Budva, you will conclude that Budva was much smaller than now and that it is elevated in comparison. Huge blocks of stones placed on the top of each other without binding materials, tell us that they were built by Illyrians, first inhabitants of the area. While you are there in the shop, discovering remains, check by the way the offer of a famous Italian brand inside. Once Romans used to dictate the fashion in Budva, and what is interesting, they still do.
The square of churches
There is no smaller surface with so many churches like in the Old Town Budva! On a small square, previously known as a square of salt, one can find today even six churches! Some visibly stand out, like a church of the St. John with its high belfry, or the only Orthodox and still active church of Holy Trinity with a visible crack at the apse as a result of the earthquake. Others are well set in the ambiance of the town walls, almost being part of the fortification system like St. Mary on the cope or St. Saba the Abbot. Others have to be discovered in between others, like remains of 5th century Basilica and St. Mary’s church inside of the Citadel.
The strongest point of defense in the Old Town, Citadel houses now small museum and library, but it is more famous for its beautiful panoramic view on the old town and surroundings. It is perfect spot if you want to take some of the most striking photos of the old town. Another interesting thing to be found here: symbol of Budva, two fishes joined as one are carved into the wall of the Citadel. Story says that it was made by a local mason Marko who was in love with a local beauty Milica. As her parents were against their strong youthful love, they climbed on a steep cliff and holding their hands they jumped into a deep sea. As soon as they touched the water, they turned into fishes (carved in the relief by Marko) and swam away. If you are looking for your soul mate, you should come here and place your hand on this relief with fishes. It should bring you luck in love! I have tried…guess if it worked 🙂 ! Entrance fee is 2,5€ per person.
Narrow path along the walls will give you another perspective and more personal experience of Budva: you will see an intimate space of people living in the Old town, their gardens and a way of life. On the other hand, you will explore the fortification system, it towers and passages, having nice panoramic view on surrounding area and the island of Saint Nicolas at the same time. Walk begins near Citadel, doesn’t take much time (app 20 min) and is not free of charge-1,5€ per person.
Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum
Are you eager to find out what was discovered in ancient graveyard in front of the old town? Would you like to see fragments of old Budva, Roman coins, sets for play, roman urns, golden jewelry, glass and ceramic dishes and all other items that remind us that Budva was very well developed Roman town once? Then visit this museum, situated in ex private house. Among amazing items in this collection you will find my favorite: helmet of Illyrian solder from V century BC. Also, some of the photos exhibited were taken at the very moment of the earthquake in 1979. They stand there as reminder that Budva was severely damaged in the recent catastrophic earthquake. Others photos will make you familiar with the excavation period in 1938 and discovery of necropolis. Ethnographic collection on the top floor gives you an atmosphere of rural and urban life in Budva and its surroundings mostly in 18th and 19th century. Entrance fee is 2€ , except for children- 1€.
Two beaches, even though in the immediate vicinity of the Old town are well hidden from the view of tourists which makes them even more attractive. Mogren I and Mogren II are prestigious beaches connected by tunnel and named after Spanish sailor Mogrini who was rescued on the beach after shipwreck. Beach can be reached by narrow strip which goes along cliffs behind hotel “Avala”. Due to its natural beauty beach is attractive all year round and especially interesting for walkers, fishermen and adventurers. At the time of the south wind and strong waves trail is not safe, so it should be avoided.
Can you find these items in Budva and can you guess what is it all about? All items are situated in the Old town or its immediate vicinity.