The culture of Montenegro has been shaped by
a variety of influences throughout history. The influence of Orthodox,
Slavonic, Central European, Islamic, and seafaring Adriatic cultures
(notably parts of Italy, like the Republic of Venice) have been the
most important in recent centuries.
Montenegro has many significant cultural and
historical sites, including heritage sites from the pre-Romanesque,
Gothic and Baroque periods. The Montenegrin coastal region is especially
well known for its religious monuments, including the Cathedral of Saint
Tryphon in Kotor (Cattaro under the Venetians), the basilica of St.
Luke (over 800 years), Our Lady of the Rocks (Skrpjela), the Savina
Monastery and others. Montenegro's medieval monasteries contain thousands
of square metres of frescos on their walls.
The traditional folk dance of the Montenegrins
is the Oro, a circle dance that involves dancers standing on each other's
shoulders in a circle while one or two dancers are dancing in the middle.
The first literary works written in the region
are ten centuries old, and the first Montenegrin book was printed five
hundred years ago. The first state-owned printing press was located
in Cetinje in 1494, where the first South Slavic book, Oktoih, was printed
the same year. Ancient manuscripts, dating from the thirteenth century,
are kept in the Montenegrin monasteries.
Montenegro's capital Podgorica and the former
royal capital of Cetinje are the two most important centers of culture
and the arts in the country.