Ulcinj, Montenegro

🇲🇪 Ulcinj is a town on the southern coast of Montenegro and the capital of Ulcinj Municipality. It has an urban population of 10,707 (2011), the majority being Albanians.

As one of the oldest settlements in the Adriatic coast, it was founded in 5th century BC. It was captured by the Romans in 163 BC from the Illyrians. With the division of the Roman Empire, it became part of the Byzantine Empire. It was known as a base for piracy. During the Middle Ages it was under South Slavic rule for a few centuries. In 1405 it became part of the Republic of Venice.

In 1571 Ulcinj was conquered by the Ottoman Empire with the aid of North African corsairs after the Battle of Lepanto. The town was renamed Ülgün and gradually became a Muslim-majority settlement. Under the Ottomans, numerous oriental-style hammams, mosques, and clock towers were built. Ulcinj remained a den of piracy until this was finally put to an end by Mehmed Pasha Bushati. In 1673, the self-proclaimed Jewish Messiah Sabbatai Zevi was exiled here from Istanbul.

The Venetians attempted to capture the town twice, in 1696 and 1718, but were unsuccessful on both occasions.

During the 19th century, the town began to regain its position as a flourishing port. The geographer Antonio Baldacci reported a merchant marine of 500 ships plying the trade routes between the Adriatic and Mediterranean coasts.

Ulcinj remained an Ottoman town for more than 300 years until it was ceded to the Principality of Montenegro in 1878. It is a former medieval Catholic bishopric and remains a Latin titular see.

Ulcinj is a destination for tourists, because of its Long Beach, Lake Šas, Ada Bojana Island and for its two-millennia-old Ulcinj Castle. There are 26 mosques in the town and surrounding countryside. Ulcinj is the centre of the Albanian community in Montenegro.

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Ulcinj has a population of over 10,707 people. Ulcinj also forms the centre of the wider Ulcinj Municipality which has a population of over 19,921 people.

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