Budva is a coastal town on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro. The Municipality of Budva has around 19,000 inhabitants, with 16,000 in urban area.
Cooperation agreement at the level of twinning agreement between the City of Bijeljina and the Municipality of Budva was signed in 2018.
Budva is about 2,500 years old and it is one of the oldest towns on the Adriatic Sea. The land of the tribe of Encheleans, on which the town of Budva was founded, is mentioned in the myths about Cadmus and Harmonia, settlers from Thebes, Greece. According to the myth, Cadmus’ son was called Illyrius, which is an eponym of the old Illyrians. According to one fragment by Philo, cited by Stephan of Byzantium, Cadmus came among the Encheleans to the town of Budva, on a bullock cart, in order to help them (according to Apollodorus) in the war against other Illyrian tribes (“Illyri proprie dicti”).
The fortified city in this area existed in ancient times. Historians believe that initially it was an island, which later got connected to the coast and created an isthmus. Although the Greek founded many colonies in the Mediterranean, it seems that they failed settling in the part of the Adriatic Sea in the territory of today’s Montenegro, because the indigenous population prevented them from doing that.
Instead, there were only some Greek trade centres – emporiums. One of them, during the sixth and fifth century B.C., was in the territory of today’s Budva (Butua). The first mention of this town was in the fifth century B.C., by Sophocles, and Pseudo-Scylax mentions that it takes one day and one night to travel from it to Durres by sea, and three days by land. After the Illyrian Wars, Budva fell into the hands of the Romans. Convents or opida (“oppida civium Romanorum”) were settlements of colonised Roman citizens, settled in Illyria, or later the province of Dalmatia. Butua or Butuanum (Budva) is mentioned among these settlements. In addition to Roman citizens, there were a number of traders in these towns, Greeks and Orientals, while developed crafts resulted in formation of craft collegiums.
After the destruction of ancient Doclea by Avars and coming of Slavs, large number of Romanised natives retreated to the fortified coastal towns. In the early Middle Ages, Budva was part of the Byzantine Empire, with a Greek military garrison and Illyrian-Roman inhabitants. There were also Greek and Italian traders. Slavs lived in districts and they were vassals of the Byzantine Emperor for several centuries. After the Duchy of Doclea became independent, Budva became a part of it, and later a part of the Kingdom of Doclea. After 1181 it became a part of Serbian state of Stefan Nemanja and his descendants. Following the example of the Dušan's Code, during the reign of the Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Nemanjić, the Statute of the town of Budva was created. Later, this town was governed by Balšići, Crnojevići and Serbian Despotate.
Using the incursions of the Turks to the Balkan Peninsula, the Venetians conquered strongholds on the Adriatic coast one by one. Until 1435 the Srbian Despotate lost all territories except Bar and Budva. After the Despotate fell under Turkish government in 1439, the Venetians used the absence of state authorities, forestalled the Turks, and conquered the whole coastal belt of Lower Zeta – from the mouth of Bojana to Kotor. In this way the towns of Ulcinj, Bar and Budva remained under the Venetians’ rule until the Republic of Venice was terminated in 1797, and Budva became a part of Austrian Empire.
During the First World War Montenegrin army temporarily liberated Budva in 1914, and the final liberation happened on the St. Demetrius Day 1918, when the Serbian troops entered the town.
Budva, or the Budva Riviera is the capital of Montenegrin tourism with a tradition built since the 1930s. On 12 kilometres of the coast from Jaz to Petrovac there are about 20 beaches. The most famous are Mogren, Jaz, and Slovenska plaža, while the town-hotel “Saint Stephen” is one of the most luxurious summer resorts in eastern Adriatic coast. Over 800,000 tourists visit Budva annually.
CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL SIGHTS
The most important sights are located within Venetian walls from the 15th century surrounding the Old Town of Budva. Most of the Old Town architecture is of Venetian origin or style.
The most important architectural buildings in the Old Town are two Catholic churches – St. John’s Church, which was built around 1200 and until the Budva diocese was terminated it was ranked as a cathedral, and the Church of the Mother of God from 840, or the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1804.
Other parts of the Old Town mostly preserved the authenticity of past times, and the old part of Budva is a favourite destination not only for the visitors of this town, but also for all of Montenegrin coast.
Numerous cultural events, of which many are traditional, are organised in Budva and surroundings throughout the year.
According to tradition, importance and attendance, the most important are:
Theatre festival “Budva town-theatre” is organised during summer months since 1987, with numerous accompanying programmes. Intended to be an intersection of modern theatrical, art, musical and literary creativity, the quality of this event confirms its reputation not only as a host to numerous crews and artists, but also by the quality of production activity of the authentic cultural heritage of Budva and Montenegro, and its implementation into modern models of artistic activity. In a short time it grew into one of the most notable cultural events in the territory of ex Yugoslavia, attracting top artists and a large audience from year to year.
Music festival Sea Dance started its mission of gathering fans of good pop, rock, and electronic sound in 2014 at the Jaz beach, as an extension of Novi Sad Exit, and in 2018 it was moved to Buljarica beach. From its first issues it started to win international recognitions for the best middle sized festivals, and the list of music stars from all over the world who performed at Sea Dance is impressive. It attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Introduction to the tourist season is METUBES – International Tourist Stock Exchange, which is held in Budva in March.
The month of May is reserved for the Budva Carnival, and Pašticada Fest is popular with tourist and it is held at the end of June in Petrovac. A one-day event is dedicated to pašticada – a popular coastal dish, but there are also many accompanying contents.
At the beginning of September, there is a Fig Party, and on the first Saturday of October, there is a Trachurus Day, dedicated to seafood specialties, which rounds up the season of summer events in Budva Riviera.
The people from Budva made an effort to extend the tourist season until the end and beginning of the next year by organising numerous concerts and other events as part of new years’ holidays.
In addition to Bijeljina, Budva is a sister city / twin town of many towns/cities and municipalities from all over the region and world.