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Moraca River: The Heartbeat of Podgorica

Millennium bridge in Podgorica

The Enchanting Force

The Morača River, flowing through the vibrant city of Podgorica, is more than just a body of water; it’s the life of the region, offering both locals and visitors a tranquil escape in the middle of the city and its bustle. The river’s journey from the rugged landscapes of the Morača River Canyon to the calm plains of Podgorica is a testament to Montenegro’s diverse geographical tapestry. Stretching over 113 kilometers (about 70.21 mi), this river carves a path from north to south, ultimately finding its way into the stunning Lake Skadar.

As the river meanders through the city, it brings stories of history, culture, and nature intertwined. The Morača River Canyon, with its awe-inspiring cliffs and lush vegetation, presents an opportunity for adventurers and nature enthusiasts to delve into the heart of Montenegro’s wild beauty.

Millennium bridge over Morača River

Bridges: The Veins of Podgorica 

The numerous bridges spanning the Morača River are more than just functional structures; they are symbols of connection and continuity. Among these, the Millennium Bridge stands as a modern marvel, its silhouette gracing the city’s postcards, while the historic Vezirov Bridge tells stories of a bygone era. These bridges, including those over the Zeta and Ribnica rivers, offer panoramic vistas of the city and serve as daily reminders of Podgorica’s rich past and dynamic present. The city boasts around ten bridges from one entrance to the other.

Engaging with Nature

The river’s presence in the city is a constant invitation to engage with nature. Its banks serve as venues for leisurely strolls, morning jogs, and evening walks under the setting sun. The must-visit place for citizens and tourists is the lovely promenade on the Morača riverbank just below the Njegošev park and at the very center of the Capital. The promenade is surrounded by the river’s tranquil sound and the greenery of the lush vegetation on both shores. Many such parts of Morača’s coastline provide a peaceful avenue for relaxation, picknicks and socialization right in the city center.

Furthermore, it is good to know that based on the findings of a 2022 study conducted by the European Environmental Agency, Podgorica proudly holds the title of the 5th greenest city in Europe within the ‘total green infrastructure’ category.

Old Bridge over Ribnica river

Skaline: The Cultural Heartbeat

At the confluence of the Morača and Ribnica rivers, Skaline (or Sastavci) emerges as a cultural and historical oasis. Here, remnants from the Ottoman era, such as a quaint bridge and staircase, mark a place that has evolved into a place of friendly gatherings. This spot, buzzing with the energy of young people enjoying summer nights with guitars and laughter, represents the vibrant spirit of Podgorica’s youth.

Doclea: A Glimpse into the Ancient

Just as Skaline sits at the meeting point of the Morača and Ribnica, another significant confluence occurs at the junction of the Morača and Zeta rivers. Here lies Doclea (Duklja), the most important archaeological site in Montenegro and ancient Roman city. The remnants of Doclea speak volumes about the region’s historical significance, offering a tangible connection to the past civilizations that once flourished in Montenegro.
Doclea was named after the Illyrian tribe Docleati on which territory it was built. Although it was naturally protected by deep basins of three rivers which surround it, Doclea was also surrounded by massive walls, 2-2, 50 m thick, with towers and battlements in the most important places, and fortified bridges across the rivers.  Although the town was situated beside three rivers, the water supplying system was in use, which brought water from the Cijevna River, and which remains are visible even today.

Morača river in Podgorica during a sunny day

Embracing the River

The Morača River is not only a source of inspiration for songs and artworks but also a playground for various activities. Kayaking down its clear waters offers an exhilarating perspective of Podgorica’s natural landscapes, while the annual diving competition off the Vezirov Bridge draws professionals, highlighting the river’s role in the city’s recreational life. Despite its chilly mountain waters, people regularly swim in the Morača, with numerous beaches dotting its course, especially on the outskirts of town. These activities, along with picnics and gatherings on its shores, set against the backdrop of the river’s enduring beauty, encapsulate the adventurous spirit of Podgorica.

A bridge in Podgorica over Morača River

Legacy of the Water

Morača River does more than merely bisect Podgorica; it stands as the city’s vibrant heart, intertwining natural beauty with the urban landscape, and fostering connections among people and places. It’s a guardian of history, cradling tales of many epochs within its flow, symbolizing the resilience and evolution of the capital through time. As a symbol of Podgorica, the river reflects the city’s soul, offering a serene yet dynamic backdrop to everyday life. CUE Podgorica emerges as a welcoming sanctuary, ideally situated for guests to delve into everything Podgorica has to offer. With its simple elegance, the hotel mirrors the accessible and tranquil ambiance that defines a stay in this unique city, inviting guests to immerse themselves in Podgorica’s authentic essence and discover the stories whispered by the Morača River’s timeless journey.