Montenegro is a relatively new nation, securing its independence as recently as This small nation is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and has many fascinating historic remains. One of the most important of these is Doclea, which contains Roman and Byzantine relics and was once an important urban center.
The Illyriansthe original inhabitants of this area, built a small town in the 3 rd century BC and it is believed to have been home to 10, people.
In the 2 nd century BC, the area was annexed by the Romans. The town was rebuilt on Roman lines and was granted the status of a municipium during the reign of Emperor Domitianaffording the inhabitants the right of Roman citizenship while often living according to their own laws and customs.
By the 2 nd century AD it became the capital of the local province and its population soared to 40, Devastated by the Visigoths in the 5 th century, Doclea went into decline.
In AD the town was badly damaged by an earthquake. Doclea was revived during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian the Great and became an ecclesiastical center. During the invasions of the Slavs and the Avars, Doclea once again declined until it was only a small settlement. The city, however, continued to be an important ecclesiastical center and was the seat of a bishopric.
Doclea later became the capital of the Doclean kingdom, a small Serbo-Croat polity that became an important cultural center. It was later absorbed into the Kingdom of Montenegro and abandoned at an unknown date. The site was first excavated in the s and a great many treasures were found here. Doclea is surrounded by rivers on three sides which form a natural fortress. The majority of the remains are from the Roman era. Doclea was a typically planned Roman town and its central area can still be distinguished, with stones and broken colonnades strewn across the landscape.
The remains of the forum, basilicaand thermal baths are visible. Some of the stones, carved with elaborate images and motifs, remain in their original location, as well as many stones with inscriptions. A ruined temple measuring feet 50 m by ft 40m was dedicated to the Roman gods. Before it lies a large space atrium that is paved with slabs of stone and the inner chamber of the temple can still be seen.
This temple was turned into a glass manufacturing plant after the rise of Christianity and remains of this workshop can also be seen. Sections of the original Roman ramparts still stand and outside the old city, remnants of villas, once inhabited by the elite of Doclea from the 1 st to 5 th century AD, remain.
There are many other architectural ruins to be found at the archaeological site, as well as a few relics from the Byzantine and medieval periods which consist largely of inscriptions on stones.The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.Roma Bath of Doclea : a first reconstruction from geophysic survey
Founded on a limited area, of irregular, polygonal shape, Doclea, adapted to the configuration of the terrain, demonstrates the concept of the Roman urban planning, respecting the basic rule of executing two principal streets, cardo and decumanis, perpendicular to each other. Doclea, being a typical Roman town, features a central axis which used to connect still visible and recognizable representative structures, i.
Doclea is surrounded by three rivers, which restricted the access by cutting steep canyons into the ground, therefore offering natural protection to the town. The entrances to the town as known today had been located on the northern and western side, with the Triumphal Arch, which was destroyed during the World War II.
However, the advantage of the surrounding rivers was not only in providing the natural fortification, but also in providing constant supply of fresh water to the town.
The climate in this area is typically Mediterranean, characterized by very hot and dry summers. Doclea is the most significant archaeological site in the territory of Montenegro, a grandiose cultural monument in this area and its integral part.
In addition, Doclea is the most thoroughly explored town in the south-eastern part of the Roman province of Dalmatia. As a municipium, Doclea has been mentioned since the Flavian dynasty, during the reign of the emperor Vespasian, in the first century AD. Due to its size, importance and position, Doclea became the capital of the newly established province of Prevalis, at the time of Diocletian's reforms introduced by the end of the 3 rd century.
In the 5 th century AD, it was ravaged by the Western and Eastern Goths, and in the yearaccording to some sources, it is assumed to have been struck by a strong earthquake.
Basilicas 'A' and 'B'. At the beginning of the 7 th century AD, after the invasion of the Avar - Slavic tribes, just like all urban agglomerations of the broader Balkan area, Doclea lost its classical character. It saw its revival in the 9 th century, but this time it became the eponym of a broader area named Doclea after it. Within the boundaries of the 'B' Basilica, a 9 th century cruciform church was discovered, which was confirmed by the most recent revision excavations carried out in the 60's of the past century.
The cruciform church could be the church of Saint Mary in the town of Doclea 'sepultum est in eclclesia sanctae Mariae Necropoli were located to the south-east and west from Doclea. At the south-east necropolis, more than tombs have been explored, dating back to the period from the 1 st to the 4 th century.
The tombs with the remains of the cremated bodies of the deceased from the 1 st and the 2 nd century contain diverse and precious objects: jewellery, toilette bottles, imaginatively shaped ceramic and glass dishes, fibulae, etc. Several vaulted tombs were discovered within this necropolis, containing stone sarcophagi from the 3 rd and the 4 th century, as well as a tomb painted in Jewish symbols menorah, fruits, star, garlands with birds.
To a smaller degree, the archaeological explorations were being done in the area of the western necropolis, on the occasion of which around thirty tombs dating back to the 1 st to the 4 th century were discovered.
The ancient-most tombs containing cremated human remains, date back to the 1 st century, to the time of the emperors Tiberius and Claudius. This burial ritual was present at the necropolis even during Domitian's rule, at the time when Doclea was granted s the status of a municipium, and it can be traced until the time of Alexander Severus. In addition, a large number of human skeletons, dating back to the 3 rd to the 4 th century, was discovered in the necropoli. There are tombs made of bricks, broken stone and larger stone slabs.
Some of the deceased were buried in simple graves. There are interesting family tombs of area maceria cincta type. Similar structures are encountered at Komini near Pljevlja, made under the influence of Aquileia. Generally speaking, these types of tomb structures can be dated to the 1 st - 2 nd century, by means of coins found and belonging to the period of the reign of Antoninus Pius and Septimius Severus.
Great interest in Doclea by many European authors of travelogues, lovers of antiquities and scientists started at the end of the 19 th century and in January it resulted in the beginning of the first systematic archaeological explorations, carried out by the Russian scientist Pavle A. Rovinski upon the order, desire and financial support of the then ruler of Montenegro, Prince Nikola.
Following two years' long Rovinski's works, the explorations were continued by an English team of experts headed by J.
In the yearPaolo Sticotti published, until then, most complete monograph on the urban ensemble of Doclea 'Die romische Stadt Doclea in Montenegro'. In the 60's of the 20 th century, following four wars which had affected Doclea too, systematic archaeological explorations began.
In the yearat the archaeological site of Doclea, explorations were carried out within the project 'Research, conservation and presentation of Doclea'. To a smaller degree, those explorations have continued within the framework of the same project.The ruins of Doclea or Duklja, near Podgorica, have always fascinated me.
I have been there many times and I was often disappointed to see that the place was neglected, full of litter, with a flock of grazing sheep as only visitors. But fortunately, things have changed the last few years and Doclea has finally got a representative place in the tourist offer of Montenegro. In former times, it was almost impossible to find this archeological site, although it is situated at three kilometers north from Podgorica.
Pass the railroad and you will soon see the excavations. The gate is open and you can freely enter, entrance fee is not charged. It is a pity that there is no guide or at least a leaflet to learn more about the history of this interesting place.
Duklja was the largest settlement of the Docleatae, an Illyrian tribe. It was a large town with thousand inhabitants and also the surrounding area was relatively densely populated. Around AD it became the capital of the newly established Roman province, Prevalis, with a population of some 40, After the 4 th century it lost power and in the beginning of the 5 th century it was attacked by the Visigoths.
Init was totally destroyed by an earthquake. And finally, in the 7 th century AD, after the invasion of the Avar — Slavic tribes, Doclea lost its urban characteristics.
Being a typical Roman town, the urban plan of Doclea shows a central axis which used to connect still visible and recognizable representative structures, i. Necropoli were located to the south-east and west from Doclea. At the south-east necropolis, more than tombs have been explored, dating back to the period 1 st — 4 th century.
Apart from the ashed of cremated bodies, the tombs contained many precious objects: jewelry, toilette bottles, ceramic and glass dishes, fibulae, etc. Nowadays, many exhibits can be seen in the Podgorica City Museum. Another curiosity: the so-called Glass of Podgorica, found during excavations in Doclea in the middle of the 19 th century, can now be admired in the Hermitage in St. Altogether: Duklja or Doclea is really worth a visit.First mentioned in 10th— and 11th century Byzantine chronicles, it was a vassal of the Byzantine Empire until it became independent in under Stefan Vojislav fl.
Mihailo was given the nominal title King of Slavs by the Pope after having left the Byzantine camp and supported an uprising in the Balkansin which his son Bodin played a central part.
In historiography, K. Jirechek was the first to use "Duklja". The Romanized Illyrian tribe known as Docleatae that inhabited the area derived their name from the city. According to the later, somewhat dubious  source, Chronicle of the Priest of Dukljaa ruler named Hvalimir who was alleged to be an ancestor of Jovan Vladimir ca.
The DAI has been a widely used source in reconstructing the earliest histories of the South Slavic states. John V. Fine argues "given that Serbs settled in regions along its borders, presumably this would have also been a Serb region". Scholars have debated at length as to the reliability of such sources. If this is not mere Byzantine confusion over Serbs and Croats, it might allude to the existence of minor Croat tribes until the late 12th century.
Ultimately, the origins of Duklja are not known with certainty, for the literary evidence often rests on semi-legendary genealogies. Moreover, what actually constituted a people gens in the Middle Ages has been rigorously debated. There is no clear evidence that peoples known as Serbs or Croats migrated en masse as coherent nations. This coincides with the final demise of Avar hegemony over the western Balkans.
The establishment of the Byzantine theme of Dyrrhachium facilitated diplomatic contacts between the East Romans and the Adriatic Sclaviniae. Both Florin Curta and John Fine, among other medievalists, have argued that ethnonyms such as Serb or Croat were primarily political labels referring to a dux and his retinue of nobles, while on a lower level it also referred the mass of commoners who inhabited the territory under the often nominal and transient rule of such leaders.
There is little evidence that a modern notion of nation-type ethnicity, and the values associated with it, existed in medieval societies. As Fine states, "In this large region settled by Slavs, all of whom spoke the same language, certain political entities emerged, and that is all that they were, political entities".
Duklja is seen as one of the medieval Serb states    and was the political and cultural predecessor of modern Montenegro. Little is known about Duklja prior to the 11th century. The work mentions virtually nothing about Duklja apart from that it was settled by Slavs and was ruled by the Byzantine Emperors.
It probably did not exist as an established, independent polity before the late 10th century. The Byzantines ruled over coastal cities such as Doclea, Bar, Kotor and the hinterland surrounding these. Archaeological evidence a personal seal belonging to " Peter of Diokleia " suggests that local officials governed this small region in the name of the Emperor.
Slav raids on Eastern Roman territory are mentioned inand by the s they had conquered large areas referred to as Sclavinia "Slavdom", from Sklavenoi.From the 4th century AD, on the eastern side of the city, an area where Christians lived sprang up,giving rise to churches, and a large Episcopal basilica. Some valuable examples of found grave inventory - vessels of pottery and glass, jewelery parts, tools, weapons and money, are part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum of the city.
Ancient Doclea was introduced in world archeology by discovery of the famous Podgorica glass, which is now kept in the Hermitage, the Russian Museum.
The village of Medun is situated about 12 kilometers north-east from Podgorica, in the Kuci area. It is known for monumental complex that consists of the remains of the Illyrian city Meteon, St. Meteon was one of the centers of the Illyrian tribes Labeati that ruled the Lake Skadar basin. There was a late fourth or early third century BC, in hard ridge that dominates the Medun field. Today, the only visible parts of the massive defensive walls built in the so-called Cyclopean technique.
Remains of the town of Medun, with occasional preserved corners and walls, mostly belong to the medieval Turkish fortress. Among the remains of the fort is the church of St. Nikola, built in the early eighteenth century, according to tradition, on the foundations of an older church. Next to the church, there are the tombs of Marko Miljanov and his wife Stefa and below, on the saddle-shaped ridge, birthplace of Marko Miljanov Popovic, warrior, statesman and writer, one of the most important figures in the Montenegrin history of the nineteenth century.
Archaeological sites. Doclea Medun. Cultural institutions. Cultural and Historic monuments. Museums and galleries Natural museum. Lake Skadar. Nacional park Prokletije. Regional park Komovi. Moraca Cijevna Zeta. Equestrian sport Hiking and biking Adventure park Free climbing.
Useful links. Email: info podgorica.When coming to Montenegro, Kotor must be on your list. So, from Mart to November there are big cruise ships coming into the port of Kotor. Answer to this is anytime. On the coast we have typical Mediterranean climate, with warm and dry summers, and mild winters. Go more to the north. I Am Interested In If you are a nature lover or adventurer, or you just like walking and sightseeing, you will find perfect tour for you.
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Just write us an e-mail and we will create a perfect package for you. Transfers We will make your stay in Montenegro much easier. Save your energy for wild beauty of our country, and let us take the rest. Flight tickets We will make your stay in Montenegro much easier.
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DOCLEA (DUKLJA), MONTENEGRO’S FOREMOST ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE
Check our blog. Go more to the north read more. What Clients Say? Booking our tours with Doclea made our holiday in Montenegro easy going and just perfect.
Will the Noteworthy Archeological Site of Doclea Be Saved in Time?
Excellent service! Katie, USA. We booked a trip to Lovcen National Park and from the moment of booking to the execution of the trip all went smoothly.
Renne, Germany. Choosing local people to walk you around is never a mistake. Choose Doclea and you won't regret.
Many thanks to Dijana especially, she made our stay perfect. Daragh, United Kingdom. After visiting few National Parks, and seaside of Montenegro, I can say this is a true undiscovered gem. Unbelievable untouched nature and beautiful cost with nice sandy beaches.
Go in May or October, avoid hot summer season. Doclea will take care that everything goes well. Anna, Holland. We booked Wine Tour with Ivana that is a real expert for wines,besides she speaks great english. We also visited villages and tasted some local food.Ancient Origins has been quoted by:. By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings.
Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. Skip to main content. Montenegro is a relatively new nation, securing its independence as recently as This small nation is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea and has many fascinating historic remains.
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