Clock Towers From The Ottoman Period In The Territory of Today’s Montenegro



Montenegrin clock towers represent the most important traces of cultural heritage of Ottoman period. Considering their functional features, appeal and position in space, these facilities are considered to be significant urban landmarks even nowadays in the urban cores of the cities they are situated in. All their clock mechanisms are still functioning properly.

Former territory of Montenegro started being under Ottoman government in 1496, when former vassal Djuradj Crnojevic was dismissed and his brother Stevan was chosen to take his place. Montenegrin territory was included into Skadar sanjak1 as a special area. (Stanojevic, 1976, 176)

Dominating fortified settlements were Pljevlja, Medun, Zabljak, Novi, Risan, Bar and Ulcinj.

The most developed urban core was Pljevlja, or Taslidza2. Pljevlja was the headquarters of Herzegovina sanjak (1576-1573), having one (and only) remaining mosque, named after Husein pasha Boljanic. This city was included in territory of Montenegro in 1913. (Kujovic, 2006, 3-16)

There are such five facilities like this on Montenegrin territory, situated in five cities (Fig.1). Four of them are completely authentic towers (Ulcinj, Bar, Podgorica, Pljevlja), while the clock tower in Herceg-Novi is only partially of Ottoman origin. Its initial purpose wasn’t such, as it was originally built to be one of the towers of the city fortress.

There is another one clock tower left in Montenegro. Situated in Kotor, it was built in 1602. It is not a part of Ottoman Empire cultural heritage, because Kotor was mostly governed by Venetian Republic.

Ulcinj, Bar and Herceg-Novi are situated on the Adriatic coast and Podgorica is located in the south-continental part of Montenegro. Pljevlja is the northernmost municipality of Montenegro, situated near border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This clock tower has different features in style comparing to those in Podgorica, Bar and Ulcinj.

Even though they are reconstructed, all these clock towers are preserved in their authentic shape.

Their significance is inasmuch larger because of the fact that Montenegro is a small country, occupying small area and not having much population (13 812km2 and 625 266 inhabitants on the 2011 listing of population). (Statistical Office of Montenegro, 2011)

Considering this space, number of clock towers is not big; however comparing to other countries in vicinity that were parts of Ottoman Empire (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia), it is much larger than in Serbia, which was under Ottoman Empire longer and occupying larger area.

Until now, clock towers included in this paper were not thoroughly described nor examined from every aspect.

Bajro Agovic, in his book Turbeta i sahat kule u Crnoj Gori, (Agovic, 2015) gives a description but without any significant or checked data about clock towers. However, some of his data direct to real and authentic sources. This book enlists Herceg-Novi clock tower as Ottoman Empire cultural heritage, which is only half true. This fact, considered to be true for a long time, was arguably denied and explained by Zorica Cubrilovic, in her work Istrazivanje kule gradskog sata u Herceg-Novom. (Cubrovic, 2009, 48-66)

Hakki Acun, in his thorough monograph followed by photo materials and illustrations of Osmanli Imperatoglu Sat Kuleri (Acun, 2011, 178-181) maps and describes only two clock towers in Montenegro, those situated in Podgorica and Bar. However, the same author states in the introduction of his book that this is the first time that audience can be introduced to Ottoman clock towers, despite the fact that he hadn’t seen such facilities in Iraq, Palestine, Israel or Montenegro.

This scientific paper complements mosaic of his researches argumentatively, with two more clock towers plus another one, partially originating from Ottoman Empire, depicted.

The oldest and the most lavish clock tower is the one in Pljevlja, being one of the oldest in Ottoman Empire. Towers in Bar, Ulcinj and Podgorica were constructed approximately at the same time and have identical style features.

Having in mind the fact that Montenegrin cities with clock towers, weren't always parts of the unique administrative unit, historical context was explained for each city individually.

The aim of this work is to give as much details as possible about clock towers in Montenegro originating from Ottoman period, describe them thoroughly and present them from the historical context, time of originating, style features, current condition and the extent of their protection as cultural monument. This paper should contribute to completing data about clock towers on territories of former Ottoman Empire. In this work, there are recordings of clock towers with their dimensions presented, foundations, cross sections and proportional relations as well as archive photo material from original sources.

Key words: clock towers, Montenegro, Ottoman period, cultural heritage, landmarks

Total number of words: 7836




Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.