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Sveti Stefan

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 42.2558 N 18.8911 E
No:550        (list of all attractions)
Category:Cities and towns, City walls
Values:Visual, Architecture, History
Address:Europe, Montenegro, Budva Municipality, at the Adriatic sea some 6 km southeast from Budva
Name in Montenegrin language:Свети Стефан or Sveti Stefan
Founded:˜ 1442
Period of flourishing:early 19th century
Area: ˜ 1.24 ha
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan / ecl1ght, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The mountainous coast of Montenegro is rich with cultural heritage. Especially beautiful are historical towns, such as Sveti Stefan.


Sveti Stefan from the distance, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan from the distance / Boyko Blagoev, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Initially Sveti Stefan was small, rocky island close to the shore of Adriatic Sea. Only in recent times here was formed short earthen isthmus connecting it to the mainland.

First written accounts of the settlement in the island are from 1442. 12 local families led by Paštrovič family escaped here from the attack of Turks on nearby Kotor. These people turned the island into fortress and became allies of the Venetian Republic.

Town was razed down around 1574 and in the 16th century rebuilt again as a fortress of Venetian Republic.

While at the beginning of the 19th century on the island were living some 400 people, by the late 19th century Sveti Stefan declined - people gradually were leaving it. In a way this helped to preserve the historical buildings which were not maintained and rebuilt anymore.

In the 20th century new times started. In 1934 - 1936 on the mainland, near the island was built Villa Miločer - summer residence of influential Serbian family of Karađorđević and since then the resort of Sveti Stefan started to develop.

In 1955 the remaining inhabitants of the island were resettled to the mainland and whole island village was transformed into luxurious resort. In order to preserve its exquisite charm, the architectural and art heritage of the island was meticulously preserved.

The secluded, beautiful resort became very popular among the famous and rich people, especially in 1960ies - 1980ies.

Due to wars in the region the fame of the resort faded in the 1990ies but now, in the 21st century the former glory is returning step by step.


Sveti Stefan from the distance, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan from the distance / Nick Savchenko, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Although the town of Sveti Stefan now is larger, the historical core of the town is the small peninsula (former island) which is connected with some 100 m long causeway to the mainland.

The rocky island in some places has the historical fortification walls which enclose some 50 red-roofed houses hiding in lush gardens.

On the island are located three churches. The main church is Sveti Stefan church on the highest hill of the island. It gave its name to the island and village. Other churches are Alexander Nevsky church and Transfiguration church at the entrance of the island.

Currently resort under the name Aman Sveti Stefan offers 58 guest rooms. Of course, luxurious resort looks too tidy and perfect in comparison to a real fishermen village - but this unique island continues its life in new quality without loosing much of its heritage.


See Sveti Stefan on the map of Montenegro!


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