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Budva is a historic Montenegrin town on the Adriatic Sea. With a population of around 14,000 it is the centre of Budva Municipality. Mentioned for the first time in the 5th century BC in the work of Sophocles, Budva is 2,500 years old, making it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast. Today, the coastal area around the town is the centre of Montenegro's tourism, with visitors attracted to sandy beaches and vibrant nightlife, which has given rise to it being known as the Budva Riviera. This webpage is primarily concerned with the old town of Budva itself, which is known for its well preserved medieval walls and historic buildings.

Above: Modern sculpture of a ballerina outside the old town, by Gradimir Alesis. Inspired by the legend of a faithful bride watching out for the return of her sailor groom, whom never returned.

According to legend, the city was founded by the Phoenician hero Kadmo who found shelter and settled here with his wife Harmony after being exiled from Thebes. Many different civilisations are known to have been present in this area; the Romans, the early Christian Slavs and later, in the 9th century, the town was the seat of a bishopric of the state of Duklja. At other times, it was also under the rule of the Byzantine Empire and several different regional dynasties. From 1442 until 1797, Budva was part of the Venetian Republic and invariably part of Austria, until becoming a part of Montenegro in 1918.

The old town was built on an island which was connected to the mainland by sandbanks. The town walls were erected towards the end of the 15th century, although as far as the old town is concerned, what we see today dates back to just after an earthquake which took place in 1667. Two churches to be found in the old town are the Church of St Ivan (dating from the 15th century and built on the remains of a church dating from the 7th century- example photo: 31, below) and the Church of the Holy Trinity (1804 - example photo: 33, below). The two churches are Catholic and Orthodox, respectively hence the difference in architectural styles.  The old town of Budva may be far smaller in size than, say, Dubrovnik, but its narrow winding streets and small squares (piazzettas) make it a pleasure to take a leisurely stroll around. The buildings are typically Mediterranean in style, with tiled roofs. On the southern side of and overlooking  the old town is The Citadel, a fortress which has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over its history. The fortress we see today dates from the first half of the 19th century, during a time the city was under Austrian rule. It is here, live theatre performances can be seen. When visiting The Citadel, steps lead up for visitors to view not only the old town from above rooftop level, but also the stunning Adriatic coastal scenery which surrounds it.

The photo below is a composite image showing a section of the Budva Riviera, with the town of Budva to the right of the centre.

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