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King Nikola’s Museum was founded in 1926, within the residence of the last Montenegrin ruler Nikola I Petrović Njegoš, in continuation of the tradition of collecting and carefully preserving the materials on the Montenegrin past. The construction started in 1863 and was completed around 1867. However, it is known for a fact that the original purpose of the building was to accommodate the widow and daughter of Prince Danilo. After Darinka left Montenegro, this residence obtained a new function. Members of the royal family moved from Biljarda to the new “palace”, as Montenegrins used to call it. 

 

                              

       The plan of the exhibition:

                      1. King's study

                      2. Room with the fireplace

                      3, 4, 5 i 6 The library

                      7. Indonesian sitting room 

                      8. Venetian sitting room

                      9. Large dining room                    >>> VIRTUAL TOUR >>>

                    10. Family dining room

                    11. King's reception room

                    12. Representative reception room

                    13. Queen's reception room

                    14. King's bedroom

                    15. Tearoom

                    16. Queen's bedroom

                    17. Room of princess Ksenija

                    18. Room of princess Vjera

                    19. Music room

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Over time, the royal residence underwent several important reconstructions. The most recent alterations took place on the occasion of celebrating the Golden Jubilee in 1910, when the building obtained its final appearance. The newly established State Museum (current King Nikola’s Museum) gathered the material from the Military Museum and the National Museum, the institutions created in the nineteenth century, as well as the entire preserved inventory from the Montenegrin dynastic residences. Thus, from the very beginning of its work, it gathered in one place the most important museum material on the political, military and cultural history of Montenegro that records the state-building developments in a continuous and complex manner, from the medieval beginnings to 1918, when Montenegro as an independent country disappears from the political map of Europe.

 

  

      

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The entrance and the king's study

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The permanent exhibition of the museum is designed as a reconstruction of the royal residence interior, with fragmentary displays of Montenegrin past in the places where the authentic material for reconstruction of the palace ambience (study and odžaklija – the room with the fireplace) was lacking. 

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The "fireplace room"

The seventh ruler, Nikola I (1860-1918), with his mind and strength of a visionary, left an indelible imprint on the history of Montenegro, writing its most important pages. With his powerful personality, statesman’s wisdom and diplomatic abilities, he managed, over the 58 years he spent on the throne, to modernize the Montenegrin society and state. The time of his rule, marked as the most dynamic and complex, was the time when Montenegro was accorded international recognition (1878) and possessed great reputation among South Slavic and Balkan nations. Nikola I built schools, cultural institutions (theatres, reading-room, library, museum), established telegraph and telephone communication, improved agriculture, trade and handicrafts, built roads, brought learned and able people from abroad, which in turn had a considerable impact on the state of culture and of spiritual life in general. He died in exile, dethroned, deprived of the right to return, at Cap d’Antibe, France, on 1 March, 1921. The remnants of the Montenegrin royal couple and their daughters, princesses Ksenija and Vjera, were transferred from the Russian Orthodox Church in San Remo, after 68 years of resting in a foreign country, and buried at the Court Chapel at Ćipur on 1 October, 1989.

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Montenegrin and captured Turkish weaponry

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The collections that stand out from among the diverse museum items are those of: weapons (trophies and ceremonial pieces), decorations (Montenegrin and foreign), flags (Montenegrin and Turkish), plaques, coats-of arms, seals, photos, as well as archaeological, numismatic, art, ethnographic and applied art ones. Court library and archives have been preserved as well.

The importance of the collection of royal decorations of King Nikola’s Museum is comparable to that of the most renowned European collections. Furthermore, according to some experts on decorations, it is not inferior to the collections of the Hermitage Museum from Saint Petersburg or the Historical Museum from Vienna.

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     Collection of decorations 

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Decorations related to notable Montenegrins are of particular value. These are decorations of the highest order, awarded   by European rulers to members of the Petrović Njegoš dynasty and numerous persons from the political and cultural history of Montenegro, for different merits and on different occasions. These specially designed decorations made of precious metals and studded with precious stones were made by the best-known European medal and jewellery shops in Vienna, Rome, Paris. The variety of themes, the diversity of shapes and the refined stylistic features confirm they are the work of renowned medal makers and engravers. 

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