Sveti Stefan, unique city – hotel, that use to be fishing village and its first neighbour Miločer, former Royal summer house today turned into a villa hotel as well, are true jewels of Montenegrin coast. Placed near city of Budva and a part of its municipality, this region represent one of the most beautiful and unique places on the Adriatic cost and in the world.
Here tales of pride and patriotism were told, history blending harmoniously with the beautiful environs. This magnificent region has always welcomed all travelers who have come or will come to admire its rare beauty, giving generously to those who know how to appreciate its values and awakening in everyone a feeling for all that is eternal and indestructible.
The story of Sveti Stefan emergence is very unusual and interesting. It is related to XV century, when Ottoman galleons sailed into the bay with the intention to rob and enslave the coastal towns in Boka Kotorska. Pastrovići, people who inhabit the region of Sveti Stefan for centuries, went in Kotor with intention to attack Ottoman army and help in defense of Kotor. On return, they have attacked Ottoman galleons, and got great spoils of war. They used it to build fortification on the rocky island near the coast with twelve houses inside the walls, each house belonging to one family of the Pastrovići tribe. They also built a church named after a saint called Sveti Stefan. And that is how this unique island was born, and later is connected to the coastline by a narrow isthmus and became a semi island. Its main purpose at the beginning was to be used as a place for protection from the enemies and shelter for women, chidren and old people, as well as for food and groceries.
In ancient writings Sveti Stefan is known as the "place of justice", after a court named ‘Bankada’ that used to held sessions in this place for 400 years. This court discussed important issues and resolved disputes until 1929. It is also known that there was a market in Sveti Stefan, taking place couple of times a month. People from surrounding regions and villages use to come here to sell their products, and buy what they needed, and communicate as well. Sveti Stefan was growing from small fortress and shelter to town and a meeting place, undergoing major development in the first half of the XIX century when it consisted of 100 houses, three churches and 400 inhabitants. There was not space for more in this small piece of paradise surrounded by the sea and the waves.
At the beginning of XX century Sveti Stefan suddenly lost its economic power and political importance, due to social changes in the region, war and hunger. People were leaving, either to war, and the greatest part emigrated to America in search for a better life. In 1912 there were 150 inhabitants in the island, and in 1954 only twenty of them.
Group of creative Montenegrin intellectuals, artist and enthusiasts recognized great potentials of Sveti Stefan. With the support of president, they started reconstruction and turned this little island village into unique city-hotel in 1957. Exterior of the stone houses retained its authenticity and its interior was decorated and turned into luxury apartments. The remaining twenty residents evicted from the island are the founders of today's modern settlement on the mainland, also called Sveti Stefan.
Since then tourism in this region started flourishing. New concept of hotel Sveti Stefan and the beauty of the entire region attracted many famous and important people. Some of them who were spending their holidays here were numerous Soviet Marshals Semjon Timoshenko, Andrej Antonovich Grechko and Ivan Jakubovski, novelists Andre Malraux and Alberto Moravia, Soviet spacemen led by Gagarin, Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, film stars Sofia Loren, Monica Vitti, Marina Vlady, Kirk Douglas, Sergej Bondarchuk and many others. In Sveti Stefan in 1992. a match between chess players Bobby Fisher and Boris Spaski was played. Sentence which testifies about special atmosphere of Sveti Stefan is the one of Sofia Loren: "Just as if I have returned to town from the most beautiful fairy-tale of my childhood".
The history of Miločer is not as long and complex as the one of Sveti Stefan, but it’s very interesting and inspiring as well. Miločer is not only the name of the mansion but of the surrounding area and Royal park as well, which covers a 18 hectares of land and it’s home to 150 species of Mediterranean and subtropical flowers and trees from all over the world. Mansion Miločer is built to be a Royal summer house of Yugoslav king Aleksandar and queen Marija Karadjordjević.
Construction began in 1934 and was completed in 1936, but the king never lived to see the day. In fact, it was after a visit to the construction site that he set off on what was to be his final journey. He had come to see three sisters who lived in nearby Sveti Stefan and who refused to sell their land, which was to be included in the Royal Park. Not even a personal visit from the king could persuade them to change their minds, and as a result, the wall that encircles the park remains unfinished until today. While visiting the construction site King Aleksandar took the opportunity and treated each worker to a bonus of 100 diners, quite generous for those days. From there, he continued on to Kotor and set sail for France, for an official state visit to Marseilles, the aim of which was strengthening the defensive alliance against Nazi Germany. He reached Marseille on October 9, 1934. The royal entourage had traversed no more than several hundred yards after coming ashore when King Aleksandar; the French foreign minister Louis Barthou and their driver were killed. It was the first assassination fully captured on film, and the newsreel remains one of the most historically valuable documents in existence.
In the years that followed her husband's assassination Queen Marija stayed in the residence with their sons on several occasions. She was very liked by local residents, who describe her as a true lady and a woman "of the people". Despite the fact that entrance to the royal grounds was officially forbidden, the Queen often allowed the local children to play with her sons, and she herself was always willing to talk, to listen, and to give advice to those who sought it.
Her time at the residence proved to be short-lived. The onset of war forced the family to flee. During the war, the building was briefly occupied by Italian forces, and immediately afterwards, it served as an orphanage. Afterwards it was handed over to the army, which maintained it until 1956, when it was converted into a first-class villa-hotel that come to be known as Miločer.
Part of the Miločer region are not only mansion Miločer, village Sveti Stefan and belonging beaches, but also Queen’s beach and viewpoint above it called Queen’s chair. It is a stone built chair on the top of the hill where Queen Marija used to come to enjoy the view. The Queen's beach, more commonly known as Mala plaža, is considered to be Montenegro's most beautiful beach. This beautiful lagoon, surrounded by cliffs, evergreens, and cypresses, is one of Montenegro's finest. Quite and intimate, it affords a rare opportunity to really get away from it all. In the field behind the beach another ‘royal' residence was planned to be built, this one for Marshall Tito, the former Yugoslavia's lifelong Communist leader. Like King Aleksandar, he never lived to see his summer residence completed, and the work was suspended immediately following his death.
This entire region exudes the great beauty and centuries of history with stories related to this ground give higher importance to it. That is why travelers always come back here, and people who live and create here derive tremendous inspiration out of it, especially artists, what results a great number of paintings, mosaics, poems and nowadays even films inspired by this region.