The ancient city of Ulcinj is situated at the very end of the Montenegrin coastline, on a slope of a nearly inaccessible limestone cliff that slants downward to the sea. The discovery of a fragment form a powerful rampart concerning chronology: the firs settlement on the site was in all probability founded in the late 5th or early 4th century BC, at the time when a series of fortified Illyrian settlements were established along the Montenegrin coast and hinterland. Greek cities served as a guideline in the construction and an altar stone found in the ancient Ulcinj City, dedicated to goddess Artemis by the masons' association, reveals that Greek builders took part in the construction of the Illyrian Ulcinj.
For the first time, the ancient Ulcinj, Olcinium, was mentioned in the writings of Livy(Titus Livius), in the section describing the Illyrian war against Rome in 168 BC. Pliny the Elder referred to Ulcinj as a fortified city of Roman citizens; he said that the original name of the town had been Colchinium because it was the people from Colchis that had reportedly founded it.
Nothing can be said with certainty about the appearance of Illyrian and , later, Roman Ulcinj. One can only presume that the Illyrian town was organized so as to have an acropolis on top of the limestone cliff and suburb in the lower zones. Likewise, little is known about Ulcinj in the early Christian period, although the remains of a small church from those times suggest that it was restored and fortified during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Justinian. At that time , Ulcinj was probably one of the episcopal cities. A papal decree form 743 AD made a reference to the town, and so did Constantine Porphyrogentus - latter used the name Helcynio. The 11th century papal decrees referred to it as Ulcini(1076) and Ulcignum or Dulcignum(1089), while Serbian writings used the names Lcinj(1216) and Ocinj.
Over the 11th century, the city belonged to the Doclean rulers of the Vojislavljevic dynasty. From 1183 onwards, it was incorporated in the Serbian state of Nemanjic dynasty. The Balsic family held throne in late 14th and early 15th century. When Balsa III died in 1421, Venice took control over Ulcinj and held the city until the Turks captured it (1571). The Montenegrins set it free in 1878, but it was only by decision of the Congress of Berlin(1880) that Ulcinj finally became part of the Montenegrin state.
Several buildings stand out within the urban entity of the city, and they include the Town Hall, Ducal Palace, the Bishopric... Sacral architecture was cherished, too: one can make out the remains of an 11th century church it the Lower Town(on its ruins, another, larger church was built in the 13th century); another church was erected at beginning of the 16th century, but it was later turned into a mosque.
After liberation, Ulcinj ceased to be strategically important and began to die out gradually. The limited space did not allow for further expansion, and urban life moved gradually beyond the ramparts where a new town came into being. Only in the aftermath of the 2nd world war, evaluation of the monuments in the ancient Ulcinj City was undertaken. Ever since, numerous protective measures have been taken in an effort to revitalize that part of the town.
Most interesting constructions in the old town of Ulcin are Citadel and the Church-Mosque.
Near the North Gate of the ancient town, on a n enclosed little square by the fortress, there is a church, partially preserved and dedicated to an unidentified saint. From the inscription in the architrave of its portal one learns that the church was built in 1510; another inscription, on the threshold of the same portal, informs that the building was reconstructed in 1569. In 1693, the Turks turned it into a masque, whereby the building suffered considerable alterations, so that few structural elements have survived. The west wall with the original portal is in more or less good condition, but the east wasll and two lateral ones were practically rebuilt.
The Church-Mosque now houses the Archeological Museum of Ulcinj.
Ulcinj is situated in the most southern end of Adriatic coast. It covers total area of 255 km2 and has population of 19 921. Part of the coast that belongs to Ulcinj is regarded as the most valuable part of Mediterranean. Through the southern part, with 30 km length Ulcinj is linked with Adriatic Sea. On its east river Bojana flows and connects it to Albania. There are fields with lakes, swamps and small rivers and long sandy beaches here. Central part of Ulcinj is covered with Sasco Lake, while the bay itself is surrounded by massif of mountain Rumija. Ulcinj with its surroundings belongs to subtropical zone of European Mediterranean area. Such climate provides much warmth and sun, with 270 sunny days a year, which means that Ulcinj is one of the sunniest places on the Montenegrin coast. Old Ulcinj city is located at the most southern part of Montenegrin coast. First settlement at this place was founded, it is said, by the end of V or beginning of IV century B.C.E. when, modeled after Greek cities, many Illyrian settlements were built along Montenegrin coast. In the Year 1183 Ulcinj became the most famous maritime
town on Adriatic Sea and in the same time famous tower of Basic was built. Ada Bojana is a man-made river island. In XIX century at the place where Ada Bojana is today, at nearby little islands, the boat Merito got stranded. For years on the remains of the boat and nearby islands river sediment got piled on and created this beautiful island. Ada Bojana is in a shape of a triangle. From one side it touches Adriatic Sea and from others river Bojana. Beach that faces the sea is sandy and 3 km long. Nearby you can find restaurants, sport terrains, parking lots and various sport activities like: horseback riding, sailing, windsurfing, and riding in paragliders. Island is decorated with subtropical and Mediterranean overgrowth. Sasko Lake is located near Ulcinj. Its area is 364 ha. It is unique in beauty, clear and peaceful and very rich with fish. On the lake and its surroundings you can find around 240 different species of birds: storks, herons, geese, wild ducks, cormorants, fenducks… Hunters from Italy come to shores of Sasko Lake because in Ulcinj’s surroundings during winter it is woodcock hunting season. A lot of migratory birds on their long journeys to southern parks stay on Sasko Lake, which attracts ornithologists from all parts of Europe, so the bird watching became very popular kind of recreation in Ulcinj. On Sasko lake remains of an ancient city Svaca or “dead city” were found, which was conquered by Mongols. Near the lake flows river Bojana, on which, like in Porto Milena, one can see many “kalimere”, or wooden houses that have tools that enable old ways of fishing, preserved in this region to this day. Cove Valdanos is located five km north-west from Ulcinj. The cove is surrounded by olive fields from all sides. Capes that protect cove Valdanos abruptly drop and sink into the sea. There are also very nicely arranged pebble beaches made out of large pebbles. It is recommended to visit Old city, Ada Bojana, cove Valdanos, Sasko lake.