Stunning and dramatic scenery and landscape is found throughout Norway. The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries in the world. National Geographic has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world’s top tourist attraction. The country is also home to the natural phenomena of the Midnight sun (during summer) as well as the Aurora borealis know also as the Northern lights.
The 2014 Environmental Performance Index put Norway in tenth place, based on the environmental performance of the country’s policies. Peace and My first impression of Norway’s beautiful capital was rather accurate. Oslo is a charming, laid-back city. There’s plenty to see and do, but out and out tourist spots are few. Instead, enjoying Oslo is about taking in all those truly ‘Norwegian’ experiences. Adventures on a fjord:
If you’re in Oslo on a bright summer day, you will notice that the city’s waterfronts are buzzing with activity. Aker Bryggae is Oslo’s hip waterfront located on the Oslo Fjord, home to an eclectic bunch of eateries and watering holes. At one end of Aker Bryggae stands Akershus Festning, a medieval stone castle and fortress dating back to the 13th century. Don’t miss the fjord cruise around the Oslo Fjord. It offers a stunning experience, being enveloped by the vastness of nature.
Ships in museums: I’m not really a fan of museums, but enjoyed my time in Oslo’s museums. Maybe it’s because Norwegians seem to love putting giant ships into museums each of the three museums we visited boasted of a life sized ship exhibit!
A silver mine and a ski jump: I’m always looking for unlikely experiences on my travels. So when I heard about the opportunity to visit The King’s Mine (located 500 meters below the ground) near Kongsberg, Oslo, I was sold. The King’s Mine was closed in 1958 and has been preserved since. Holmenkollen is home to an eponymous ski jumping hill which has been hosting competitions for over a century. Inside the ski jump is the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, the oldest of its kind in the world. The observation deck on top of the jump tower offers panoramic views of Oslo.
visit the Christmas House: The quaint town of Drobak is located just 40 kilometers from Oslo a perfect day trip! Drobak is straight out of a fairytale with charming wooden houses painted in bright colors lined up against the picturesque coast. Vintage cars were parked by the sidewalks and every house had a perfectly manicured rose garden. Dozens of sailboats bobbed in the shallow port (it seems that everyone here owns a boat!) Drobak is packed with scores of tiny eateries, cafes, bakeries, galleries and shops run by the locals. The town’s Christmas House (Julehuset) piled high with festive souvenirs. In here, it feels like Christmas all through the year. There is an adorable traditional-style bakery on the center square called Handverksbakeriet. We had some delicious apple and plum cake, with dessert wine for the Christmas feels!
walk atop the opera House: Oslo’s fabulous opera House was special simply because it let visitors like us simply walk onto the roof of the building and enjoy the view! We saw dozens of locals sunbathing on the roof, while others jumped off the roof into the adjoining water body.
Hiking and more: What is a Norwegian’s favorite weekend activity? Without a doubt, it is hiking and tenting in the great outdoors! Norway’s ‘Right of Access’ law means that everyone can freely camp anywhere in the open country side. This translates into Norwegians literally pitching a tent anywhere that catches their fancy! For a true taste of the land, go out tenting in the Norwegian countryside around Oslo.
The most tourist area of the Oslo and the core of the city, with the main street Karl Johan in the middle, have a wide variety of different pubs, bars and nightclubs that attract all kinds of people. The west side of the city center, Majorstuen, Vika and Frogner, is characterized by its fashionable, flashy and beautiful guests that want to see and be seen. In the Grünerlokka district the atmosphere is more relaxed and low- maintained; the guests are still trendy, but more laid-back and carefree. Boat parties are hugely popular in Oslo (why not, given how gorgeous the fjords are). Explore the sunniest capital of Scan dinavia with this 24-hour ticket aboard a City Sightseeing open-top double Decker bus. See all the main sights of Oslo as you hop on and hop off at 17 conveniently located stops around the city.
With great views from the top of the bus, strategically placed stops and an interesting commentary, this truly is the best way to see the main sights of Oslo. You can hop on and off as many times as you like aboard this City Sight seeing open top, double Decker bus. There are 17 stops, and the entire route takes approximately 90 minutes. The bus departs every 30 minutes from each stop. Tickets are valid for 24 hours only.
Oslo, the oldest and sunniest of the Scandinavian capitals, was founded by Harald Hadrade in the 11th century and is surrounded by mountains at the head of a 70 mile (100 kilometer) fjord. You can visit Akershus Fortress, or feel like a real Viking at the Viking Ship Museum.
A single trip to Norway during life time is highly recommended to Indian globe trotter to broaden experience of realizing how beautiful the world is constructed by super natural power. A lot of credit must go to the native people of Norway for adhering to strict environment policy resulting in impeccable clean country.
– Mithila Mehta
Q.Montenegro is a gateway to Europe; surely it can sell its strategic location to the world looking for political, business and cultural integration with European union. How Montenegro government plans to market this advantage?
A: National Geographic Traveler features Montenegro among the “50 Places of a Lifetime”, and Montenegrin seaside Sveti Stefan was used as the cover for the magazine. The coast region of Montenegro is considered one of the great new “discoveries” among world tourists. In January 2010, The New York Times ranked the Ulcinj South Coast region of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, as among the “Top 31 Places to Go in 2010” as part of a worldwide ranking of tourism destinations.Montenegro was also listed in “10 Top Hot Spots of 2009” to visit by yahoo Travel, describing it as “Currently ranked as the second fastest growing tour-ism market in the world (falling just behind China)”. It is listed every year by prestigious tourism guides like Lonely Planet as top touristic destination along with Greece, Spain and other world touristic places.
Q. with a total of 1.6 million visitors, the nation is the 36th (out of 47 countries) most visited country in Europe. Surely, the country must address the opportunity to tap global tourist potential to be the top ten destinations in Europe to enhance the revenue, your take?
A. The Government of Montenegro has set the development of Montenegro as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major contributor to the Montenegrin economy. A number of steps were taken to attract foreign investors.
Q. Apart from the tourism, kindly indicate the core sectors wherein global business community can focus on to invest in Montenegro?
A. Information Technology, Higher Education, BPO/KPO, Banking, Insurance are the sectors wherein international investors can tap entire European market while setting up base in Montenegro.
Q. Montenegro has a multi religious society, though the recent threat from rouge ideology emanating from middle east Montenegro has any danger to tackle with the ominous problem?
A. Montenegro has been historically at the crossroads of multiculturalism and over centuries this has shaped its unique form of co-existence between Muslim and Christian population. Montenegrin have been, historically, members of the Serbian Orthodox Church (governed by the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral), and Serbian Orthodox Christianity is the most popular religion today in Montenegro. The Montenegrin Orthodox Church was recently founded and is followed by a small minority of Montenegrin’s although it is not in communion with any other Christian Orthodox Church as it has not been officially recognized.
During the intensified tensions between religious groups during the Bosnian War, Montenegro has remained fairly stable, mainly due its population having a historic perspective on religious tolerance and faith diversity. Religious institutions from Montenegro all have guaranteed rights and are separate from the state. The second largest religious denomination religion is Islam, which amounts to 19% of the total population of the country. The Islamic religious life in Montenegro is organized by the Islamic Community of Montenegro.  One third of Albanians are Catholics (8,126 in the 2004 census) while the two other thirds (22,267) are mainly Sunni Muslims ; in 2012 a protocol passed that recognizes Islam as an official religion in Montenegro, ensures that halal foods will be served at military facilities, hospitals, dormitories and all social facilities; and that Muslim women will be permitted to wear head- scarves in schools and at public institutions, as well as ensuring that Muslims have the right to take Fridays off work for the Jumu’ah (Friday)-prayer. There is also a small Roman Catholic population, mostly Albanians with some Croats, divided between the Archdiocese of Antivari headed by the Primate of Serbia and the Diocese of Kotor that is a part of the Church of Croatia.
Q. what is the road map planned to consolidate bilateral ties between India and Montenegro?
A. Our priority is to set up direct flight between India and Montenegro. It will fast track the people to people relations leading to greater business activities.
Q. Montenegro is part of NATO; however the relevance of NATO is diminishing in the new world order. How your country is bracing itself from the new reality?
A. NATO is relevant in the present world and Montenegro will remain committed to the objective of the NATO.
Q. there is a massive competition between the various emerging countries to model themselves as the knowledge economy, how your government is bracing to the new reality of the world?
A. Montenegro leadership is aware of the importance of knowledge economy and our government is building up the necessary infrastructure to address the issue. We are fortunate to have a solid physical and digital infrastructure in the country and the focus is there to improve the technical education for capacity building. We have a strong economy and steadily, our government is promoting knowledge industry by inviting global experts and investors. Surely, Montenegro strategic location being the gateway to Europe adds to the entire push of the government.
Article & Interview conducted by Prashant Tewari
Montenegro, one of the most beautiful and emerging new destinations of the world, is a sovereign state in South Eastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north- west, Serbia to the northeast, Kosovo to the east, and Albania in the south east.
It was founded on 03 Jun 2006 and has a population of 6,22,400 (2015) with a GDP of $4.250 billion USD (2016). Montenegro Capital city is Podgorica and Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital. The country is having area of 13,810 km?2; (5,333 sq miles) with a density of 45/km2 (116.5/sq mi). The country’s present president is Filip Vujanovi? and prime minister Duško Markovi?. Its legislature is called Skupština.
After the breakup of yugoslavia in 1992, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro together established a federation as the Federal Republic of yugoslavia, although its status as the legal successor to yugoslavia was opposed by other former republics and denied by the United Nations; in 2003, it renamed itself Serbia and Montenegro. On the basis of an independence referendum held in 21 May 2006, Montenegro declared independence on 3 June.
Classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is a member of the UN, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Central European Free Trade Agreement and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Montenegro is also a candidate negotiating to join the European Union and NATO.
On 2 December, 2015, Montenegro received an official invitation to join NATO, hereby it would be the 29th member country.
The status of the union between Montenegro and Serbia was decided by a referendum on Montenegrin independence on 21 May 2006. A total of 419,240 votes were cast, representing 86.5% of the total electorate; 230,661 votes (55.5%) were for independence and 185,002 votes (44.5%) were against. This narrowly surpassed the 55% threshold needed to validate the referendum under the rules set by the European Union. According to the electoral commission, the 55% threshold was passed by only 2,300 votes. Serbia, the member-states of the European Union, and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council all recognised Montenegro’s independence.
On 3 June 2006, the Montenegrin Parliament declared the independence of Montenegro, formally confirming the result of the referendum. Serbia did not object to the declaration. On 12 July 2011, the Parliament of Montenegro passed the Law on the Status of the Descendants of the Petrovi? Njegoš Dynasty that rehabilitated the Royal House of Montenegro and recognized limited symbolic roles within the constitutional framework of the republic.
In 2015, the investigative journalists’ network OCCRP has named Montenegro’s long time President and Prime Minister Milo ?ukanovi? ‘Person of the year in Organized Crime’. The extent of ?ukanovi?’s corruption led to street demonstrations and calls for his removal. In October 2016, a coup was attempted by 20 people, including some Serbian and Russian nationalists; the coup was thwarted.
After the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence in the Parliament of the Republic of Montenegro on 3 June 2006, following the independence referendum held on 21 May, the Government of the Republic of Monte- negro assumed the competences of defining and conducting the foreign policy of Montenegro as a subject of international law and a sovereign state. The implementation of this constitutional responsibility was vested in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was given the task of defining the foreign policy priorities and activities needed for their implementation. These activities are pursued in close cooperation with other state administration authorities, the President, the Speaker of the Parliament, and other relevant stakeholders.
Integration into the European Union is Montenegro’s strategic goal. This process will remain in the focus of Montenegrin foreign policy in the short term. The second strategic and equally important goal, but one attainable in a shorter time span, is joining NATO, which would guarantee stability and security for pursuing other strategic goals. Montenegro believes NATO integration would speed up EU integration.
The military of Montenegro is a fully professional standing army under the Ministry of Defence and is composed of the Montenegrin Ground Army, the Montenegrin Navy, and the Montenegrin Air Force, along with Special Forces. Conscription was abolished in 2006. The military currently maintains a force of 1,920 active duty members. The bulk of its equipment and forces were inherited from the armed forces of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro; as Montenegro contained the entire coastline of the former union, it retained practically the entire naval force.
Montenegro is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and is an official candidate for full membership in the alliance. Montenegro applied for a Membership Action Plan on November 5, 2008, which was granted in December 2009. Montenegro is also a member of Adriatic Charter.
Montenegro was invited to join NATO on December 2, 2015 and is expected to be NATO’s 29th member in 2017. On May 19, 2016, NATO and Montenegro conducted a signing ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels for Montenegro’s member- ship invitation, despite Russia’s objections. The government plans to have the army participate in peacekeeping missions through the UN and NATO such as the International Security Assistance Force.
Montenegro uses the Euro as its national currency. The economy of Montenegro is mostly service-based and is in late transition to a market economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the nominal GDP of Montenegro was $4.114 billion in 2009. The GDP PPP for 2009 was $6.590 billion, or $10,527 per capita. According to eurostat data, the Montenegrin GDP per capita stood at 41% of the eU average in 2010. The Central Bank of Montenegro is not part of the euro system but the country is euroized using the euro unilaterally as its currency.
GDP grew at 10.7% in 2007 and 7.5% in 2008. The country entered a recession in 2008 as a part of the global recession, with GDP contracting by 4%. However, Montenegro remained a target for foreign investment, the only country in the Balkans to increase its amount of direct foreign investment. The country is expected to exit the recession in mid-2010, with GDP growth predicted at around 0.5%. However, the significant dependence of the Montenegrin economy on foreign direct investment leaves it susceptible to external shocks and a high export/import trade deficit.
Montenegro’s economy is transitioning to a market system. From the beginning of the privatization process in 1999 through 2015, around 85% of Montenegrin state-owned companies have been privatized, including 100% of banking, telecommunications, and oil distribution. Tourism brings in twice as many visitors as Montenegro’s total population every year. Several new luxury tourism complexes are in various stages of development along the coast, and a number are being offered in connection with nearby boating and yachting facilities.
Montenegro uses the euro as its domestic currency, though it is not an official member of the euro zone. In January 2007, Montenegro joined the World Bank and IMF, and in December 2011, the WTO. Montenegro began negotiations to join the eC in June, 2012, having met the conditions set down by the European Council, which called on Montenegro to take steps to fight corruption and organized crime.
The government recognizes the need to remove impediments in order to remain competitive and open the economy to foreign investors. The biggest foreign investors in Montenegro are Italy, Norway, Austria, Russia, Hungary and the UK. Net foreign direct investment in 2014 reached $483 million and investment per capita is one of the highest in Europe.
Montenegro is currently planning major overhauls of its road and rail networks, and possible expansions of its air transportation system. In 2014, the Government of Montenegro selected two Chinese companies to construct a 41 km-long section of the country’s highway system. Construction will cost around $1.1 billion. Montenegro first instituted a value added tax (VAT) in April 2003, and introduced differentiated VAT rates of 17% and 7% (for tour- ism) in January 2006.
In May 2013, the Montenegrin Government raised the higher level VAT rate to 19%. Podgorica Airport.
In 2007, the service sector made up for 72.4% of GDP, with industry and agriculture making up the rest at 17.6% and 10%, respectively. There are 50,000 farming households in Montenegro that rely on agriculture to fill the family budget.
Montenegro Airlines was founded on 24th October 1994. The company is licensed to operate scheduled domestic and international passenger transport and charter operations, as well as for carriage of cargo and mail. Over the years, as the company, its fleet and the number of employees has grown, Montenegro Airlines has developed into a modern institution, operating in accordance with modern global standards. This assertion is backed up by our satisfied loyal passengers and numerous certificates and awards of merit.
Today, Montenegro Airlines operates scheduled flights to Zurich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Rome, Paris, Ljubljana, Vienna, Belgrade, Moscow, Lyon, Copenhagen, London and Saint Petersburg successfully establishing an air bridge between Montenegro and Europe.
In addition to scheduled flights, we also operate charters to many destinations, including: Helsinki, Tel Aviv, Bratislava, Graz, Nantes, Teheran, Bari, Naples and others. The Montenegro Airlines fleet consists of 5 modern aircrafts; of which three of them type Embraer 195 and two other are Fokker 100. Future development plans for Montenegro Airlines include further modernization and enlargement of our fleet with more Embraer 195s. The company is committed to conquering new markets, opening new routes, increasing flights to current destinations and increasing the number of passengers served.
The Montenegrin road infrastructure is not yet at Western European standards. Despite an extensive road network, no roads are built to full motorway standards. Construction of new motorways is considered a national priority, as they are important for uniform regional economic development and the development of Montenegro as an attractive tourist destination.
The backbone of the Montenegrin rail network is the Belgrade – Bar railway. This railway intersects with Nikši? Tirana (Albania) at Podgorica; however, it is not used for passenger service. Montenegro has two international airports, Podgorica Airport and Tivat Airport. The two airports served 1.1 million passengers in 2008. Montenegro Air- lines is the flag carrier of Montenegro.
The Port of Bar is Montenegro’s main seaport. Initially built in 1906, the port was almost completely destroyed during World War II, with reconstruction beginning in 1950. Today, it is equipped to handle over 5 million tons of cargo annually, though the breakup of the former yugoslavia and the size of the Montenegrin industrial sector have resulted in the port operating at a loss and well below capacity for several years. The reconstruction of the Belgrade-Bar railway and the proposed Belgrade-Bar motorway are expected to bring the port back up to capacity.
Montenegro has both a picturesque coast and a mountainous northern region. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. yet, the yugoslav wars that were fought in neighbouring countries during the 1990s crippled the tourist industry and damaged the image of Montenegro for years. With a total of 1.6 million visitors, the nation is the 36th (out of 47 countries) most visited country in Europe.
The Montenegrin Adriatic coast is 295 km (183 mi) long, with 72 km (45 mi) of beaches, and with many well preserved ancient old towns. National Geographic Traveller (edited once in decade) features Montenegro among the "50 Places of a Lifetime", and Montenegrin seaside Sveti Stefan was used as the cover for the magazine. The coast region of Montenegro is considered one of the great new "discoveries" among world tourists. In January 2010, The New york Times ranked the Ulcinj South Coast region of Montenegro, including Velika Plaza, Ada Bojana, and the Hotel Mediteran of Ulcinj, as among the "Top 31 Places to Go in 2010" as part of a worldwide ranking of tourism destinations.
Montenegro was also listed in ‘10 Top Hot Spots of 2009’; to visit by yahoo Travel, describing it as ‘Currently ranked as the second fastest growing tourism market in the world (falling just behind China)’. It is listed every year by prestigious tourism guides like Lonely Planet as top tourist destination along with Greece, Spain and other world touristic places.
It was not until the 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of visits and overnight stays. The Government of Montenegro has set the development of Montenegro as an elite tourist destination a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major contributor to the Montenegrin economy. A number of steps were taken to attract foreign investors. Some large projects are already under way, such as Porto Montenegro, while other locations, like Jaz Beach, Buljarica, Velika Plaža and Ada Bojana, have perhaps the greatest potential to attract future investments and become premium tourist spots on the Adriatic.
Education in Montenegro is regulated by the Montenegrin Ministry of Education and Science. Education starts in either pre schools or elementary schools. Children enroll in elementary schools (Montenegrin: Osnovna škola) at the age of 6; it lasts 9 years. The students may continue their secondary education (Montenegrin: Sred- nja škola), which lasts 4 years (3 years for trade schools) and ends with graduation (Matura). Higher education lasts with a certain first degree after 3 to 6 years. There is one public University (University of Montenegro) and two private (Mediterranean University and University of Donja Gorica).
Elementary education in Montenegro is free and compulsory for all the children between the ages of 6 and 14. Secondary schools are divided in three types, and children attend one depending on choice and primary school grades: Gymnasium (Gimnazija / ???????j?), lasts for four years and offers a general, broad education. It is a preparatory school for university, and hence the most academic and prestigious.
Professional schools (Stru?na škola / ??????? ?????) last for three or four years and specialize students in certain fields which may result in their attending college; professional schools offer a relatively broad education. Vocational schools (Zanatska škola / ???????? ?????) last for three years and focus on vocational education (e.g., joinery, plumbing, and mechanics) without an option of continuing education after three years.
Tertiary level institutions are divided into ‘Higher education’; (Više obrazovanje) and ‘High education’ (Visoko obrazovanje) level faculties. Colleges (Fakultet) and art academies (akademija umjetnosti) last between 4 and 6 years (one year is two semesters long) and award diplomas equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.
Post-graduate education (post diplomske studije) is offered after tertiary level and offers Masters’ degrees, PhD and specialization education.
Montenegrin cuisine is a result of Montenegro’s long history. It is a variation of Mediterranean and Oriental. The most influence is from Italy, Turkey, Byzantine empire Greece, and as well from Hungary. Montenegrin cuisine also varies geographically; the cuisine in the coastal area differs from the one in the northern highland region. The coastal area is traditionally a representative of Mediterranean cuisine, with seafood being a common dish, while the northern represents more the Oriental.
The media of Montenegro refers to mass media outlets based in Montenegro. Television, magazines, and newspapers are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Montenegro guarantees freedom of speech. As a country in transition, Montenegro’s media system is under transformation.
State-funded national radio-TV broadcaster operates 2 terrestrial TV networks, 1 satellite TV channel, and 2 radio networks; 4 public TV stations and some 20 private TV stations; 14 lo- cal public radio stations and more than 40 private radio stations (2007)
The person instrumental in shaping India Montenegro ties is Dr Janice Darbari, a Delhi-based author has been selected for the position of Honorary Consul General for Republic of Montenegro in New Delhi.
Darbari, who also contested the Lok Sabha polls in 1999 and 2004 from South Delhi, was appointed as the Special Representative – Emissary of the Republic of Macedonia to India in 1993. She also played key role in establishing formal diplomatic relationship with Former yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia (FyRO) in 1995.
The Republic of Montenegro hon- oured her with the designation of Honorary Consul General Head of Mission for the Republic of Montenegro in India in 2007. After that the Indian government on its part recognized Darbari as the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Montenegro in New Delhi with immediate effect from January 1, 2008.
-BY OPINION EXPRESS
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