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History of Budva

Budva (Serbian: Будва, Budva, pronounced [bûːdv̞a] or [bûdv̞a], Italian: Budua) is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has around 18,000 (2011) inhabitants, and it is the centre of Budva Municipality. The coastal area around Budva, called the Budvanska rivijera, is the centre of Montenegro's tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and examples of Mediterranean architecture. Budva is 3,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic Sea coast.

There is vast archaeological evidence that places Budva among the oldest urban settlements of the Adriatic coast. Substantial documentary evidence provides historical references dating back to the 5th century BC.

A legend recounts that Budva was founded by Cadmus the Phoenician, a hero exiled out of Thebes, Greece, finding a shelter in this place for him and his wife, Harmonia. Two other civilizations also left innumerable traces: the Greek and the Roman (then named Butua). Upon the fall of the Roman Empire and its division into east and west, the defensive barrier which separated the two powers happened to run across this area, subsequently making a lasting impact on the history and culture of this town. In the Middle Ages, Budva was reigned by a succession of Doclean kings, as well as Serbian and Zetan aristocrats.

The Venetians ruled the town for nearly 400 years, from 1420 to 1797. Budva, called Budua in those centuries, was part of the Venetian Republic region of Albania Veneta and was fortified by powerful Venetian walls against Ottoman conquests. According to the historian Luigi Paulucci in his book "Le Bocche di Cattaro nel 1810" (The Bay of Kotor in 1810), most of the population spoke the Venetian language until the beginning of the nineteenth century. One of the most renowned theater librettists and composers, Cristoforo Ivanovich, was born in Venetian Budua.

In the very turbulent years that followed, Budva saw a change of several of its supreme rulers - Austria, France and Russia. A union of Boka Kotorska (and Budva) with Montenegro took place for a brief period (1813–1814), but from 1814 until 1918 Budva remained under Austrian Empire. After WWI, in 1918 Serbian army entered Budva abandoned by Austrian forces and it came under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Later, in 1941, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy.

During World War II many people of this area died in the fight between partizans and Axis troops. Budva was finally liberated from Nazi rule on 22 November 1944 and, after belonging once again to Yugoslavia, is now part of the newly independent Montenegro.

A catastrophic earthquake struck Budva on 15 April 1979. Much of old town was devastated, but today there is little evidence of the catastrophe - almost all the buildings were restored to their original form.

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