Republic of Montenegro
Crna Gora, sometimes transliterated as Tsrna Gora ("Black Mountain"), is used to denote a larger part of Montenegro in the 12th century. It had in the late 11th century only referred to a small strip of land of the Paštrovići, but eventually came to be used for a wider mountainous region after the Crnojević noble family in Upper Zeta.
The aforementioned region became known as Old Montenegro (Стара Црна Гора/Stara Crna Gora) by the 16th century to distinguish it from the newly acquired territory of Brda (The Highlands). Montenegro further increased its size several times by the 17th century as the result of wars against the Ottomans, which saw the annexation of Old Herzegovina and parts of Metohija and southern Rashka. The nation has changed little since that time, though it lost Metohija and gained the Bay of Kotor.
The country's name in most Western European languages reflects an adaptation of the Italian-Venetian calque monte negro (modern Italian would be monte nero), meaning "black mountain", which probably dates back to the era of Venetian hegemony over the area in the Middle Ages. Other languages, particularly nearby ones, use their own direct translation of the term "black mountain".
Montenegro ranges from high peaks along its borders with Serbia and Albania, a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles (2 to 6 km) wide. The plain stops abruptly in the north, where Mount Lovćen and Mount Orjen plunge into the inlet of the Bay of Kotor.
Montenegro's large Karst region lies generally at elevations of 1,000 metres (3,281 feet) above sea level; some parts, however, rise to 2,000 m (6,562 ft), such as Mount Orjen (1,894 m or 6,214 ft), the highest massif among the coastal limestone ranges. The Zeta River valley, at an elevation of 500 m (1,640 ft), is the lowest segment.
The mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe, averaging more than 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) in elevation. One of the country's notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountains, which reaches a height of 2,522 metres (8,274 feet). Owing to the hyperhumid climate on their western sides, the Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded parts of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.
- Longest beach: Velika Plaža, Ulcinj — 13,000 m (8 mi)
- Highest peak: Zla Kolata, Prokletije at 2,534 m (8,314 ft)
- Largest lake: Skadar Lake — 391 km2 (151 mi²) of surface area
- Deepest canyon: Tara River Canyon — 1,300 m (4,265 ft)
- Biggest bay: Bay of Kotor
- National parks: Durmitor — 390 km2 (151 mi²), Lovćen — 64 km2 (25 mi²), Biogradska Gora — 54 km2 (21 mi²), Skadar Lake — 400 km2 (154 mi²) and Prokletije.
- World Heritage Sites: Durmitor and Tara River Canyon, old city of Kotor.
Montenegro is a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), as more than 2,000 km2 (772 mi²) of the country's territory lie within the Danube catchment area.
Diversity of geological base, landscape, climate and soil, as well as the very position of Montenegro on the Balkan peninsula and Adriatic sea, created conditions for formation of biological diversity with very high values, that puts Montenegro among biological "hot-spots" of European and world’s biodiversity. Number of species per area unit Index in Montenegro is 0.837, which is the highest index recorded in all European countries.
- Freshwater algae of Montenegro – so far 1,200 species and varieties have been described
- Vascular flora of Montenegro has 3,250 species. Number of endemics is also high – there are 392 Balkan (regional) endemic species, equivalent to over 7% of Montenegrin flora.
- Lake Skadar is among the most important areas that are inhabited by the freshwater fish, where 40 species of fish, including species that migrate from marine to freshwater ecosystem, like eel (Anguilla Anguilla), shad (Alossa falax nilotica), etc.
- It is considered that the diversity of marine fish fauna of the Adriatic sea comprise 117 registered families but with low level of endemism. To date, 40,742 marine fish species have been registered in Montenegro which represents 70% of species registered in Mediterranean.
- There are currently 56 species (18 amphibian and 38 reptile) and 69 subspecies recorded within 38 genera and the list is probably incomplete. Mountain regions of Lovćen and Prokletije stand out as particularly hot spots for amphibians and reptiles in Montenegro.
- Out of 526 European bird species 333 are assumed to be regularly present in Montenegro. Out of them, 204 species are nesting in the country.
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