The building of “Zetski dom” belongs to the most significant works of architect Josip Slade Šilović, and also to the most recognizable buildings in the historical centre of Cetinje. The building was built from 1884 to 1896, thanks to the voluntary contributions of people from all over Montenegro and numerous donors from abroad.
After opening, the first theatre building in Montenegro had an area of 964 square meters, 17 boxes, a ground floor and a gallery with 300 seats for audience, a stage which was 14 meters deep and seven meters wide. It is a unique Neo-Romanesque building, the exterior is notable for its entrance porch with three arches and a terrace above it.
At that time, baroque decorations with gilding attracted particular attention, as well as the ceiling painted with the seven muses of art, which was created by the Czech painter František Ženišek. With Prince Nikola’s approval, he also made an original theatre curtain.
During its history, the building was devastated several times. It was first destroyed by fire in 1916. By 1931, there was a reconstruction that destroyed the original appearance of the front facade (instead of three arches on the porch, one was used), and at the same time, serious mistakes were made in the reconstruction of the auditorium – so it was impossible to see the stage from 50 percent of the seats, and the acoustics were also disturbed. During 1962, the building was damaged in another fire, and was further damaged in the 1979 earthquake. The last major renovation of the building took place in 1985, when the exterior was restored to its original appearance, but with many changes in the interior of the building.
The Royal Theatre “Zetski dom”, since June 29, 1961, has the status of a registered immovable cultural herritage of national importance.
Today, the theatre hall has 240 seats on the ground floor, gallery and balcony.
About the theater
Inheriting the tradition since 1884, the Zetski Dom Royal Theater is the oldest theater institution in Montenegro.
Located in the historical center, the Royal Theater Zetski dom is one of the most recognizable buildings in Cetinje.