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Image for Podgorica: boxing, studying and dreaming in the wild (15 photos)

Podgorica: boxing, studying and dreaming in the wild (15 photos)

Published on

Story by

simon chang

Translation by:

Cafebabel ENG (NS)


An ambiguous but direct look at how lives in the Montenegrin capital might parallel lives in the EU. Podgorica is full of contrasts, whether its a bustop in the wilderness or a shopping centre exposition on Roma refugees viewed by school kids. The city's visual paradoxes are both visible and invisible, emotional and physical. Four days with Ljubljana-based Taiwanese photographer Simon Chang. Part of’s 2010-2011 feature focus on the Balkans, Orient Express Reporter

Montenegro means 'black mountain', or 'Crna Gora'

Podgorica means 'on the little mountain' and is confronted with the presence of the elements. It's 50 km from the Adriatic coast and the foot of the Dinaric Alps (All images: © Simon Chang)

Scholarly days in Podgorica

Of the 620, 000 inhabitants in Montenegro, 145, 000 live in the capital. Pictured, a giant school in the centre of the city, near a football stadium where pupils buy their burek snacks at midday. Two girls make the most of a spontaneous fire in the courtyard to chat in warmth (All images: © Simon Chang)


The narrow city is hunched up on the nature surrounding it. The long roads invite you if you have money. You're welcome in Montenegro for its chic side, abundance of Russians and citizens of the world (All images: © Simon Chang)

Immensely grand, immensely small

Inside the capital, young people await the bus. They're the ones who chose to stay here and study rather than go to Belgrade; Montenegro gained independence from Serbia in summer 2006. It's been four and a half years that the 192nd member of the United Nations has been leading its own life (All images: © Simon Chang)

Student dorms at 30 euros a month, food included

Journalism student Jovana on the roof of domitory residence B, which is reserved for younger students. She is twenty (All images: © Simon Chang)


Opposite the university Miodrag Perunovic, a middleweight who participated in the Olympics for Yugoslavia in Moscow in 1980, teaches the art of boxing (All images: © Simon Chang)

Limited comfort

Some prefer the centre of the city, though its a little more expensive. Still, most good parties take place in the corridors and shared halls of the dorms. The lifts are broken and promiscuity reigns (All images: © Simon Chang)

Box for life

Another way to expand energy (All images: © Simon Chang)


Residence A hosts the 'good kids'. Around 15, 000 people emigrated from Albania but mostly Kosovo in the search for a better future (All images: © Simon Chang)

Brick and wood houses

Quick diversion: ten minutes away by car, the refugee camp of Konik. Fixing the roofs in the snow (All images: © Simon Chang)

Osman Mustafaj: refugee futures

Human faces: Osman came from Kosovo at the age of twelve to the camps at Konik. He is planning to found his own NGO, Involve the Roma Ashkali and Egytien youth of the Balkans (UM RAE, 'Ukljuciti mlade Romi Aškalije Egipćani')

Read more about Osman Mustafaj in 'Konik: life in biggest Balkan Roma refugee camp, Montenegro'

(All images: © Simon Chang)

Podgorica centre: other futures

Back in the city centre to other young people's futures. Many have gone to Belgrade, others cross the Millenium bridge which crossesthe pans the Morača River, to the city university with a red roof. Where will these schoolkids go? (All images: © Simon Chang)

Podgorica commercial centre

The kids hang out at the main mall. Pavle Calasan's photos are exhibited at the shopping centre in partnership with Unicef. The subject is the Roma camps of Konik. 'Here, the impact is much stronger,' explains the 26-year-old photographer, who doesn't shy away from bringing the slums to a place housing luxury boutiques (All images: © Simon Chang)

Orthodox basilica of Podgorica

Honourable buildings. A fruit and vegetables stall which seems to have been in front of this church forever (All images: © Simon Chang)

Young and old

Movement and stagnation clash in the same city. What direction will its youth take? (All images: © Simon Chang)

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Translated from Podgorica : la jeunesse monténégrine boxe, se bouge et espère (22 photos)