The Old Bar was connected to the Balkan hinterland through caravan routes much better than Kotor, Budva and Ulcin. It also communicated to the Mediterranean towns through the sea. All the caravan routes that connected it with the towns through the sea. All the caravan soutes that connected it with the towns inon the east and north had to go through great mountain massifs of Rumija, Lisinje and Sutorman. By overcoming these obstacles a passage to the oppositre side of Rumija was made, to the lake of Skadar, and farther to the inland.
Two very important land roads led through Bar in the Middle Ages. The first one joined the most important land road which connected the coastal area of Zeta (from Kotor to the confluence of the river Drin) with the road system in Serbia, and it was called "Via de Zeta" (zeta road). It led through the slopes of mountain Sutorman, the river Crnica valley to Rijeka Crnojevica and farther to Podgorica where it joined the Kotor road. The other road led from Bar to Ulcinj, through the village Dobra Voda, Markovski polje and farther to Dkadar.
The shipping industry was not particularly developed due to the distance from the coast, although Bar was the most important port od Skadar. Bar port "portus Antivrensis" had goods storehouses atr its disposal.
The town relied on its rather fertile land and urban activity, trade and handcraft. The most lucrative trade was the one with raw metals. What was traded was silver, gold lead and copper mostly from Serbia, textile and olive oil, which brought huge profit to the town families. The fertile field near Bar was less used for cereal crops, so the larger part of the land was covered with olive trees, vines and bot trees. The greatest profit was gained from cultivating olives.
It is supposed that in the 15th century Bar had from 80 to 100,000 olive treese, the majority of which was several hundred years old at the time. Apart from the water-mills for olive grinding, which were put on rivers, wells, animal and people driven mills are still parts of the majority of town buildings.
This way in a great number of buildings we can come across the remains of mills, wheels and "sarandze", oil storerooms. According to a document from 1553, the people of Bar got about 400 barrels (botte) of olive oil (the capacity of one barrel was 751,17 liters which was about 300,000 liters of oil).
The wine was not of the highest quality but still it was consumed in great quantities. In 1553 it was noted that two thirds were used in the town while one third was exported, and a document made six years laters that the vicinity of Bar produced the amount of wine to fill 600 barrels.
The people of Bar sold Spanish silk to velutari from Dubrovnik. In the beginning of the 16th century the silk from the Orient, from Beirut. the veluari represented the highest achievement of the craftsmenship of Bar, and goldsmith's trade should also be added to it. There were first-rate goldsmiths who mostly moved from Bar to more prosperous towns, such as Kotor or Dubrovnik.
Bar has always good road connection which caused relatively high quality and well-developed trade. this enabled it to be on the same level with much more developed centers where "where modern goods exchange" functioned. Its wider trading activity can be reliably traced on the basis of painted ceramics of foreign production.
Among all the archeological indicators the most reliable ones on trade are glazed ceramics and glass. These products reflect the trad with the neighboring coasts of the Italian Peninsula and the Pyrenean Peninsula from the end of the 12th until the 17th century and the coasts of Africa and the Near East.
During the period which was not the period of Venetian domination, between the 13th and the 14th centuries, a very strong influence of artisan workshops from Apulia can be noted.
The Venetian influence in the trade does not start with Venetian domination over the town. The best indicator of this is the pottery which was first used in the second half of the 14th century, at the end of the Serbian empire and during the rule of the Balsic family.
Artistic styles were changing at the beginning of the real Venetian rule. New ornaments appeared in the spirit of floral Gothic and the arrival of Renaissance. Due to the increase in economic power, the number of artisan workshops producing these new forms was increasing, and the markeet started being flooded with in jugs made in Florence, Venice, Ravenna, Montelupe...
The ornamental techniques were changing. The iconography was enriched with realistic representations of human profiles, heraldry, relugious scenes, apotropeic symbols, ancient reminiscences. By controlling the trade in the Venetian gulf, which was the Venetian name for the Adriatic sea, it was possible to import Spanish toods, too.
This way among ceramic pots were some of the most beautiful items made around Valencia. During the 14th century two very significant centers appeared - Manises and Paterna which made recognizable el dorardo-lister ceramics, the trademark omaiadic Spain and the regions of Maghreb.
The glass, like the ceramics, arrived from the most advanced glass workshops of the time. In the first linje in the 12th century there was the arrival of glass in corinth. In time the workshops from Murano became dominant from the 14th to the 16th centuries. A number of products came from the Dubrovnik which had, during the 14th and the 15th centuries, a strong glass industry, realised with the help of travelling Murano glaziers. Thanks to the excavations from the sewage, Bar has maybe got one of the most beautiful collections of glass from Venice and Dubrovnik in the region.
The fresco (pict. 27) of St Nicholas belongs to a wider circle of Byzantine fresco paintings according to its form. According to its general characteristics, the image is very similar to the one of St Nicholas, from an icon on Ohrid from the 14th century.
We also have to mention the masters who belonged to the group pictores Greci, which existed for 30 years in Kotor.
We know the names of only two masters who could have worked in Bar. One is Nikola de Antibaro who came in 1430 to be an apprentice of a painter Tonko Perkutovic. The other is Bozidar Nadalinus from Mrkojevici near Bar, who was mentioned in 1440.
A very important icon which belonged to Ratac monastery was discovered in St George's Church in 1440.
There was a certain number of goldsmiths. In 1335 Bogoje the goldsmith aurifex was mentioned, then in 1393 Marin, the son of Dorde Mamoö from Bar. A famous goldsmith from the 15th century was Novak who worked in Kotor.
On of the most important works from an artesan workshop in Bar was the iron-bound Vladimir's cross. It is a silver gilt procession cross with a long handhold. The size of the cross from the brass handhold is 45 cm an 38,5 cm wider. The figures of Madonna and of St John(deizis), angels and evangelist symbols can be seen on it. According to the technique, it is a classical examplw of Romanesque-Gothic goldsmith's trade, so it belongs ro the second half of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century.