According to the legend in the end of the XVI century the well-known Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes was a slave in Ulcinj. Some investigators recognized a woman from Ulcinj in his Dulcinea of Tobosa, the leading role in his novel. Namely, “Don Quixote” appeared after Cervantes’ slavery in the Old Town, which was in Roman states and still is, called Dulcinjo. Does that mean that Dulcinea was just another name for a woman from Ulcinj? The folk tradition mentions a Servet, whose destiny, but also the base of his name, match with that of Cervantes.
An insight into many texts will lead us to the discovery that the 24-year-old Cervantes fell into slavery „one day in 1575 as three Ulcinj leuts – fast pirate boats, under the command of the notorious captain Arnaut Mami, attacked a Spanish frigate in the Mediterrannean. In the bloody fight the pirates overwhelmed the combative Spaniards and they took the ship with the captives to their harbour. Among the captives there was a man with a special recommendation from the Spanish king. This meant that he was a precious slave, who would bring them a lot of gold“.The local citizens called him Servet, which was actually the base of the later well-known Spaniard. His behaviour was traced with special care.
This slave would, as the people from the Old Town had noticed, stay awake until late at night in his cell, constantly thinking over and writing. By day he would always sing so that girls often came out to their windows in order to listen to him. For one of the girls, as tradition suggests, this was not enough, so that she followed him every time when the slave Servet went for a walk along the paths which were allowed to him. Thus love was born between the local girl and the unknown slave.
A couple of years later one foreigner came and brought a lot of money and freed the slave, who then took the beautiful girl from the Old Town with him .According to another tradition the owner took Miguel to Algeria, that is to Berberia, with which the people of Ulcinj had close relationships. One of the cruelest local heads bought him there, a certain Hasan-aga. It was from there that Cervantes managed to escape thanks to the Spanish friars who had been paying the ransom for their countrymen on the Mediterrannean.
They had to pay 500 golden thalers and so he could finally, after five years of hard slavery, step onto Spanish land. This was followed by the novel „Don Quixote“ with the story of Dulcinea, that is the woman from Ulcinj.It is uncontested a fact that prior to his liberation in September 1580 and before he set up for Spain, Cervantes had been defending himself from the accusations that he had collaborated with the Berberian pirates. Perhaps he came to Ulcinj with them or he was listening to stories about the „harbour Dolcinjo“ told either by them or some other captives, from the other side of the sea.This story or legend perpetuated the name of Ulcinj.