Užice lies at 411 metres (1,348 feet) above sea level, on both sides of the river Đetinja. The city is completely surrounded by the Dinaric Alps, which are interconnected. 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of the city is Zlatibor mountain, which has a 120-year tradition of tourism.
The Belgrade-Bar railway passes through Užice and connects it with both the northern parts of the country and the Montenegrin coast. Užice has a fairly developed transportation infrastructure, connected with the surrounding areas by state roads of the first order.
The region surrounding Užice was settled by Illyrians, specifically the Parthini and Autariatae tribes. Their tombs are found throughout the region. In the 3rd century BC, Scordisci were formed here after the Gallic invasion of the Balkans. The region was conquered by the Roman Empire in 168 BC, being organized into the Illyricum province in 32–27 BC, and after 10 AD, the province of Dalmatia. The town municipium Capedunum existed here during Roman times; its name indicates a Celtic origin (dun, fortress), similar to Singidunum, the founding of Belgrade.