Kotor (Montenegro)

According to iamaccepted, Kotor, a small resort town, is conveniently located at the far end of the Bay of Kotor, jutting deep into the Montenegrin coast. A few more interesting towns are located on the coast of the bay not far from Kotor – these are Dobrota, Perast, Risan. These places have a long history, because people began to settle here a long time ago, at least in the 6th – 5th centuries BC. Kotor itselfis sandwiched in a narrow strip of land between the sea and the steep slopes of Mount Lovcen. And from the top there is a beautiful view of the entire Bay of Kotor and the endless expanses of the sea.

Settlements on the site of modern Kotor existed more than 2000 years ago. The city was first mentioned in Roman chronicles under the name Akruvium (Askrivium) in 168 BC. In 535 Emperor Justinian erected stone fortifications around Askrivium. In 840, the city was ravaged by the Saracens, in 1002 – captured by the Bulgarians (at this time the city, apparently, already bears the name Cattaro). Subsequently, the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil cedes Cattaro to Serbia. By the 14th century, Cattaro was becoming a powerful trading center, rivaling neighboring Dubrovnik, located in present-day Croatia. The city from 1395 to 1420 was an independent republic. From 1420 to 1797 Kotor and its environs belonged to Venice, and the Venetian influence greatly affected the architecture of the city. Under the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, Kotor passed to Austria, under the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 – to Italy, and in 1810 became part of the French Empire. As a result of the Vienna Congress, Kotor was again returned to Austria. During the First World War, fierce battles between Montenegro and Austria-Hungary took place near Kotor. After 1918, Kotor, together with Montenegro, became part of Yugoslavia. Since 1945 it has been part of Montenegro again.

In the Middle Ages, a natural harbor on the Adriatic coast made Kotor an important artistic and commercial center. It even had its own schools of masonry and iconography, quite famous. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage contributed to the fact that UNESCO made Kotor on the World Natural and Historical Heritage List. A large number of monuments (including Romanesque churches and city walls) were severely damaged in the 1979 earthquake, but the city was rebuilt, mostly with the support of UNESCO. The system of fortifications that protect the city from the sea is a wall 4.5 km long, up to 20 m high. The fortifications are quite well preserved, and therefore are valued as one of the interesting historical sights. One row of fortress walls starts from the port, the other row starts from the Shkurda River, and both end at the fortress of St. Ivan. The fortress lies high above the city.

The main (western) city gate connects the port with Piazza (arms square). An old tower with chimes stands on the square, behind it are the chambers of the influential Kotor families Bizanty, Beskuch, Bucha and Pima, decorated with coats of arms. There is also a pyramidal column, the so-called Shameful Pillar – a place near which the inhabitants of Kotor stood, who did not break the law, but violated the unspoken moral rules. For example, a merchant who did not keep his word of honor.

One of the most recognizable symbols of the city is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. dedicated to the patron and defender of the city. The cathedral was built in 1166 on the foundations of an earlier church, and in 1667 it was destroyed by an earthquake, after which it was rebuilt. The cathedral keeps priceless relics: a silver cross of Bishop Marin Kontaren of the 15th century, a stone monstrance in the Romanesque-Gothic style, an ancient dagger – a masterpiece of Kotor goldsmiths. On the square next to the cathedral there are several more interesting buildings: the historical archive of Kotor, the building of the Assembly of the Community, the chamber of the Drago family. A little lower, closer to the western gate, are the Summer Theatre, the Church of St. Nicholas, the treasury of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Church of St. Luke of the 12th century. Grgurina Square is located between St. Nicholas Square and the Cathedral Square. In the chambers of the Grgurina family, there is now a maritime museum with an interesting collection.

Kotor provides ample opportunities for active and extreme recreation: from hiking in mountainous areas to diving, paragliding and rock climbing. A convenient place for paragliders to start is called Vrmac and is located above Kotor at an altitude of 550 m. The Bay of Kotor is very interesting for divers of any level, from beginners to professionals. The entire Risan Bay is full of archaeological finds, and the surroundings of the islands of St. George and Gospa od Shkrpela are also very interesting.


The most ancient settlement of the Bay of Kotor – Risan – a city founded in the 3rd century BC. At that time it was a maritime, commercial and craft center. The Romans in Risan built palaces of the finest Greek marble, adorned with majestic sculptures and mosaics. Among the mosaics here you can find the world’s only mosaic of the god of dreams, Hypnos. Among other archaeological finds, a rare rock carving of a deer and a group of ancient swastika signs are of interest.


Perast is a small resort town located near Risan at the foot of Mount St. Elijah. The city got its name from the Illyrian tribe Pirusta. The most beautiful buildings of this city were built in the 17th-18th centuries in the Baroque style. At that time, navigation was actively developing here. There was a famous nautical school in Perast, where Peter I sent the sons of Russian noblemen to study maritime affairs. Their mentor was the famous navigator Marko Martinovich, on whose ship 17 Russian princes sailed at the end of the 17th century. Perast is dominated by the church of St. Nicholas with a high bell tower, built in the 15th – 17th centuries. In addition to it, there is also a parish church built in 1740.

But the most interesting historical monuments are located on two islands opposite the city: St. and Gospa od Shkrpela. The island of Gospa od Shkrpela (Virgin Mary on the reefs) is artificial. Around the reef, on which, according to legend, the icon of the Mother of God was discovered, stones were poured. Until now, the tradition has been preserved, according to which every year on July 22, the inhabitants of the Bay of Kotor bring new stones to the island on decorated boats. The holiday is called Fashinada. In the Church of the Virgin, built on the island in honor of the found icon, the sailors left silver plates with the dates of sea voyages stamped on them.. Some plates were left with an “open” date, which means that the ship did not return. The church keeps an unusual icon, which a woman embroidered with thread and her own hair in anticipation of her beloved. She did not wait for her betrothed, and the last details of the icon were already embroidered with gray hair. Very picturesque, with a cypress grove, the island of St. George is very close. On it is the old cemetery of Perast and the monastery of St. George (George).

Kotor (Montenegro)