Situated in one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Kotor, the town of traders and famous seamen, has a lot to tell. The old town of Kotor is the best preserved urban centre from the Middle Ages, typical for the towns that were created in the 12 th and 14 th centuries. The medieval architecture and numerous monuments of this cultural heritage have put Kotor on the UNESCO list of the “World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites”. Throughout the city there are structures, interwoven by streets and squares. On one of them there is the St. Tripun Cathedral, the monument of the Roman culture and one of the recognised symbols of the city. Elsewhere, St. Luke’s Church (13 th century), the Church of St. Anna (12 th century), the Church of St. Mary (13 th century), the Church of Our Lady of the Health (15 th century), the Duke’s Palace (17 th century), Napoleon’s Theatre (19 th century) represent just one part of the rich treasures of the Kotor tradition. The carnivals and feasts organised each year give an additional charm to the most beautiful city on the Montenegrin coast. You simply can not afford to miss Kotor.
History of Kotor
Even though we are in the XXI century, the science still, unfortunately hasn’t established when the first lodgment in Kotor was founded. Historical resources, as the earliest period, which is connected to Kotor, mention the antique period. According to some other data, Kotor is 2 millenniums old, and its name stems from the word DEKATERA (from the old Greece KATAREO – meaning HOT). The written sources mention the "Upper town", which referred to the oldest part of the lodgment on the top of the hill Sveti Ivan (St. Ivan) (above Kotor), and the "Lower town", present Kotor.
The rich history of Kotor, is parallel to the rich culture of the town with which many conquerors ruled: the Illyrians, the Venetians, the Austrians, the French…
First the town was ruled by the Illyrians (III and II century B.C.). On the other hand the Romans are considered to be the founders of Kotor 168 B.C. – 476 A.D. Kotor was under their reign until the break of Roman Empire in 476 A.D. After the Romans, until the year 1185 Kotor was under the reign of Byzantium. Instead of Akruvijum, as Kotor was initially named, under the Byzantium reign Kotor is named DEKADERON.
The period from 1185 – 1371 Kotor remains one of the coastal towns which are a part of the Medieval Serbian state, under the management of dynasty Nemanjic. The dynasty Nemanjic, names the town Kotor, and they make Kotor a seaport, through which they have maintained connections with the west. During the reign of the Serbian dynasty Nemanjic, Kotor experiences a significant economical as well as cultural boon.
After Nemanjic dynasty, Kotor is being taken over by the Hungarians. The Hungarian King Ludvik, rules Kotor from 1371 to 1384. After that, Kotor is being governed by Bosnian King Tvrtko I (1384 – 1391).
The period from 1391 to 1420 Kotor is being an independent Republic. Because of the danger of the conquering the town by the Turks, in 1420 people from Kotor voluntarily, and with accordance with the decision of the Big council of Kotor, give the management of the town to the Venetian Republic. Until 1797 Kotor was under reign of Venice. Considering the fact that at that time Kotor was a battle field, the period until 1797 is thought to be the most dramatic and the hardest in the history of Kotor.
The history of Kotor also notes natural catastrophes. Several earthquakes have hit Kotor. Those were earthquakes in: 1537, 1563, 1667, 1729, and 1979. Kotor also survives years when the world was surrounded by a contagious disease – plague in: 1422, 1427, 1457, 1467, and 1572.
From 1797 to 1805 Kotor is a part of the Austrian empire. In 1806 year Russians come to Kotor. They governed the town only for a year – until 1807.
The French soon menace Kotor. As the Russian army was defeated by the French, in the battle near Fridland, Russian with a secret contract give Kotor to France, which rules over Kotor from 1807 until 1813.
Montenegrin ruler Petar I Petrovic helps people from Kotor in September of 1813. At that time Montenegrins and people from Boka (the other name for people from Kotor) fight together against the French Monarchy. So at that time there comes to certain unison of Boka and former Montenegro.
However that unison lasted only for 9 months, because Paris peace congress, which was held in 1814, didn’t acknowledge that unison, so after that conference (Boka with its surrounding) is being given to Austria (1814 – 1918).
A one hundred year old reign of Austria over Kotor was marked by numerous rebellions, and uprisings of the people from Boka Kotorska.
The liberation of Austria Kotor awaited in 1918.
As all other towns of former Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians, Kotor, which was exhausted by numerous occupations, awaited the biggest war ever fought – WW II, in the year 1941.
Kotor experiences liberation from the Nazi control in November 1944.
Kotor is a town with many diverse stories and legends. Its almost every part, every stone with which its streets are paved, palaces which surround certain parts of the town, monuments which it has, can tell a very nice story, a true story or some catch.
Already when we pronounce the word Kotor, we immediately recollect other parts (lodgments), which are also parts of Kotor like: Perast, Prcanj, Risan, Dobrota etc.
So when we are mentioning Dobrota, here is a story about its foundation:
Two travelers, who were traveling around the world, came to the grey sea. As they were already exhausted from the long trip, they sat on some kind of a rock to get some rest and to refresh themselves. One of them moved a little bit t a side and noticed a plaque with some inscription on it. The inscription said: "Measure 10 lengths dig and stop". When they read that, they wondered what could that be, so they started to guess together what that instruction could mean. At one moment they came to an idea to measure 10 lengths with the plaque, and so they did. When they measured the required length, they started to dig a small hole in the ground and they found some kind of a small chest.They tried to open it, but to their astonishment, the chest opened by itself.
At the bottom of the chest with golden letters it was written "this is everyone goodness". For a long time they thought what they should do?! Whether to stay where they are, or to continue their journey? Still, as the message was like some kind of a vow, they stayed in the place where they have found the message. At the same place they quickly made a cottage, and went to sleep.
During the night something very strange happened. From the wooden chest, some new shiny letters glimmered. The new message said: "Wish whatever you want before sleep"!!! As both of the travelers from the beginning of the story were poor, they wished for nice stone houses and beautiful wives. When they woke up in the morning they were speechless. They saw a white castle and a woman on the window looking towards the sea. They immediately moved into the new home, and continued to live in ease. Since that, every night before they went to sleep they wished for another nice house, of which every morning one emerged.
That is how Dobrota, near Kotor, was founded.
Stone houses and numerous palaces, which later were built, are the most beautiful details of Dobrota.
Kotor is surely the most famous Montenegrin town when we are talking about culture and cultural landmarks. At the end of XIX century, Kotor, that is bay of Boka Kotorska or the southern fiord, as that bay is lately called, because of its unsurpassable beauty, got the epithet of the Bride of Adriatic.
Its amazing beauty comes from the blue sea, stony shore, the slopes of the most famous Montenegrin Mountain Lovcen, greenery, which with the rocks above the bulwarks of the Old Kotor creates unusual natural colors. Its beauty is also created by the serpentines toward the fortress San Djovani (St. Giovanni) or Sveti Ivan (St. Ivan), medieval palaces, old town, and unavoidable, always cheerful spirit of inhabitants, whatever nation or religion they are.
Kotor has been a challenge for every tourist for centuries. Not so much in the sense of tourism, as it was challenging as a town of great cultural value with monuments of culture from the past, like its churches and cathedrals are. On every step that to you lay through the Old Kotor town you can for a while, at least through imagination, go back to Middle century, baroque age or the period when the pirates reined the world coasts. If you are for the first time in Kotor, the impression that you will have, we are sure, will be more convincing that the adventures from the movies that you have seen, or the books that you have read about those ages, or about this town. It has the tracks of Illyrian, and Roman culture, as well as pre Roman, Roman, Gothic, renascence, and baroque culture. Old town is counted into the Mediterranean towns with best preserved medieval urban settlement from the XII to XIV century, and is included in the list of the world cultural inheritance under the protection of UNESCO.
The Old town Kotor is on the list of UNESCO of the world cultural inheritance, since 1979. The medieval town Kotor is situated on the very end of the Bay of Boka Kotorska. Today Kotor is the biggest old urban settlement in Montenegro. The oldest archeologically noted edifice that originates from the VI century A.D. is the early Christian basilica found under the church of Sveta Marija Koledjate (St. Marija Koledjate) or Gospa od zdravlja (Virgin of health) in the immediate vicinity of the main town doors of the Old Kotor. Already in the Xi century Kotor gets its protector, Sveti Tripun (St. Triune) in whose honor the cathedral, which is today considered to be a symbol of Kotor, is being built.
Cultural richness of Kotor is invaluable. The treasury of the town hides the most significant cultural monuments like: Sat Kula (Watch tower) from the VIII century, Cathedral of Sveti Tripun (St. Tripun) from the XII century, Church of Sveti Luka (St. Luc) from the XII century, Prince’s palace from the XVII century, Church of Sveta Marija (St. Maria) from the XII century, Church of Gospa od zdravlja (Virgin of health) from the XV century, and Napoleon’s theater from the XIX century.
Kotor is surrounded by the town bulwarks, that is, the walls, around the town, walls above the town, and the walls around the hill as well as the fortress Sveti Ivan (San Djovani) on the top of the hill, which has the same name.
No matter from which doors or entrance in Old Kotor you are coming, the asymmetrical structure of the narrow streets and squares has numerous medieval monuments. Not just monumental edifices like the churches, cathedrals or museum monuments, but also with the ornament not only on the culturally – historical but also on the ordinary edifices, like family houses in which people still live. On the large number of family houses it is still very easy to notice the marks of the past epochs. Mostly those are ornaments that usually testify about the Roman Empire on these territories. You can see Roman marks, like numbers, sentences, lion characters, dragons, snakes etc… All around you can see baroque windows, big walls and richly and skillfully decorated arches.
In Kotor there are also numerous palaces: palace Drago, with Gothic windows from the XV century; palace Bizanti from the XII century; palace Pima, with typical shapes of renascence and baroque, from the XVI century; palace Grubonja, with a coat of arms of the old Kotor pharmacy, founded in 1326 year; palace Grgurin from the XVII century, which today is the building of the Maritime museum, as well as the Sat kula (Clock tower) dating from the XVI century, beside which there is a medieval pillory.
Historians mostly agree with the fact that the most important period for Kotor was the period of medieval century, and that is because of the fact that Kotor at that time experienced a great economic boon. Strongly developed economy soon influences the development of education, and extremely good progress of culture, art and construction. Already from the end of the XIII century in Kotor we have a grammatical school from which a multitude of humanistic writers and scientists came out. The first humanistic writers are mentioned on the transition from XV to the XVI century. We don’t know much about them, so the works that they have authorized were not preserved. Without any doubt the most famous poet was Bernard Pima, the descendant of the old and far famous Kotor noble family Pima. Only few of his verses in Latin, written in the Ciceron language were preserved. Then also we have a Kotor nobleman from the end of the XV century and the first decades of the XVI century Trifun Bizanti, and Kotor’s patrician brothers Vicko and Dominiko Buca. As a printer and a book editor, among more famous ones is Lord Jerolim Zagurovic.
When we are talking about the renascence literature it is good to mention Djordje Bizanti, who already in 1532 in Venice printed the verses in Italian and Latin. Still, the most fruitful renascence poet is Ludovik Pakvalic (1500 -1551) from Kotor. With the previous two, the poet Ivan Bona Borilis also marked the XVI century. Theological writers also have marked Kotor. One of the most significant was Luka Bizanti who governed the Kotor church for 4 decades.
Especially developed in that time in Kotor, was the art of cultivation (processing) of metals and stone, which made Kotor masters famous all over the Europe. The famous is also constructor and Kotor master Vito Trifunov or Vito from Kotor – a monk of a smaller church. According to some Kotor documents among 1326 and 1327 fray Vito constructed the famous monastery Visoki Decani (High Decani) in Serbia.
In the middle century in Kotor the so-called Greek painters worked. Among them were Nikola and Manojlo who painted at the beginning of the XV century. In the XIII and XIV century Kotor had its own pharmacy, and doctors, goldsmiths, gun blacksmiths and smithy, library, classical education, theologians, communal organization of the town, Statute, notary books… More than 5 centuries ago in Kotor a famous shopkeeper Marin Drusko lived. Also it is worth of mentioning the name of the famous trader and Kotor captain Marko Grgurovic.
Still, without any doubt, the greatest number of famous people from Kotor, come from Perast, a place close to Kotor, which has a lot of famous palaces. Among the famous people from Perast is Andrija Paltasic, a printer and an editor (1450 – 1500), who worked in Venice from 1477 to 1493. From the famous Perast family Zmajevic came writer and Bar archbishopric Andrija Zmajevic (1624 – 1694), and Vicko Zmajevic (1670 – 1745), a church politician and a writer…
The most famous representative of the well – known Kotor painting is the painter Tripo Kokolja (1661 – 1713) whose works of art are decorating the famous little church on the Island Gospa od Skrpjela. This painter of a very rich opus became famous almost in the entire Mediterranean.
The end of the XVII century is also an interesting epoch in the history of Kotor. On one hand it was marked by the collaboration of certain people from Kotor, especially from Perast in the Morej war (1684 – 1699). A very distinguished personality of that period was Vicko Bujovic, as well as the famous seaman from Perast Matija Zmajevic, who later became the Russian empire admiral.
The most famous Kotor seaman and the captain is by all means Ivo Vizin. In 1852, by going on a usual trading journey, with his smaller sailboat Splendido, by which a very nice hotel in Morinj near Kotor got its name, Vizin made the biggest naval project of the XIX century, by cruising from harbor to harbor, he sailed the world.
Long before Vizin, more precisely in 1823 a navigational officer Stevan Vukotic is being mentioned. Along with Vizin’s and Vukotic’s names, the history of Kotor remembers several other well – known seamen and captains like Petar Zambelic and Marko Ivanovic.
The collector of national treasure and folklore Vuk Vrcevic (1811 – 1882) was born in Kotor.
In the surrounding of Kotor, more precisely in the area known as Grbalj, the Cetinje’s archbishop and metropolitan of Montenegro Mitrofan Ban (1841 – 1920) was born.
More recent history gave also very famous people from Kotor. A world known man from Kotor today is Tripo Simonuti, a violinist and a free artist, born in 1932. with his daughters Ana and Irena he founded a chamber trio which is very well known even outside the borders of Montenegro under the name "Trio Simonuti".
Doctor Milos Milosevic lives and works in Kotor. He is a presents Boka navy admiral. It is important to mention a former professor on the Maritime faculty as well as on the Faculty of tourism Milenko Pasinovic, and a violinist Ratimir Martinovic who both work and live in Kotor.
Boka Kotorska is situated in the south east part of the Adriatic coast. From the south east side Kotor is surrounded by the limestone massifs of the mountain Lovcen (1749 m), from the north west with the slopes of the mountain Orjen (1895 m), Radostak (1446) and Dobrostica (1570).
Near Kotor there are two peninsulas, on the North West Vitaljinsko peninsula, and on the south east Lusticko peninsula. Those two peninsulas are separated by the straits Ostro, with the point which is the outer penetration in the bay of Boka Kotorska.
Near by there are two other peninsulas, Vrmacko and Devesinjsko peninsula, which are separated by the gorge Verige. That gorge divides further bay of Boka Kotorska into two inner bays, Risan and Kotor bay, and on the two outer bays, Tivat and Topalj bay.
Experts in protection of the human environment, and urban areas agree in the fact that the territory of Boka Kotorska, viewed as a geo – morphological and vegetative – geographical entity, is very rich in nature. When we are talking about those characteristics, it is good to mention an unusual contrast of relief, the remains of the tectonic disturbances, lime surfaces, as well as the deciduous vegetation in the very coastal zone.
Kotor is situated on the narrow plateau under Lovcen, on the east side of the Kotor bay. Its center is made of the Old town, which is surrounded by 4, 5 km long bulwarks which are stretched from the sea along the hill slopes of Sveti Ivan up to the fortress on the top. On the west side, along the shore, in the foothill of the hill Vrmac, we have lodgments Muo, Prcanj, and Stoliv, and in the east Dobrota, Orahovac, Perast, and Risan. Kotor municipality also has one part of Grbalj field, which is found in the south east from the bay. Together with the Upper Grbalj it goes out in the open sea. Near the cove Jaz, Kotor borders with Budva.
The summers in Kotor are warm and dry, and the winters are mild and humid. The average year temperature doesn’t surpass 15, 2 ºC. 213 days in a year are without any wind, and the swimming season lasts for 144 days. The climate affects a lot the development of vegetation in Kotor. Considering the fact that it spreads from Adriatic Sea and the karst background, the area of Boka Kotorska is found under the influences of the Mediterranean and mountain climate. When those two climates meet and mix a special kind of the sub Mediterranean climate is being created. Not only the climate but also the sea in the bay of Boka Kotorska has great importance. The sea in Kotor represents the accumulator of the warmth and the source of water steam, which is one of the most important factors along with the temperature circulation and the amount of rains in the entire area of Boka Kotorska for such a climate. Kotor spreads over the area of 335 km2. With the Mediterranean climate, the average air temperature in January is 7ºC and in July it is about 23 ºC.
Unique beauty of the Kotor bay is also expressed by the stone houses and captain’s palaces, which you can see along the sore of Kotor, as well as with the contrast of the sea and steep high mountains.
The bay of Boka Kotorska is the most southern fiord in the world. It is made of 4 bays: Kotor, Risan, Tivat, and Herceg Novi bay. Its total surface is 83, 7 km2, it has the volume 2, 4 x 106 km3, maximum depth is 60m and average is 27,3m. The length of the shore is 105, 7 km.
The climate in Kotor is sub tropic. Not only during the winter, but also in the fall and in the spring the rains are heavy. In the rear of the bay of Boka Kotorska, in the place called Crkvice, there is yearly 5317 mm of rain per square meter, which is the maximum of rainfall in Europe.
Whether you’re coming to Kotor in the summer or in the winter, the picture of the Kotor landscape will catch your attention. The summer picture would be – mountains surrounding the Kotor bay are reflecting themselves in the clear blue sea, precisely brimmed with the sunbeams or the winter one which would be: the slopes of green mountains are partially or completely covered with snow, and along the Kotor shore you an fell the mixture of scents of citrus fruits, oranges, various flowers like: mimosas, camellias or other Mediterranean plants, whose seed for centuries has been traveling by sail boats and ships from the farthest spots on the globe, to Kotor, Risan, Perast, Stoliv, or Dobrota.
As well as in the majority of coastal towns in Kotor too mostly you can see various types of palm trees. Outside the Kotor bulwarks on the way towards Dobrota, on both sides you will se palm trees. The slopes of the mountains are covered with cypress, pine, oak and beech forests. There can also be seen wild and domestic pomegranate, figs, oranges, mandarins, grape, and olive. Numerous gardens in front of family houses or most often abandoned Kotor palaces have Mediterranean plants. Beside palm trees, there are various types of cactuses, oleanders, mimosas, magnolias, camellias and other kinds of Mediterranean plants which along with the won trophies in great maritime battles, Kotor traders and seaman brought as a symbol of beauty who remained synonyms of Kotor even today.
One part of the citizenship of Kotor is occupied in fishing. For fishing, they mostly set themselves outside the Kotor harbor, which is mainly intended for sailing in of the big world ships. In Kotor aquatorium there are mostly white fishes like: surmullet (Lat.mullus barbatus), sea perch (Lat. Dicentrarchus labrax), bogue (Lat. Boop boops), and more skilful and persistent fisherman can often catch the expensive white fish san pier (Lat Zeus faber).
Also, bay of Boka Kotorska is rich with blue fish. Most often those are: leer fish (Lat. Lichia amia), Atlantic bonito (Lat. Sarda sarda), and sometimes in Kotor aquatorium there were a lot of pilchard (Lat. Sardine pilchardus), which today is pretty much extinct, and it is becoming harder and harder to find it even in the famous Kotor market.
In Kotor there are several private growers of mussels or shells. Those growing places are situated next to the very stone shore. The majority of private managers from the mentioned growing places supply their own restaurants, hotels or motels with these very tasteful sea products.
During the summer as well as during the winter in Kotor harbor there are several smaller and bigger ships and luxurious yachts, or some other modern sailing objects anchored. In the recent years Kotor has a lot of foreign visitors. In Kotor harbor one can often see luxurious boats that are cruising around.
Further down the coast, towards Dobrota and Perast, along with the stony shore, we can see anchored barges. On the azure blue sea you can often see gulls and swallows, and smaller birds, while in the rear of Kotor, mostly in the hills, that surround the town, you can also see foxes, rabbits, squirrels, wild pigs and others…
Top 5 places in Kotor
The old town – that is the most famous part of Kotor, where the Kotor history, culture, and tradition are being preserved. The old town of Kotor has a great number of monuments of the medieval architecture: churches, cathedrals, palaces, and museums. Its beauty is complemented with the multitude of narrow streets, squares, and markets. The old town of Kotor stands out also by the great number of stylishly made gates, palaces of the wealthy families, and a great number of stairs. The old nucleus of Kotor today is considered to be the best preserved medieval urban entity in the Mediterranean. The largest and the most impressive are, by all means, city bulwarks which surround the town. They are about 5 km long, 20, high, and about 10 m wide. Bring completely preserved, they are a unique sample of the fortification architecture in Europe. The beginning of their construction started in the IX century, in order for them to be added onto and arranged for the next 10 centuries. Bulwarks have 3 doors, through which for centuries people have came in and out of the town. From whichever door that you go into the town, the road will bring you to the most famous edifice – cathedral Sveti Tripun from the XII century, which is dedicated to the protector of the town – Sveti Tripun.
There are several squares in the town and the main, and the biggest city square is Trg od oruzja (Square of arms). That square was and remained the main place for gathering. Various gatherings happened there and it was the place where people from Kotor assembled. Cultural richness of Kotor is made priceless by its treasury which hides some significant cultural monuments like: Tower watch (VIII century), Cathedral of Sveti Tripun (XII century), Church of Sveti Luka (XII century), Prince’s palace (XVII century), Church of Sveta Marija (XII century), Church of Lady of Health (XV century), and Napoleon’s Theater (XIX century). Old Kotor has also numerous palaces like: Bizanti, Buca, Pima, Grgurin, in which today is Maritime museum.
In the Old town in Kotor we have the first Faculty of tourism and hotel keeping, as well as some music halls, Center for culture, galleries etc.
In the old town we have the greatest number of boutiques and trade shops. There are also some smaller shops and stores that offer footwear and clothes of the renowned European and world designers and creators. Except the boutiques and clothes stores, in the old town we also have a great number of souvenir shops, photo shops, jewelry shops, book stores, antique shops, hair dressing saloons, beauty centers, barber shops, cafés, pizzerias, etc.
If you decide to spend the entire day touring the old town, you will not make a mistake, because beside the research and getting to know with the town you can get refreshment in some of the numerous Kotor cafés. They are mostly found on Kotor squares. The old town of Kotor has also a large number of nicely decorated restaurants and hotels. In them you can try traditional specialties, as well as different Mediterranean food. In the old town there are also 2 hotels, in which you can accommodate yourself nicely, and pleasantly spend your holiday. The most important thing of all is to mention that the Old town of Kotor is on the list of the UNESCO world cultural inheritance, since 1979. From the same named institution Kotor was recently declared the world cultural inheritance in danger, so in the following period numerous European and world cultural institutions will give it even bigger attention.
Perast is surely one of the strangest, and by its history one of the most beautiful places in Boka Kotorska. Today it is often called the quietest town in Boka. Its narrow streets and numerous, mostly abandoned renaissance, and baroque palaces, testify about the former richness of the bay of Boka Kotorska, and about the days when there used to be led a luxurious life of its inhabitants. Perast used to be a town of sailors, and it was know by that even outside the space of Montenegro. We can see even today that famous stone housed and captain’s palaces standing out. There are 16 preserved palaces in Perast, among them is the baroque palace Bujovic at the very entrance in Perast. Other palaces are: Bronza, Sestokrilovic, Mazarovic, Balovic, Viskovic, Pavlovicini, Martinovic, Zmajevic and others.
All of them represent 12 Perast brotherhoods (clans). While along Perast you used to hear the sound of footsteps day and night, and while along the streets you could see the ladies of the rich seaman, and girls in love, walking, in the coves of Perast hundreds of sailing boats used to dock in, and today Perast is mostly an abandoned town, with barely 360 citizens. Even though the situation is like that, one should walk through Perast, and fill oneself with the spirit of renaissance and baroque. Perast during the winter has more sunny hours that the famous tourist places on the Azure coast.
Even though it doesn’t offer lots of events, Perast too is interesting during the summer. During July and August various festivities like traditional Fasinada – a ritual procession of barges and boast, which take stones with them which is then put onto the Island Gospa od Skrpjela, occur there. Fasinada is held in July. In August Perast is a host to the manifestation – Meetings of music clappers – in which competitors – singers compete in traditional singing which is present on the part of the Mediterranean which goes from Dalamatia to Montenegro. Because of the lack of beach zone, the coast of Perast is not suitable for beach tourism.
The Island Gospa Od Skrpjela
The Island Gospa od Skrpjela is one of two gorgeous islands in the bay of Boka Kotorska, which are situated in the sea across Perast in the Kotor municipality. The other island, which also should be visited, is the Island Sveti Djordje. That island is also called "the island of the dead captains", because according to a legend one French soldier, by shooting from cannon towards Perast, has hit a house of his beloved girl and killed her. That legend was a motive for the master piece "The Island of the Dead" by the Switzerland painter Beklin.
The Island Gospa od Skrpjela, was made as an artificial island, which according to the stories was made by the seaman from Perast and Kotor, who on their big sail boats brought big stones. On the island there is a church. According to a legend, fisherman from Perast, after a shipwreck near the island, have found a icon of the Holy Mother of God with the Christ on a sea rock, so as the customs say they vowed to build a church on the island. They have built the church in 1630. As the island had to be maintained, the seaman continued to bring the stones, so that tradition is alive even today. The custom from the old times was recently renewed. Today it is called Fasinada from Perast and it is held at the end of the day on the 22nd of July.
You can easily go to both islands from Kotor. The visit to the islands in the summer period can be a really interesting part of your entertainment during the day. The ride to the island can be organized as an excursion by tourist barges. A part of the cruising through the bay of Boka Kotorska includes the touring of the mentioned islands. The easiest way to inform yourself about those excursions is to go to Tourist organization of Kotor, to tourist agencies, or to go by yourself in Kotor harbor, and along the Kotor shore and to make arrangements with the owners of the tourists taxi boasts.
The Fortress Sveti Ivan
During the visit to Kotor you should, by all means visit the fortress Sveti Ivan (St. Ivan). It is situated above the bulwarks of the Kotor’s Old town. Climbing up to the fortress Sveti Ivan or as people from Kotor like to call it San Djovani, starts with the serpentines from the east part of the Old Kotor, which go to the very top of the fortress on 280 m above sea level. Before you set yourself to climb towards the fortress we suggest that you take your camera with yourself, because the pictures of Kotor and bay of Boka Kotorska, which you will see, can not be described in words, but instead they have to be first, experienced, and then noted, pictured. While you are climbing you can enjoy the sights of the Old town of Kotor.
Another reason because of which you have to visit fortress San Djovani is the fantastic view of the entire Bay of Boka Kotorska. The pictures of the Kotor harbor will also remain in your memory, which during the summer is usually filled with luxurious boats, yachts, sail boats etc.
Beside the serpentines by which you reach the fortress San Djovani, there are few resting places for those who are not in a good shape. A special indulgence will be the visit to the fortress San Djovani during the summer months. According to the announcements, the bulwarks of the fortress will be illuminated with special reflectors this summer, which will make the visit of the fortress San Djovani, and Kotor much more interesting to the guests and tourists.
Your visit to the Old town in Kotor can be supplemented with the visit of the Maritime museum, which is found on the Square of the Boka fleet. Whoever you ask or in whatever part of Kotor you are, and you ask someone about the Maritime museum, you will quickly get the information and come to the desired location.
Sailing in Kotor began to develop during the middle century, and the record of that is the narrative of the foundation of the fraternity of Kotor seaman, Boka fleet, in IX century. The memories on those long gone days and years, on the successes of the famous Kotor seaman, artists, ship builders, crafts man, states man, and diplomats, intermediaries between west and east, are today kept in the Maritime museum in Kotor, which is situated in the baroque palace Grgurin, and with due respect it preserves the fame of Boka and Boka navy. In the museum among other things one can find portraits of the famous captains, models of old galleys and sail boats, navigational instruments, and other very valuable exponents.
In the hole of the museum one can see six bronze tables in relief, on which the most important events and personalities from the tumultuous history of Kotor are displayed. Also, the museum has exhibited geographic maps, engravings and aquarelles of the coastal towns. There is also an ethnographic collection, which testifies of the golden age of Kotor navigation from XVI to XVIII century. In Kotor maritime museum a copy of the oldest document about the navigation in the areas of Boka dating from 1168, is being preserved.
Simply told in Maritime museum in Kotor all the treasure of our sea is exhibited. That treasure protects maritime traditions from oblivion, and connects the sea in Kotor with their people, famous seaman, who have sailed from it towards the far away seas. Next to the very entrance in the medieval palace Grgurin, there are two small cannons, which are symbols of the constant battle of the Boka seaman and pirates.