Traveling around Montenegro, you are always surprised that each of the cities of this small country does not look like others. However, it is Kotor that, perhaps, occupies a special place among them due to the unique combination of the medieval atmosphere, impressive architecture, monuments of historical significance and at the same time the usual steady life that is lead here, as hundreds of years ago. Kotor is located in one of the most picturesque places on the Montenegrin coast - in the Kotor bay.
History of the city
The first settlers appeared here in the Neolithic times. In the era of antiquity, the Illyrians lived here, and in 168 BC the coastal area of Boka was conquered by the Romans. During this period the city was called Asquuvium. In the Byzantine period, the city was called Decadron and was a fortress built by the Emperor Justinian in 535 on the slopes of the mountain. From the very beginning of its history Kotor experienced stormy upheavals. In 840 it was plundered by Arab pirates, and in 1000 it fell under the authority of the Bulgarian kingdom. The following year, the city was retroceded to Serbia; From 1050 the Zeta lord from the dynasty of Vojislavlevici ruled here. Only By the forces of the townspeople the Byzantine power was restored and lasted almost until the end of the 12th century.
In 1185 Kotor was again part of Serbia, but already as a vassal state - paying taxes, carrying out decrees, but with some independence. Since that time, it developed as a seaport - through it Serbian rulers maintained contact with Western Europe. Here was the residence of the Catholic bishop and the Dominican and Franciscan Catholic monasteries based. But already in 1241 Khan Kadan, grandson of the famous Genghis Khan, together with his horde completely ruined the city.
1371 Kotor again fell under the wheel of history. For the next 50 years, the city fell under the protectorate of foreign monarchs - first the king of Hungary, Louis I the Great, then the Bosnian ruler Tvrko I. In 1391 the city received complete independence for the election of princes. Being a tasty morsel for the Ottoman Empire, Kotor in 1420 went under the custody of the Venetian Republic for almost four centuries - until 1979 and all that time the city was part of the province of Venetian Albania. In Latin sources, the city was called in the Italian manner - Cattaro.
Nevertheless, attempts to capture the city by the Turks were made more than once: the attack of Admiral Hayrouddin Barbarossa's fleet in 1539, Admiral Ali Pasha Muezzin-Zade in 1571, but especially hard was 1657: one thousand city guards confronted the Turkish army, which exceeded five times. And the city survived, unlike Risan and Herceg Novi, and was never seized by the Turks. However, with the Venetian governors, the city suffered many troubles - five plague epidemics and several strong earthquakes. In 1797, Kotor, according to the Campo-Formian Treaty, was retorceded to Austria-Hungary, and seven years later to France. But the townspeople, for whom maritime trade was important and who suffered losses associated with Anglo-French conflicts at sea, appealed to the ruler of Montenegro, Peter I Petrovich Negosh, and in 1806 the Montenegrin army, together with the Russian, occupied the city. But after the defeat of the Russians at Friedland, the entire Boka was returned to France. In 1813 the Montenegrins again won Boca, but the Venice Congress decided to transfer it to Austria-Hungary. In the next 150 years, many uprisings broke out here. And finally, in 1918, after the defeat of Austria-Hungary, the city became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
In 1941, Kotor was occupied by the fascist troops of Italy and Germany, and it again became a part of Dalmatia. After liberation in 1944, the city in the SFRY for some time lived quietly - right up to the terrible earthquake in 1979.
Attractions of the city
The main attraction is the Old Town of Kotor
, which is protected by UNESCO and attracts a huge number of tourists by its unique architecture and many historical monuments. Architecture of the city was formed from the XII to XX century.
In 1997, Kotor was inscribed in the UNESCO
World Heritage List as one of the best preserved medieval towns of the Adriatic coast. This city is one of the important cultural and religious centers for the holding of musical, theatrical festival, as well as the annual summer Kotor Carnival. It should be noted that the main occupation of local residents since its development has been shipping and sea trade. That is why, Kotor is one of the most important shopping centers of the Adriatic coast and, as a consequence, the richest. In the city there is the Maritime Museum
, the Institute of Marine Biology, the Marine Department of the University of Montenegro.
Perhaps the most important attraction of Kotor is the walls
and fortress of St. John
, where you can climb, having overcome 1400 steps. On the way up you will pass by the chapel of the Salvation of the Virgin
, which was built 500 years ago by local residents, in gratitude for saving from the plague epidemic.
What to see in the vicinity
Situated between the main road and the water's edge in 12 km from Kotor, the ancient city of Perast
, is a picturesque, like any other city on the Mediterranean coast. However, this Adriatic town is distinguished by its architecture, reflecting its glorious past. It is like an open-air museum, showing guests magnificent examples of baroque architecture against the backdrop of the natural scenery of Boka bay. Many buildings of the city are like real palaces. After all, once in the city12 noble families lived, and they erected the very Baroque mansions and churches, which Perast is proud of to this day. In addition, deductions to the treasury from maritime trade and customs privileges, along with income from military campaigns against pirates, brought huge money, which contributed to the prosperity of the city.
- one of the most ancient cities in Montenegro. It is located in the northern part of Kotor bay on the shore of the Risan Bay at the foot of Mount Orien. The city is especially famous for its monuments of the ancient period. Once Romans conquered it and left the ruins of a patrician villa with a luxurious floor mosaic of the 1st-2nd century.
Beaches and events of the city
Mild climate of this region attracts a lot of tourists. Usually, the interest of tourists in Montenegro is, among other things, the beaches the Adriatic coast is famous for. But there are no well-groomed beaches in Kotor, as such, except for a few urban ones, and the sea is not as clean as in other parts of the country.
Lifehack: if you are a lover of sunbathing on the beach, then it is better to choose Kotor only as a place of visit or a romantic trip. It is really worth renting a car and driving to other beaches of the coast of Montenegro.
But Kotor has what attracts a lot of people to it: the city is the site of many traditional musical, theatrical, entertaining festivals, such as the KotorART arts festival, the Kotorsky festival of children's theater, the international flight carnival. In addition to them, the city constantly hosts theatrical processions and bright, memorable carnivals, which attract a lot of people. And folklore festivals in Kotor have long ceased to be national, as many representatives of different countries participate in them, which otherwise can be called international.
How to get to the city
It takes 25-30 minutes to get from Budva to Kotor, the fare is 2-3 EUR, from other resorts on the coast to Kotor one can get by quite comfortable buses
. The bus station
is 5-minutes walk from the old town. If you arrive at Tivat airport
, then order a taxi
, you will arrive at the place in 15 minutes. It takes much longer to get from Podgorica, because the distance between the cities is about 100 km.
Hotels here are to any taste: both fashionable modern hotels, and authentic hotels in old buildings, and colorful apartments in the nearby villages. In the Old Town itself, you can easily book a hotel
, as for a small town, there is a lot of offers. For example, restored in accordance with the latest design trends, the Monte Cristo 3 * hotel
is located in one of the ancient buildings. Hotel Vardar 4 *
is located on the city square of the Old Town and features luxurious rooms and excellent service.
Restaurants, konobas, cafes and bars
are located here at every step, so you can choose a place to your taste. In seaside restaurants, there is often a menu in Russian, written with funny mistakes. Lifehack: keep in mind that in Montenegro it is considered absolutely normal to ask to wrap the rest of the food with you. Having seen a size of a dish, you will understand how relevant this is.
Pop in the restaurant Atrium
, just because of the love to history. It comfortably settled in the ruins of the palace erected in the XIV century for Helen of Anjou. Elegant wrought-iron tables stand between ancient columns supporting a modern glass roof. In the evenings, beautiful jazz and blues is playedis here. In addition, there is a popular Maximus nightclub, right in the walls of the old city.
Kotor is indeed an unusual city with a unique history. Walking in the walls of the Old City it seems that time has stopped here. Each building, each street remembers a centuries-old, full of drama history. Ascent to the fortress will give you an unforgettable panorama and will surprise with the skill of its creators.