Situated on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in one of Montenegro’s most picturesque bays, Kotor’s roots stretch back before Homer and its early history saw a number of transformations, but much of its beautiful old town was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Kotor Bay (Boka Kotorska) is the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean Sea, and the scenery around it, including the steep mountains which come almost to the waterfront, is magnificent.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kotor’s compact old town is characterised by an enchanting warren of smooth stone-paved streets and irregularly shaped squares, many with delightful names, such as Milk Square and Salad Square, reflecting the various trades or crafts that were once practiced there.
With its narrow streets, romantic bars and restaurants, small shops, antique monuments, churches and baroque architecture (due to rebuilding following the 1667 earthquake), Kotor has inspired some of our most famous poets. There are three main entrances to the old town including the Sea Gate of 1555 which serves as the main door.
Kotor’s most renowned landmark is the Romanesque Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (local name Sveti Tripun) built in honour of its name sake; patron and protector of the city. According to the annals of the Byzantine Emperor the original church was constructed in the 8th century. A new church, built in 1166, was subsequently damaged during the 1667 earthquake and then restored. Other notable churches are St Luka and St Nikola both in Church square.
The Bokeljska mornarica (Navy of Boka Kotorska Bay) has been active for more than twelve centuries and maintains its traditional clothing, dance and ceremonies.
The Maritime Museum, located inside the refurbished seventeenth-century Gregorin Palace (Palata Gregorin) is a central tourist destination. Reflecting the region’s illustrious seafaring heritage, the museum boasts excellent displays of coastal town plans and nautical maps, and all manner of weird and wonderful navigational aids, plus a brilliant array of model ships.
Another important feature is the town fortifications, stretching some 4.5 km directly above the city, skilfully crafted into almost vertical cliffs. Climbing the 1350 steps provides amazing views of Kotor and the bay from St John’s fortress.