After the excitement of Dubrovnik, we made the short journey to Kotor in Montenegro. Kotor is located in the secluded and picturesque Gulf of Kotor and is surrounded by the limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen which create a spectacular landscape.
Like Dubrovnik, Kotor has been an important port for centuries, The town was first mentioned in 168 BC, was settled during Roman times, when it was known as Acruvium, Ascrivium, or Ascruvium and was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia.
After the Romans, the city has a varied history becoming a Byzantium Dalmatian city-state when it got its name of Kotor. In the following centuries, it was controlled by the Bulgarians, Serbia, Hungary and Bosnia. However in 1420, Kotor asked the Republic of Venice for protection and it remained under its control until 1797. In World War I, Kotor was the homeport to the Austrian Fifth Fleet. After 1918, the city became a part of Yugoslavia and officially became known as Kotor.
It is the Venetian architecture that dominates the old city and contributed in making Kotor a UNESCO world heritage site.
When we were making our way to the city, all thoughts of its turbulent past was put to one side and the short ride from the boat bought us to a pier near the old town. Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic and we were anxious to explore some of its treasures. The old gate was into the town had a Venetian Lion on the wall nearby to give a reminder its past.
The ancient walls stretch for around 4.5 km (3 mi) directly above the city, but were not the type to walk upon, so we made our way into the old town. One of the main sites in the town is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon which was built in 1166.
One of the more unusual aspects of the city is the number of cats hanging about, Kotor has a large population of cats they have become a symbol of the city. The city has few cat shops and a cat museum, as well as the Cats’ Square (Trg od macaka).
Although many of the cats are wild, they are not feral, water and food is left throughout the city for the cats to feed on and the cats are generally seen to bring good luck. There was certainly not much signs of mice or rats, so the cats are earning their food.
Wanting to stretch our legs, we went over the bridge next to the old town which was above the raging waters coming down from the mountains and walked along a long promenade up to the church.
Nearby was a cafe, so we ordered a coffee and had chat to the very friendly staff. Kotor has only become a popular destination from the turn of the 21st century. Not surprisingly it has become a bit of favourite with cruise ships with its protected bay and dramatic landscapes.
It also seems popular with other visitors with plenty of hotels, hostels and restaurants around and lots of newly built villas around the bay.
In the Kotor Bay itself, is the Our Lady Of The Rocks Roman Catholic Church, legend has it that some sailors found an image of Madonna and the Child on a rock in 1452 and started throwing more stones on the exact spot after every successful voyage until it was big enough to build the church.
Kotor is a real hidden gem full of dramatic scenery and some quirky places to explore. The people are very friendly and welcome visitors to their city which manages to be intimate amongst the black mountains of Montenegro.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
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