The Bay of Kotor

The Bay which will fascinate you!



Boka Kotorska is a unique bay in the Mediterranean. It is an excepti- onal cultural landscape created through the harmonious symbiosis of natural phenomena and man-made heritage. The exceptionally favorable and specific natural and climatic conditions of the Bay were decisive factors for the early settling of the area. This led to the formation of towns and settlements in a distinctive way, creating a unique harmony of the works of nature and human spirit.  Various morphological, geological and hydrological phenomena contributed to turning this area into an exceptional creation of nature, unique not only in the Mediterranean but also, when adding an anthropogenic component, in the world. The Bay is surrounded by steep limestone mountains of the Dinaric Alps, reaching a highest elevation of 1895 m (Mt Orjen) and a greatest depth in the Bay of 52 m, which makes this area one of the rare holokarst areas in the world, with particularly evident karst morphology and hydrology.  

These exceptional natural conditi-ons, coupled with geographic loca- tion and historical circumstances, have created distinctive cultural pro- perties whilst also under the influ- ence of other cultures of the Medi- terranean, West and partly East. However, these influences have been adapted to the local lifestyles and ways of life, and further disse- minated to broader areas of the former Yugoslavia, Balkans and even Eastern Europe. This diversity and balance has blended with the natural environment of the Bay, creating thus, in the most humane way, a unique natural and cultural environment for human life.   

The towns and larger and smaller settlements lining the coast of the Bay represent diverse and distinctive ensembles. Although each settlement has its own urban and cultural characteristics, they maintain the unity and continuity of cultural heritage of the whole area.

The old Mediterranean port of Kotor, surrounded by an impressive city wall built by Republic of Venice and the Venetian influence remains do- minant among the architectural influences. The Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), one of the most indented parts of the Adriatic Sea is some- times called the southern-most fjord in Europe (though it is actually a submerged river canyon). With the nearly overhanging limestone cliffs of Orjen and Lovcen one of the great Mediterranean landscapes is created.

Kotor is one of major tourist destination in Montenegro. It has one of the best preserved medieval old towns in the Adriatic, listed with UNESCO world heritage sites. It has numerous other sights, such as Cathedral of Saint Tryphun in the old town (built in 1166), and ancient walls which stretch 4.5 kilometers (2.8 mi) directly above the city. The old town is filled with bars, restaurants and cafes, and there are many nightclubs in Kotor. Summer events, such as Summer Carnival or Boka Night, are visited by thousands of tourists.

Perast is an old town in Bay of Ko-tor. It is situated a few km northwest of Kotor, lies beneath the hill of St. Elijah (873 m), on a cape that sepa- rates the bay of Risan from the bay of Kotor (two smaller bays within the Boka Kotorska) and overlooks the Verige strait, the narrowest part of Boka. The average yearly tempera- ture in Perast  is 18.3°C, and the number of sunny days is 240.

Venice owned the city between 1420 and 1797. The city's sixteen Baroque palaces were mostly built in this period, too, as were its seventeen Catholic churches and two Orthodox churches. The old city does not have a defensive wall, but instead it has nine defensive towers, the most important of which is the tower of the Holy Cross. These were built by the navy of the Venetian Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The two islands off Perast, Perast was at its peak in the 18th century under the Venetian Republic, when it had as many as four active shipyards, a fleet of around one hundred ships, and 1,643 residents. At that time the most beautiful buildings arose in this fortified town. Many ornate baroque palaces and magnificent dwelling-houses decorated the town of Perast, full of typical venetian architecture. The population has since decreased to 430 in 1910 and around 360 today. The fleet was dissolved by the rise of the steam engine.

Near Perast there are two small islands: one is called St. George island, and the other called Gospa od Skrpjela (Lady of the Rock), and each of them has a picturesque chapel. Gospa od Skrpjela is parti- cularly interesting given that it is the only artificially built island in the Adriatic, with an area of 3,030 m² — it was built upon a rock (Skrpjel) after two venetian sailors from Perast found a picture of the Virgin Mary on it in 1452. It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old and seized ships loaded with rocks. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22, an event called fasinada, when local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island, takes place. Island of Saint George  is a natural island. The island contains Saint George Benedictine monastery from the 12th century and the old graveyard for the old nobility from Perast and further from the whole Bay of Kotor.