When you decide to go and visit the town of Kotor in Montenegro, you have high expectations, because it has become a very popular destination over the last few years, and people are praising it a lot. The moment you set foot in the Boka Bay you are overwhelmed by such beauty that it is almost impossible to describe, and automatically those expectations are exceeded.
Nested between the clear blue sea and towering dark mountains, protected by the 4.5 km long medieval walls, proudly stands the old town of Kotor.
We chose to go on a guided tour, and boy was it a great choice, cause the guide spoke excellent English, was very knowledgeable and friendly and tried very hard to answer all of our questions.
The tour started at the Main (also known as the Sea) Gate which was built in the 16th century during the Venetian rule, where we met St. Tryphon the patron saint of the town. Once you enter the old town you feel like you have been taken straight back to the middle ages since Kotor is one of the most preserved towns of that time, and that is how it earned its status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Beautiful, narrow, cobblestoned streets spread inwards from the Square of Arms, which got its name because it was used for storing and repairing arms. Even the old Venetian clock tower still works.
We learned that the maze-like streets have been made that way as another line of defense from the invaders, for this town has had a lot of them. From Romans to Austro-Hungarians, even Napoleon has had his try in ruling over Kotor, and finally, Montenegro got the rule over it after the WWI.
There are a lot of churches in Kotor, both Orthodox and Catholic, and the biggest and most famous one is the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon. It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral and the seat of Bishop, and it is beautiful. It was built in 1166 which makes it one of the oldest in Europe, and it is located on one of the main squares. It stands in the same place where it was erected long ago even though it was damaged twice by devastating earthquakes.
Kotor has a few museums but the Cats museum must be the most fun to visit. Apparently, cats are very welcome in the town of Kotor because legend says it, they saved the town when there was an outbreak of plague.
When our tour was over we went on to roam the streets alone, buy some souvenirs and have a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes scattered all over the old town.
After a rest, we decided to climb over a thousand steps to the fortress of St. Jhon (the locals call it San Giovanni). It was a tough climb, but once we got there it was worth every drop of sweat. The majestic view over the city and the Kotor Bay made us feel as if we were sitting on clouds and every picture we took can be made into a postcard.
Visiting Kotor made us want to go and see the entire Bay, since we heard stories of many beautiful places worth seeing and easily accessible (Risan, Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast).
On our next trip to Montenegro (yes we are definitely coming back) we will go to see the mountains, cause they must have a lot of good stories to tell and views to share too…