Bay and Region of Kotor (World Heritage)

The picturesque bay cuts deep into the Dalmatian coast. The region was once a popular hideout for pirates, but also a trading hub and naval base. Over two thousand years of history have shaped the image of the city of Kotor. Significant buildings include the two-towered Tryphon Cathedral and St. Luke’s Church. The city is dominated by the Sveti Ivan fortress, which was built in the 16th century. Visit for Montenegro travel destinations.

Kotor Bay and Region: Facts

Official title: Bay and region of Kotor
Cultural monument: on the 28 km long bay of Kotor, Kotor as an old seafaring and trading town with the two-tower St. Tryphonius Cathedral (Sveti Trifun) and the small St. Luke Church (Sveti Luka), example of one Sacred building erected in the razinist style
Continent: Europe
Country: Montenegro
Location: Bay of Kotor and the city of Kotor, southeast of Hercegnovi
Appointment: 1979; because of uncontrolled construction activity after the earthquake from 1979 to 2003 on the red list of endangered world heritage
Meaning: a famous center of medieval stonemasonry and icon painting in a natural Adriatic harbor

Bay and Region of Kotor: History

168 BC Chr. Part of the Roman Empire
11th century first documentary mention
1195 St. Luke Church
13./14. Century Kotor as the main port of the Serbian kingdom
1381 The inner bay at Verige is blocked by a chain
1483-1687 Part of the Ottoman Empire
1628 Church “Our Lady on the Rock” on Gospa od S? Krpjela
1797-1805 and 1814-1918 Part of the Austrian Danube Monarchy
April 15, 1979 Destruction of the city of Kotor by earthquake with subsequent reconstruction

Where sea and mountains merge

Like a fjord, the Bay of Kotor cuts deep into the Montenegrin coast, where the limestone mountains rise almost 2000 meters from the sea. The gray ribbon of the road runs close to the water around each bay – a total of 105 kilometers of coastline. Behind every bend there is a surprising new interplay between land and sea. Sometimes the other bank seems far away, sometimes – as in Verige at the entrance of the Boka Kotorska – within reach.

In the Middle Ages, this 340 meter narrow bottleneck was sealed off with chains, thereby protecting the natural harbor, in which up to 300 ships were anchored, from enemy attacks. There are two picturesque islands in the butterfly-shaped bay. On Sveti Juraj there is just enough space for the 12th century monastery church, which is dedicated to St. George, and the cemetery of the nearby Perast. The slender cypress trees are so tall that they tower above the church’s bell tower. Gospa od Škrpjela, on the other hand, was artificially created on a reef in order to build the church “Our Lady on the Rock” on it in the early 17th century. Thanks to its works of art, it is known as a “floating gallery” and is still a jewel of Montenegrin baroque painting to this day.

The small town of Perast vis-à-vis on the mainland – an important shipbuilding center of the Mediterranean region in the Middle Ages – is dominated by a 55 meter high bell tower. The Russian tsar Peter the Great once trained his officers in the local seafaring school, which was founded in the 17th century.

Nearby in the northwest the Orjen massif rises up to 1895 meters and in the southeast the 1749 meter high Lovćen, on which the mausoleum of the important Yugoslav poet and Montenegrin ruler Petar II is enthroned. At Kotor, the steep walls of the Lovćen massif come so close to the shore that only a narrow stretch of land remained for settlement and fortification. The city walls stretch in serpentine lines from the sea far up the karst gray mountain. These city fortifications withstood all attacks for centuries, but not the elemental forces of the earth. The last time the »Pearl of the Adriatic« was shaken by tremendous tremors on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979, was very badly damaged. Rock carvings in the Lipci cave near Risan show that the Bay of Kotor was inhabited as early as the Stone Age. The Illyrians implemented the first state tribal order in the 3rd century BC before Kotor was incorporated into the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. Under the Serbian Nemanjid dynasty, Kotor enjoyed limited economic and social independence. Due to the convenient location and the silver, lead and copper mines, an important economic center developed here in the Middle Ages. The guilds, especially those of gold and silversmiths, experienced a heyday in Kotor, especially in the 15th century, when the unique altar relief was created in the cathedral of St. Tryphonius. The Italian masterpieces of the Renaissance and Baroque in the treasury of this cathedral are reminiscent of the time of Venetian rule. Even if the Turks between the 15th In the 17th and 17th centuries they were able to occupy the Bay of Kotor, but they did not succeed in taking the city. After an eventful history, the bay fell to the Austrian Danube Monarchy after the Congress of Vienna. In the meantime, the former glory was forgotten, the economy was down, and the mighty fleet of proud sailors was destroyed.

Bay and Region of Kotor (World Heritage)