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History of Kotor

The first mention of Kotor was in the 2nd century BC, under the name of Acruvium.

It was ruled by various empires and kingdoms throughout history, including the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Ottoman Empire.

The Old Town of Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Venetians fortified the town during their period of rule. It is home to many churches, museums, and historic buildings, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kotor, which dates back to the 12th century. It is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture, and its interior features beautiful frescoes, some of which are from the 14th century, and mosaics. The Cathedral is one of the main symbols of Kotor, which can be seen on the city’s coat of arms.


What to visit

At Arms Square, the main square in Kotor’s Old Town, there are many important landmarks. Here are a few:

  • The Prince‘s palace. Built in the 18th century, it once was an official residence of Venetian governors.
  • The Napoleon theatre. The military building became one of the first theatres in the region during the French occupation. Now, it is part of hotel Cattaro (Cattaro is the Italian name for Kotor. Used extensively during the Venetian rule).
  • The Clock Tower. The building of the tower started in the early 17th century. In front of it is the Pillar of Shame, where the Venetian authorities tied the criminals for all the town to see.

Another must-see attraction in Kotor is the Maritime Museum in the Grgurina Palace. It features exhibits that showcase the town’s maritime history, including models of ships and boats, navigational instruments, and historical documents.

The Church of Our Lady of Remedy is another important landmark in Kotor. The church, located on a hill above the town, offers stunning views of the bay and the surrounding mountains. It was built in the 16th century, and it features beautiful frescoes and an ornate altar. You can reach it only on foot via the narrow stairway.

For those who love hiking, Krstač pass provides an opportunity to climb atop Kotor and see as amazing a panoramic view as you are going to see anywhere.

Goražda fortress is also in close proximity to Kotor. It is located on a hill overlooking Kotor Bay, and along with Vrmac, Trojica, and Trašte forts, it was an integral part of the East Lovćen defense zone. Originally established as a fortified battery in 1869, it was restructured and rearmed in 1878, and its current form was acquired between 1884-1886, following the Krivošije uprising in 1882-83. This upheaval showed the weaknesses of many Austrian fortresses, but the main reason for constructing a new fort was a new road between Kotor and Cetinje.

Namely, Austrians feared this would allow the Montenegrins to position their artillery over the Krstač pass. In the years leading to the Great War, the fort was rearmed again to resist the Montenegrin artillery better. It was heavily damaged following the artillery battle against the Montenegrin batteries on Lovćen in October 1914. One can reach Goražda by taking the road to Njeguši. The fort is well preserved, and it’s a great example of Austrian fortifications in Montenegro.

You can arrive at the charming Old Town of Perast in only half an hour with a car. With a rich history, Baroque architecture, and amazing sights, it is a place you must visit. Two islets in its proximity – Our Lady of the Rocks and Saint George island are also a must-see when you are in the area.

On the other side, an hour away from Kotor, is the cultural capital of Montenegro, Cetinje. This City of Museums has many historical sights of great importance. The historical museum, Museum of Njegoš, Ethnographic museum of Montenegro, National Museum of Montenegro, and Art Museum of Montenegro are all in Cetinje.

Cetinje monastery, built in the early 18th century, is one of the most important monasteries in Montenegro. Among its most famous relics are the remains of St. Petar of Cetinje and the right hand of Saint John the Baptist, and the crown of the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski. Monastery also has a museum with many valuable items.

Lovćen National Park, with many amazing natural sights and the Mausoleum of Njegoš made by famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović, is also nearby.

Kotor is known for many festivals and events throughout the year. The Kotor Carnival is one of the most popular festivals in the country. It is a biannual event. The Winter Festival is in February, and its history dates back to the 16th century. The Summer festival is more popular since it happens during the summer high season (end of July, the beginning of August). At the opening, the carnival flag is raised, and after greetings from Kapo (the captain of the ceremony) and fireworks, the festivities officially begin.

After days of feasting, dancing, singing, and parading with majorettes, the Carnival comes to its final and main event: the Krneval trial and burning. The parade led by Kapo is going to the trial location. After the humorous trial and the judgment, where the Krneval, the giant puppet usually made to resemble some infamous person from the past year, the procession takes the Krneval to the execution place, where they burn it. Following the execution, the cheerfulness of the parade reaches another level, and the feast continues until the wee hours of the morning.

Another summer event is Boka night (Bokeška noć). It is a popular one-day event in the second part of August. Its main event is the water parade, with many decorated boats.



As you can see, Kotor has many impressive things to see! Rent a car with us and explore it at your own pace!