Kotor Montenegro (Explore the Walled Village of Kotor) - Momboisse Family Adventures October 2019 / Part 6

After one relaxing day at sea, our cruise pulled into Kotor, Montenegro.  

We were up early sitting on our balcony as we entered the Bay of Kotor and glided for about one hour to the shore 

just outside the old walled town of Kotor.  It was an ancient trade center, now it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

This would be a tender port.  We planned on touring the town on our own and hiking to St. John's Castle.  The trick to getting off the ship early when you do not have a Princess cruise tour, is to line up shortly after pulling into port at the area where passengers exit the ship to go ashore.  If you wait for the Captain to give the all clear, you have waited too long and will have hundreds of people ahead of you waiting for tenders.  

Our plan works every time and we were on the first tender leaving the ship. 

Once we arrived on the dock we were met by row of people desperately trying to sell us their tour.  I do understand.  Tourism is the way they make their living. I am sure they sold tours, just not to us. 

The picture above shows one person who just didn't want to take no for an answer.  He is still yelling out his prices and options.  We did thank him numerous times before moving on. 

From the dock, cross the street and head to the Sea Gate, one of the entrances to the walled city of Kotor. This is what it looks like on Googlemaps.  Right outside the gate to the left is the Information Center.  You can pick up a free map here in the language of your choice.  

Though the exact foundation of the first settlement in this area is unknown, Kotor's history was born out of a long line of conquests by different Mediterranean kingdoms. The town is first mentioned as a settlement by the Romans in 168 BC. 

In 1002 it was ruled by the Bulgarian Empire, then Serbia in 1185 until 1371.  Hungary then gained control, only to change hands repeatedly between them and the Venetians until 1384. The area was held by the Kingdom of Bosnia before requesting protection from the Republic of Venice in 1420.

Kotor remained under the Venetian Republic until 1797.  It would be the four centuries of Venetian domination that would give this town its architectural style. And this style would be one of the factors contributing to Kotor becoming a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979.

There are three gates into the city.
  We enter the Sea Gate. 

The picture below is a scan of our informational map.
#1 in blue on this map is the Sea Gate. 

The urban nucleus of Kotor consists of large squares linked together by short narrow streets. 

Our first stop after entering Sea Gate is Square of the Arms which received its name during the Venetian period when arms were stored and repaired here.   It is called Trg od Oruzia on the map below. 

You really can't get lost in this town.  Turned around yes, but not lost.  I have taken the map and cut it into two sections.  As I walk you through this village I will note the numbers listed on the map when applicable.   

Directly ahead is the Town Clock Tower (#44)  which was erected in 1602.  In front of the clock tower is the pyramidal column of shame.  Basically an area of torture and public shaming. It is probably no longer used for public shaming.  Probably.

Then turn left and head into 
center of the Square of Arms. 

In the picture above, the building with the red awning is the Bjeladinvoic Family House.  It was built in the 1800's. The shorter brick building next to Bjeladinvoic House with the red roof is (#47) the Arsenal which dates from 1420 when the area was under Venetian protection. 

At the end of the square is (#46) the Napoleon's French Theatre, originally built in 1762 for military purposes and food storage.  Around 1810 while under French occupation it was turned into a theater.  At the beginning of the 20th century this became the Town Hall. 

Next to the Town Hall is (#45) the Duke's Palace.  This  Renaissance-Baroque style structure was built beginning in the 16th century.  This is now the boutique Cattaro Hotel.  

Continue walking, exit the Square of the Arms and continue straight toward the yellow building with two blue awnings shown in the picture below.  

Walk around the right of this building and you will enter the Square of Liberation.  The Beskuce Palace, #40 on the map, is located in this square.  

Historic buildings will have a dark red banner on the facade.  The Beskuce Palace was built in 1776 with the family coat-of-arms over the entrance.  

Continue walking and next door is (#38) the Buca Palace, home of a well known Kotor family during the 14th century. In fact all of the palaces were built for wealthy well known residents.  That is why they are called palaces I suppose.  Currently it is the home of the Zlatar Filigran jewelry store. 

We continue around the narrow corner to the left and find ourselves in the Square of the Flour or Trg od Brasna.  Obviously named such as flour was at one time stored here.  

Located in this square is the Renaissance-Baroque (#37) Pima Palace, shown in the picture above.

Exit the Square of the Flour via the narrow alley and you will find yourself back near the Clock Tower.  

Turn right and keep walking straight.  

To your right will be (#39) the Bizanti Palace, it has a brick exterior and green shutters.  Next to that on the left, is the Hotel Vardar with the mansard roof and four window dormers.  It is not numbered on the map. 

From the Vardar turn around and walk back in the direction you came from.  At the first tiny street take a right.  If you get to Arms Square you went one tiny block too far.  Walk down this narrow street and turn right to

 the Cats Museum

We did not go in.  Mike is very allergic to cats.  

But just had to say we were there.  

In the same square as the Cat's Museum is the tiny (#27) Saint Michael's Church.

We peak our head in the door to see the murals on the walls.  This church was built between the 14th and 15th century on the site of a former Benedictine Monastery. 


Inside is a very small Lapidarium exhibit.  

Outside the Church of St. Michael 

walk down the left hand side past the Ombra 
Caffe Bar on to a narrow street.  

We zig zag right then left then right again to St Tryphon's Square called Trg Sv Tripuna on the map. 

In this square we find (#35) the Drago Palace which is to the left in the picture above as well as (#21) St. Tryphon's Cathedral which was built in 1166.  

The altar inside St. Tryphon.

Just to the right of St. Tryphon's is (#48)
 Town Municipality Center
shown above with the flags of Montenegro.

Then directly across from the Town Municipality Center is (#49) Kotor's Historical Archives. 

Now we are going to walk along side (#49) the Archives Building back to (#35) the Drago Palace.  Stay to the left of the Drago Palace and continue down the narrow passage 

to the Public Square called the Pjaca od Muzeja on the map above. Continue walking past (#36) the Maritime Museum in to St. Luke Square.  This is called Tru Sv Luke on the map above. 

The Church of St. Luke (#23) was built in 1195, modeled after a church in Southern Italy. 

Saint Luke's was a Catholic church until 1657.  From 1657 to 1812 it served both the Catholic and Serbian Orthodox community. 

There is supposed to be a Catholic altar inside, but I didn't find it.  There is however a beautiful Orthodox iconostasis which is shown in the picture below.  
Just across from St. Luke is the Church of Saint Nicholas. In the picture below you can see one of the two spires of the Church of Saint Nicholas to the left of the photo.  

Saint Nicholas is a Serbian Orthodox
church built between 1902 an 1909. 
Mosaic over the entrance. 
Spectacular interior iconostasis. 

Right now we are at (#22) Saint Nicholas Church and need to walk to (#24) Church of  Saint Mary.  

Saint Mary's is a Catholic church dating from 1221. 

Below is the bronze door that depicts the life of Blessed Osanna of Cattaro whose body is kept in this church. It is the work of Vasko Lipovac a contemporary artist from Kotor. 

Osanna of Cattaro (1493 - 1565) was a shepherdess in her youth. During her teen years she felt called to be an anchoress and became a Dominican nun and confined herself to a cell to pray. 

Osanna had visions of Christ as an infant, the Blessed Virgin Mary and several Saints. She was beatified in 1934 and her incorrupt body which is shown in the picture (above and below) is kept here in St. Mary's. 

After viewing Blessed Osanna and offering prayers for her to be elevated to Saint, we exit St. Mary's and walk to (#42) the Grubonja Palace and old pharmacy which is shown in the picture below. 

Right next door to the Grubonja Palace, where you see the people lined up in the picture below, is the entrance for the trail head to St. John's Castle. You can also see where this is in relation to St. Mary's church.  

Take a look at the map of the hike
which is shown on the wall
outside the entrance.

Then head on under the arch.

Part 7 will cover the hike to the top of St. John's Castle. 
Monterosso al Mare Part 1  
Manarola Part 2
Riomaggiore Part 3
Hike Vernazza to Monterosso Part 4
Hike Corniglia to Vernazza Part 5
All pictures by L. A. Momboisse and R. M. Momboisse