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The South Fjord

Inside the Kotor's Mouths

[Tripper: Paola]
ITPensiero LiberoBocche di Cattaro

Long, narrow, winding, it insinuates itself like a tongue of sea into the earth. It is the bay of Kotor, in Montenegro, a southern fjord which in its 56 km offers stunning landscapes, between a dominating nature and villages with picturesque charm.
The bay is surrounded by mountains, which protect it by creating an ideal microclimate for the cultivation of Mediterranean fruit and vegetables: figs, cedars, olive trees.

Madonna dello Scopello (Baia di Cattaro)

Our Lady of Scopello (Kotor Bay)

Isolotto di San Giorgio

St George's Islet

It is also protected from the sea by a unique defense system. In addition to a network of fortifications and towers that dot the banks, the mouths were equipped with a curious chain system, deposited in the sea in the narrowest part of the fjord, called the Strait of Chains, designed to block access to enemy ships.
The chain was linked to two towers on opposite sides of the bay and when an enemy ship approached, it was raised to block the passage, shocking the enemy.
Entering the bay immerses you in Montenegrin culture: a unique blend of Slavic, Mediterranean and Ottoman influences, reflecting the country's complex history, especially in the areas along the bay. Due to its strategic position, located in the middle of the Mediterranean, naturally protected, the bay was in fact always an important point of reference for navigation and commerce, and many aspired to have complete control over it.

We stop in Perasto (Perast), a town that brings the forge from the Venetian Republic, and which today, thanks to the passion and skill of some young architects, shines with a restored beauty, especially along the sea, from which you can enjoy a panorama that embraces the entire interior of the mouths.
Perasto has no walls, nine turrets had been placed to defend it. Walking through its streets, we come across two women selling sheets embroidered with the typical Perast lace. It is a traditional lace with intricate design motifs, made with needle and thread. The workmanship requires a lot of time, great skill and patient care. If you get the chance, appreciate its beauty and maybe you'll find an original piece to take home with you.

Opposite Perasto, a romantic rock rises, on which cypresses grow: it is San Giorgio with the islet of the Madonna dello Scalpello next to it, where the church of Nostra Signora delle Rocce was built. The legend that surrounds this place creates a suggestion that makes it an unmissable destination.
It is said that two sailor brothers, returning from a rather dangerous journey during which one of the two injured his leg, saw the icon of the Virgin emerge from the sea, near a rocky outcrop. Thinking of a divine sign, they decided to take her home and the next day her leg was miraculously healed. As a sign of gratitude, the two brothers decided to build a church dedicated to the Madonna dello Scoglio and they carried around the spur, stone by stone, to build the islet that would house it.
It was July 22, 1454.
Even today, on July 22, the Fasinada is celebrated, the event that remember the discovery of the image of the Madonna, during which many boats go to sea to bring stones to the islet and replace the old ones. If you enter the church, you will find the miraculous icon of the Virgin exposed.

Proceeding further to the end of the mouth, one arrives at Cattaro, the town which lends its name to the entire bay. The city is surrounded by mighty walls up to 20 meters high, built over several centuries. They reach an extension of 4 kilometers, climbing up to Mount Lovcén, behind the city. The effort to climb up there is amply rewarded by the view enjoyed, provided that you don't come across a gray day, as happened to us.
Above one of the access doors we read: Tude Necemo - Svoje Ne Damo
It is a phrase in Serbian which translated means: We will not give up - We will not give away what is ours.
Referring to the long-sought Montenegrin independence struggles, the phrase expresses the determination and pride of a people for their territory.
We make it our own to launch a warning that underlines the importance of preserving the historical, cultural and naturalistic heritage of each country. Unesco has already thought about this here, since the walls of Kotor are included in their list of World Heritage Sites.
Have a good trip!

Vista di Perasto (Montenegro)

View of Perast (Montenegro)

Porticciolo di Perasto

Perast marina

Mura di Cattaro

Walls of Kotor

Cattaro . nelle vie del centro storico

Kotor town - historic centre

faqScopri di più

Q. How to reach Kotor?
A. Kotor is easily accessible:
  • by car: from Tivat (10 km) and from Podgorica (60 km), the capital of Montenegro.
  • By Bus: numerous bus lines connect the city to many other destinations in Montenegro.
  • By Boat: By sea, with ferries connecting the city to many of the nearby islands and other destinations along the coast. Perhaps this is the most suggestive way to reach the entire bay.

Q. What is the currency of Montenegro?
A. Montenegro has adopted the euro, although it is not yet part of the European Union, because in 1999, it had adopted the German mark as its currency. Since the Deutsche Mark was a currency then converted into euros, Montenegro also adopted it.