Montenegro is the last of the former Yugoslav countries that we visited and it’s the smallest. Our destination was Kotor, a small city located deep in the Bay of Kotor. The captain promised us a beautiful sail in (the Bay of Kotor is #7 on the list of Most Beautiful Bays in the World), but sadly it was still dark so there really wasn’t much to see. Below is a snip from Google Maps – we had to go in through the Bay of Kotor, through the narrow channel and then south east to Kotor.
Kotor has a very small port (and the Connie is a relatively large ship), so we had to drop anchor out in the bay and tender to shore.
In tendering the passengers to shore they used 2 of the ship’s lifeboats but they also had local boats taking people in. It was nice to see, but I can’t help but wonder if the local port authority requires them to do so.
This tiny little building is the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet; it dates back to at least the 13th century. This was on the way in, it was a little gloomy…
And this was on the way out, the sun was shining for us…
Unlike Dubrovnik, the wall of Kotor’s old city goes up the cliff of the Hill of St. John behind the city. Much of it is crumbling (partly thanks to an earthquake they had in the 70’s), but there is a “path” that you can walk to the Fortress at the top.
Built between the 9th and 19th centuries 4.5km of wall surrounds the city. The walls vary in width from about 6 feet to about 52 feet (2 to 16m according to the brochure)! The height also varies as you can see, reaching 65 feet (20 m) in places.
We ended up going the wrong way when we got off the tender, but it was okay – our way took us to the Južna Vrata (South Gate) of Kotor’s old walled city. The south gate is protected by 3 doors from the 13th, 17th & 18th centuries and a bridge across the spring Gurdic.
The fact that it was early, combined with us using the south gate, meant that we were all alone.
To me, this felt much more medieval than Dubrovnik. Sadly, that will probably change as more tourists visit.
There are cats everywhere in Montenegro, this one was perched at the top of a very long staircase.
They all seemed to be well cared for. We saw locals putting out some food for them.
It was nice to walk around and see the shop keepers and restaurant owners setting up and getting ready for their day.
The zig-zagging path to the fortress looks over the city.
A beautiful ornate old well/fountain sits in St. Luke’s square. The well was once the only source of water for the town and this structure dates back to the late 17th/early 18th century.
We couldn’t help but laugh at this cat in a shop window; I did say cats were popular here! Did I mention that they actually have a cat museum here?
And there were penguins too!
Crkva Sveti Nikola (Church of St. Nicholas) is a Serbian Orthodox church that was built from 1902 to 1909.
Crkva Sveti Luka (the Church of St. Luke) is the only building in old Kotor that didn’t sustain significant damage in the 1979 earthquake. It was originally a Catholic church when it was built in 1195. From 1657 to 1812 it was a shared church – with the Catholics and Orthodox taking turns holding services. In 1812 it was gifted to the Orthodox church, but the 2 side by side altars still remain.
More cats of Montenegro…
It was time for my hike up to the Church of Our Lady of the Health (Crkva Gospa od zdravlja). Remember that zig-zagging path?
Rooftop view from the path…
The walls here, constructed in the 13th & 14th centuries, are inclined to act as a further defensive mechanism.
The Church of Out Lady of the Health dates from the 1500’s. Another of Kotor’s Catholic churches, it’s perched up on St. John’s hill. The only way up is via the stairs/path – just getting to church requires it’s own level of devotion!
From the church, there are beautiful views of the Bay of Kotor and our ship…
I didn’t walk all the way up to the fortress; the path upwards from the church gets pretty steep and the rain was falling, making the rocks slippery. This is the view from just above the church where you can see the path which consisted of stairs and a path beside. According to the brochure “on the path can be seen a system of stairs and slopes, upon which to draw the cannon” – can you imagine dragging a cannon up here? Yikes!
Here’s a shot of just the zig-zag from above
And more views of the Bay and the Church…
The old city from above the church, on a clear day it would be spectacular!
These are the walls along the River Skurda
Remember this guy from Venice? The Venetian influence can be felt here…
The back of St. Nicholas church and the tower of the St. Clare monastery church in the foreground.
All of these kittens were in an area of about 3 or 4 square feet and they were drawing quite the crowd! On Google Maps this spot is shown as the Cat Park so they were exactly where they should be!
I’d worked up an appetite going up to the church, so it was time for lunch – pizza and local beer at Pizzeria Sara. It was very good and the pizza sauce was served on the side – I’d never seen that before.
I saw this street artist painting with what looked like a tiny trowel to me. I was told later it was a palette knife and not uncommon at all.
Looking through the keyhole. I wonder what this was for?
As we were heading back to the ship (again to escape the crowds) the sun began to shine on the surrounding mountains.
The Constellation actually looked small in the shadow of the mountains…
Since the sun was shining, I wandered around the ship and took a few more photos of the surrounding villages and the bay.
Looking north toward the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks and Perast.
As we prepared to set sail, the sun began to drop below the mountains.
Sailing past Perast and the steeple of the church of St. Nicholas (Crkva Sv. Nikole)
This little church is Our Lady of the Rocks; it’s sits on an artificial island made of rocks.
The bar & restaurant Verige 65 sits at the entrance to the channel – it looks like a lovely spot to enjoy a drink and take in the scenery.
The Pedjina Ckrva and bar Adriatica sit at the other end of the channel
A beautiful sky as we sailed back to the Adriatic Sea and towards our next destination, Valetta, Malta.