Kotor a Medieval Gem in Montenegro

Although its name has changed often through history, Montenegro is one of Europe’s oldest states.

The country lies on the Balkan Peninsular, facing the Adriatic Sea, and is one of the most southern states in Europe. It is also one of the smallest European countries, although it is slightly larger than minnow states such as Andorra, Luxembourg and Monaco. As you would expect of a country with an Adriatic and Mediterranean aspect, Montenegro has been captured, conquered, and traded with and by many of its neighbours and, until recently, was part of the former country of Yugoslavia.

Montenegro may lack expanse both in geographical area and population, but it has no shortage of important historical ports, one of which is Kotor, which has been preserved to reflect its medieval past.

The port of Kotor is surrounded by an impressive city wall which was built by the Venetians when they took control of the port in the 15th century. The Venetians actually held the city for about four centuries, and their architectural impact on the port still remains until this day.

Apart from its lovely architecture, Kotor has a naturally attractive geological location, and the Bay of Kotor is actually a submerged river canyon. Steep limestone cliffs are found in the area which add to its great beauty, which acts as something of a magnet for tourists.

Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”. Through the entire city the buildings are criss-crossed with narrow streets and squares.

There are many impressive and interesting buildings to see in Kotor including St. Ivans Fortress which is about 260 m above sea level. This is an architectural masterpiece of the medieval ages. The winding route to the top will give you a fantastic aerial view of the Bay of Kotor and the town. Warning, you will have to climb 1350 steps in order to get to the top of the cliffs, but the effort is worth it. You could also climb the St. John’s Fortress and enjoy the unbelievably beautiful view from the top.

Other places you could visit include, the Beskuce Palace, the Karampana fountain, the Prince’s Palace, the Bishopic, The Arsenal and Napoleon’s Theatre.

Apart from its turbulent political history, Kotor has also braved the consequences of natural disasters such as earthquakes. Several of the Romanesque buildings, churches, palaces and so on have suffered due to earthquakes and have even been partially destroyed. However, to Kotor’s credit, the town has always revived itself from the fall and managed to flourish and grow.

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