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Date: 29 May 2007 11:06:55
Title: Montenegro

Montenegro                                                             Zelenika 42:26.96N 18:34.28E

 

May 21st finally saw us away from Italy for real. Motor sailed 12 hours to Budva in Montenegro however contrary to all the pilot books they aren’t a year round port of entry and the shooed us away to Zelenika. It was too late in the day so we anchored in Zaljev Traste for the night and checked in the following day. The staff and personnel could not have been nicer or more obliging and checking in was a breeze although there is still a little hangover of the old communist regime with a many page cruising permit and a place for dozens of stamps. The English translation was cute. Channel became Channies and Straits became Staits etc.

 

Tied up stern to at the town dock at KOTOR right at the southern most end on the BOK KOTORSKA (The Gulf of Kotor). The daily food market was right across the street and the range of food was great. Cherries are in season and we tried both the red and black varieties. Irene has been looking for a cherry pipper for the last few weeks and has tried all the large super markets. Guess what in a smallish super market just down the road from Kotor, she found one. Looks like cherry pie and cherry jam coming up.

 

Badly damaged during the 1979 earthquake, Kotor has now been restored using UNESCO funding. The old walled town of Kotor has extensive defensive walls which snake up the hill behind the town. Each detailed level would have been a defensive position as they fought a rearguard action to the final keep at the top of the hill.

 

The next couple days will be spent exploring this part of Montenegro’s coast before sailing to Dubrovnik and a rendezvous with our next guests.

 

Kotor is an amazing place what to say about it! “When the pearls of nature were sown, on this soil an overflowing handful was gathered.” Lord George Gordon Byron.

 

The narrowest street in the world is in Kotor, it is called ‘Let me pass’. The street is so narrow that two people can barely pass by each other!

 

Kotor is located at the south-eastern most point of the Bay of Kotor and is under the Lovcen Mountain range. While the city itself it quite small, the city walls are around 5kms long. The two walls both terminate at the Fortress St. Ivan which is around 250m high up the mountain and to climb, it is reputed to have 1426 steps. I ran out of puff and lost count but I did make it to the top! The walls are impressive being around 20m high and in places from 2 to 15 metres thick.

 

Kotor was founded in the 4th & 5th centuries AD by the Byzantium people and its original name was Catarum. It was from the 9th century that things really started to move and the current town dates from then. The city itself has a definite Venetian influence in the housing and the town presents as a mini Venice with the canals being replaced by marble paved streets. It is right up to date shopping wise with most of the classy names being represented and while there is a fairly high tourist population, it is a working town occupied by people who live and work there. I get the feeling it has always been a fairly wealthy town and the guide book suggests that in 1326 Kotor got its first pharmacy and the hospital opened in 1350. The pharmacists and doctors were mostly Italian.

 

St Tryphon’s Cathedral was erected in 1166, rebuilt in the late 1500’s after the earthquake, again in 1667 after another earthquake and the latest in 1979 after that huge quake!

 

There is a small church on Piazza Greca which has a unique history. It was a Romanesque structure erected at the end of the 12th century and by the end of the 17th century it was owned by the Catholics and due to an influx of people around that time it was given over to the Orthodox Church. By the end of the 19th century there were two altars one each for the Catholics and the Orthodox and since that time has been a shared facility.

 

We loved Kotor and if time permits go back again on our way south in a couple of months.

 

Brother Stephen, sister-in-law Rhonda together with Bob Culbert & Lorraine Swan arrive in Dubrovnik next week so on May 24th we departed for Croatia (Hrvatska)

 

 

Seaside houses, a cathedral & a church up high   The original harbour, the city walls & St Ivan’s at the top

 

 

Battlements run right up the mountain to St Ivan’s     Kotor from St Ivan’s. It has always been a major maritime trading city.

 

  

Credit for these two photos goes to Arhiv turističke organizacije Crne Gore as I copied them from great publication on Montenegro. The picture to the left is the bell tower on the Chapel Our Lady of the Rosary which Andirja Zmajević erected as his own mausoleum in 1678. The picture on the right is Our Lady of the Rock which is an artificial island created by piling up stones around an existing rock where, according to legend there was found an icon of the Holy Mother of God. Sailors erected the Testament Church in 1630.

 

The shared church, Catholic & Orthodox in Piazza Greca erected towards the end of the 12 century.


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