One if not the most impressive sights we posses in the bay of Kotor it is located right in our Old town, f Kotor are its city walls are the perfect example of a military defense town, it is hard to believe they are still proudly standing there, bearing in mind all the earthquakes that have affected this area in the past; so we like to say that they are a great reminder of the town’s long history and the amazing achievements of its citizens.
Their construction began more than 1200 years ago, in the 9th century and they were successively modified and improved until the 19th century! With a total length of approximately 4.5 kilometers and with San Giovanni fortress as their highest point at 260 meters above the sea level. Impressive today we cannot help but wonder how, back in the past, locals were carrying rock by rock to make the structure that would protect their lives and their homes from the many invaders that passed through the Balkan Peninsula. It is not difficult to be impress by them, their age, length and of course very place where they were built.
Nowadays we are not able to walk along the walls however we can climb to the top from the old town, there are two access which will take you to Saint Giovanni fortress. This hike will feel like a work out therefore one should be ready for the 1350 steps and approximately 1.5 hours to reach to the top, bring a bottle of water and enough memory in your card to take as many amazing pictures as you can.
If you are not able to climb all the way to the top there is always the half way hike up to visit the Catholic church of Santa Maria Della Salute – Our Lady of the health or Our Lady of the Remedies built in the 15th and 16th centuries when the town suffered from plagues, citizens of Kotor decided to pilgrim to virgin Mary asking for her help. In the 18th century it received a bell tower and a picturesque porch. It is also interesting because it contains two tombs, the Bolica and Luković families, who indebted Kotor and its historical heritage
currently it is not an active church however you can lit a candle and enjoy the amazing view of the old town beneath you!
The cult of Our Lady of Health is related to the plague that reigned in the Middle Ages, which killed a huge number of people, devastated the economy… Then Venice asked the Mother of God for help. When the plague stopped, the senate decided to build a church on the Grande Canal called Santa Maria della Salute, the Our Lady of Health that saved Venice, for the Blessed Virgin Mary, who pulled Venice out of that horror. The cult spread to the whole of Dalmatia, one of the most beautiful churches of Our Lady of Health is in Zadar, where in the XVIII century the altar was built by Andrija Zmajević who was from Perast. Churches of Our Lady of Health exist in Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor.
There are a lot of places to visit, explore and enjoy while you visit Kotor old town, here we will number a few locations and activities in order to enjoy your time while exploring this gorgeous UNESCO protected town, either with one of us as your guide or by yourself.
The Gates of Kotor
The town of Kotor has three entrances:
South gate also known as Gurdic entrance is the first of the three and was very important since people from Budva will have to use in its way to Dubrovnik when they could afford a boat trip, it had a drawbridge which will be lowered on the strange of the river Gurdic, this entrance is the best option during the summer in order to avoid crowds.
North gate also Known as skurda door entrance built in the Renaissance style to preserve the memory of Kotor's victory over the ottoman empire back in 1539, the famous Turkish admiral Hajrudin Barbarosa also known as Red beard the pirate led the attack. You can still read the inscription above the entrance, Barbarosa besieged the town with 2000 ships and 30000 soldiers, but still did not manage to conquer it.
Main Gate or Sea Entrancelocated on the western side of the old town, dates from the 16th century and was build by the Venetian Providur Bernard Renier in 1555 in Renaissance and Baroque style even tough the top par of the entrance has change over the centuries the pillars and the arch still remain in the Bunjato technique. The gate is surrounded by massive stone blocks and stone pillars and is has a vaulted passage, right after you walk pass the entrance there is a Gothic relief from the 15th century showing Mary and baby Jesus, St. Tryphon saint patron and protector of Kotor who is holding the town on his hands and St. Bernard holding the holy bread "hostia"