Cruise Infographic by Bolsover Cruise Club
One of the fantastic things about going on a cruise holiday is that you can often discover destinations you’d never even heard of before, with little gems nestled on the itinerary next to more perennial holiday favourites.
Kotor, in Montenegro, is a wonderful example of just such a hidden gem, with this charming city home to some incredible historical attractions. In fact, Kotor has quite a varied and interesting past, with the region initially inhabited by the Greeks and Illyrians before the Romans established a city where Kotor now stands today.
Among the reasons why Kotor is so incredible to explore is that various powers ruled the city over the centuries, and it even spent a period as an independent republic in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.
The Venetians, Hungarians, French and Austrians have all laid claim to this delightful port and you can still see these disparate influences in the city’s architecture today. The old centre has even been recognised by UNESCO, such is its significance. It is worth pointing out, however, that some of Kotor’s most stunning buildings were sadly damaged in an earthquake in 1979. A number of these have been restored, but there are others that remain in ruins.
Now that you’ve got an overview of what makes Kotor so special, we’re going to pick out a few of the key sites not to miss during a day exploring here as part of a cruise.
St Tryphon Cathedral – The St Tryphon Cathedral was originally constructed in the 12th century, although it has been altered over the years, largely due to repairs being made following earthquakes. Its current incarnation is in a Romanesque-Gothic style, with Baroque bell towers that were added in the 17th century. Inside, it is truly beautiful, with the vaulted roofs and intricate decor befitting the final resting place of a saint. The remains of St Tryphon are kept in the reliquary chapel.
Town walls – Among the most striking landmarks in Kotor are its fortifications, in the form of a huge wall that runs up St John’s Hill behind the city and shields it on both sides. In places these thick walls stand on top of near-vertical cliffs and are quite a sight to behold. To truly appreciate them, though, you need to climb the 1, 350 steps to the wall itself. The views from this vantage point are breathtaking and more than worth the effort of the climb.
Sea Gate – The Sea Gate is one of several entrances into the Old Town, but it is arguably the most spectacular. This particular entry was created by the Venetians in the mid-16th century. There are interesting stone reliefs on and around the gate, while the symbol of St Mark – a winged lion – is clearly visible and gives the most obvious clue as to who constructed this part of Kotor’s defences.
Church of St Luke – There are many interesting churches dotted throughout Kotor, but what makes the Church of St Luke stand out is the fact that it has two altars – one for Orthodox worshippers and one for Catholics. It dates from the 12th century and if you step inside you’ll be able to see original frescoes adorning the walls.
This is just a snapshot of what you can find in Kotor – the whole city is a delight to explore and one of the real joys of visiting here is simply meandering through its maze of narrow alleys and cobbled streets; there are surprises waiting at every turn.