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Montenegro: Kotor Old Town

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Kotor Old Town | Montenegro | Europe

[Visited: August 2009]

From the distance of the other side of the sea arm, I was contemplating Kotor and its surroundings. The fortress and the ramparts leading up to it looked appealing, but the old town below, hidden behind its city walls, seemed to jealously guard its secrets to the outsider. Crossing the rather busy road running around the city wall, I entered the city from the South Gate, also called the Gurdic Gate after the Gurdic spring in which the gate beautifully reflected in the afternoon sun. The gate is narrow here; in fact, the old town is at its very narrowest here. After entering Kotor through the solid gate, I almost immediately fell in love with it. Much less crowd than in some other parts of the area, lovely marble streets, arched passages: it is difficult not to fall for the old town of Kotor. As I was on my way up to the fortification of St. John, I did not have time for a longer visit, and knew I would be back the next day anyway.

Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): City walls reflected in the Gurdic spring, a small pond near the North Gate

First thing the next morning: a dip in the clear, irresistible waters of the Bay of Kotor. Then, while the sun was still climbing behind the mountain ridge of Lovcen, we walked towards Kotor. Entering through the South Gate again, we just followed our noses, and started wandering around the old town. Again, I was caught by its beauty, which made an even bigger impact, probably because of the empty streets and the fresh light falling onto the roofs of this medieval town. The narrow alleys, with their marbled pavement, the stairs leading to houses higher up the mountain rising steeply from the very base of Kotor, the lovely squares with old fountains, where our footsteps echoed against the stone walls of the old houses: we thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Skurda river and bridge leading to the North Gate

We came past the building that once housed the Austrian prison, we saw St Nicholas and St Luka (which was hosting a baptism ceremony) churches as well as St Tryphons Cathedral, all of which centuries old, and the clocktower, before we headed to the North Gate, or River Gate. When we exited the town through the arched gateway, we found ourselves on a bridge over an extremely clear Skurda river. A very nice spot: in the sunshine, with the arched stone bridge leading from modern Kotor right into the old town, with a view over the spires of the churches we had just seen inside rising above the skyline of Kotor we had fallen in love with. When we finally left the old town, we did so through the Sea Gate, or West Gate: the biggest of them all, with a quote from former leader Tito and the date of liberation from the nazis engraved on a big stone. It served to realize again that no matter how lovely Kotor is nowadays, battles have been fought over this very attractive, peaceful town. A sobering thought.

Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Square in the old town of Kotor
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Situated on the square with the same name, the bell towers of St Triphons Cathedral
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Church of St Nicholas high above the roofs of houses of the old town of Kotor
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): St Nicholas church on St Luke square
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Typical view in Kotor: cobble stone street leading through arched passage
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Open door in an old building in the old town of Kotor
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Alley with shops in the old town of Kotor
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): The entire old town of Kotor consists of attractive medieval cobble stone streets
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Street leading through an arched entrance to the entrance of Kotor fortress
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Stairs leading up to houses on the slopes of St John mountain
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): St Luke church is a Serb orthodox church in the old town of Kotor
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): River Gate, or North Gate, can only be reached by crossing a bridge over the Skurda river
Picture of Kotor Old Town (Montenegro): Gurdic Gate, or South Gate, tucked away in the far south of Kotor

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