Kotor: First Glimpse of Montenegro

Kotor is veritable feast of culture and beauty surrounded by towering jagged mountains with a shimmering blue sea at its foot; a jewel of the Mediterranean.

I’d never really given much thought to visiting Montenegro. I never learned about it in history, and its cities are too small to be placed on the same lists as Berlin, Budapest or Paris. I think there is a tendency for it to be overlooked as it neighbours Croatia, which seems to be the trendy place to summer.

My first glimpse of the town of Kotor, which lies at the southern tip of the Bay of Kotor, reaffirmed my seemingly unusual decision to choose this place to go on a solo trip, as opposed to the other European holidaying giants.

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The style of the old town is instantly recognisable as Venetian, with its orange-red roofs and light stone walls. The contrast of this bright colour with the turquoise rivulets that surround the town sets a rather mystical tone that harks back to the days of religious fervour, trade and conquests.

Despite around 1000 years passing since the monasteries dotted around the town were founded, they are some of the best-kept buildings in the town. St. Luke’s Church, founded in 1195, was a tribute to the Apostles, and enormous murals of the saints gazed down upon me as I ventured my way inside. This also gave me an insight into the various peoples that have influenced the culture if Kotor; most of the Church’s artwork was Russian in origin.

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I spent a while meandering through the little cobbled streets of the town, admiring the blooming flowers dripping down from hanging baskets, and the sheer number of cats that were pottering about with me. I shouldn’t have been surprised; the cat is the mascot of Kotor, and soon enough I stumbled upon a Cat Museum, as well as entire souvenir shops dedicated to providing tourists with tea towels, pottery and handkerchiefs adorned with cheeky feline faces.

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After earmarking a few local spots for future dinners, I soon became far too hot to function in the lunchtime heat (31 is a LOT of degrees) so I set off for Kotor’s pebbled beach. The water was a beautiful blue-green, and incredibly refreshing after a day in the baking heat. I’m going to wander through the old town again and treat myself to a local beer and a tasty dish tonight- ready for tomorrow’s adventure to the mountain fortress!

 

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