Kotor Culture

Kotor is surely the most famous Montenegrin town when we are talking about culture and cultural landmarks. At the end of XIX century, Kotor, that is bay of Boka Kotorska or the southern fiord, as that bay is lately called, because of its unsurpassable beauty, got the epithet of the Bride of Adriatic.

Its amazing beauty comes from the blue sea, stony shore, the slopes of the most famous Montenegrin Mountain Lovcen, greenery, which with the rocks above the bulwarks of the Old Kotor creates unusual natural colors. Its beauty is also created by the serpentines toward the fortress San Djovani (St. Giovanni) or Sveti Ivan (St. Ivan), medieval palaces, old town, and unavoidable, always cheerful spirit of inhabitants, whatever nation or religion they are.

Kotor has been a challenge for every tourist for centuries. Not so much in the sense of tourism, as it was challenging as a town of great cultural value with monuments of culture from the past, like its churches and cathedrals are. On every step that to you lay through the Old Kotor town you can for a while, at least through imagination, go back to Middle century, baroque age or the period when the pirates reined the world coasts. If you are for the first time in Kotor, the impression that you will have, we are sure, will be more convincing that the adventures from the movies that you have seen, or the books that you have read about those ages, or about this town. It has the tracks of Illyrian, and Roman culture, as well as pre Roman, Roman, Gothic, renascence, and baroque culture. Old town is counted into the Mediterranean towns with best preserved medieval urban settlement from the XII to XIV century, and is included in the list of the world cultural inheritance under the protection of UNESCO.

The Old town Kotor is on the list of UNESCO of the world cultural inheritance, since 1979. The medieval town Kotor is situated on the very end of the Bay of Boka Kotorska. Today Kotor is the biggest old urban settlement in Montenegro. The oldest archeologically noted edifice that originates from the VI century A.D. is the early Christian basilica found under the church of Sveta Marija Koledjate (St. Marija Koledjate) or Gospa od zdravlja (Virgin of health) in the immediate vicinity of the main town doors of the Old Kotor. Already in the Xi century Kotor gets its protector, Sveti Tripun (St. Triune) in whose honor the cathedral, which is today considered to be a symbol of Kotor, is being built.

Cultural richness of Kotor is invaluable. The treasury of the town hides the most significant cultural monuments like: Sat Kula (Watch tower) from the VIII century, Cathedral of Sveti Tripun (St. Tripun) from the XII century, Church of Sveti Luka (St. Luc) from the XII century, Prince’s palace from the XVII century, Church of Sveta Marija (St. Maria) from the XII century, Church of Gospa od zdravlja (Virgin of health) from the XV century, and Napoleon’s theater from the XIX century.

Kotor is surrounded by the town bulwarks, that is, the walls, around the town, walls above the town, and the walls around the hill as well as the fortress Sveti Ivan (San Djovani) on the top of the hill, which has the same name.

No matter from which doors or entrance in Old Kotor you are coming, the asymmetrical structure of the narrow streets and squares has numerous medieval monuments. Not just monumental edifices like the churches, cathedrals or museum monuments, but also with the ornament not only on the culturally – historical but also on the ordinary edifices, like family houses in which people still live. On the large number of family houses it is still very easy to notice the marks of the past epochs. Mostly those are ornaments that usually testify about the Roman Empire on these territories. You can see Roman marks, like numbers, sentences, lion characters, dragons, snakes etc… All around you can see baroque windows, big walls and richly and skillfully decorated arches.

In Kotor there are also numerous palaces: palace Drago, with Gothic windows from the XV century; palace Bizanti from the XII century; palace Pima, with typical shapes of renascence and baroque, from the XVI century; palace Grubonja, with a coat of arms of the old Kotor pharmacy, founded in 1326 year; palace Grgurin from the XVII century, which today is the building of the Maritime museum, as well as the Sat kula (Clock tower) dating from the XVI century, beside which there is a medieval pillory.

Historians mostly agree with the fact that the most important period for Kotor was the period of medieval century, and that is because of the fact that Kotor at that time experienced a great economic boon. Strongly developed economy soon influences the development of education, and extremely good progress of culture, art and construction. Already from the end of the XIII century in Kotor we have a grammatical school from which a multitude of humanistic writers and scientists came out. The first humanistic writers are mentioned on the transition from XV to the XVI century. We don’t know much about them, so the works that they have authorized were not preserved. Without any doubt the most famous poet was Bernard Pima, the descendant of the old and far famous Kotor noble family Pima. Only few of his verses in Latin, written in the Ciceron language were preserved. Then also we have a Kotor nobleman from the end of the XV century and the first decades of the XVI century Trifun Bizanti, and Kotor’s patrician brothers Vicko and Dominiko Buca. As a printer and a book editor, among more famous ones is Lord Jerolim Zagurovic.

When we are talking about the renascence literature it is good to mention Djordje Bizanti, who already in 1532 in Venice printed the verses in Italian and Latin. Still, the most fruitful renascence poet is Ludovik Pakvalic (1500 -1551) from Kotor. With the previous two, the poet Ivan Bona Borilis also marked the XVI century. Theological writers also have marked Kotor. One of the most significant was Luka Bizanti who governed the Kotor church for 4 decades.

Especially developed in that time in Kotor, was the art of cultivation (processing) of metals and stone, which made Kotor masters famous all over the Europe. The famous is also constructor and Kotor master Vito Trifunov or Vito from Kotor – a monk of a smaller church. According to some Kotor documents among 1326 and 1327 fray Vito constructed the famous monastery Visoki Decani (High Decani) in Serbia.

In the middle century in Kotor the so-called Greek painters worked. Among them were Nikola and Manojlo who painted at the beginning of the XV century. In the XIII and XIV century Kotor had its own pharmacy, and doctors, goldsmiths, gun blacksmiths and smithy, library, classical education, theologians, communal organization of the town, Statute, notary books… More than 5 centuries ago in Kotor a famous shopkeeper Marin Drusko lived. Also it is worth of mentioning the name of the famous trader and Kotor captain Marko Grgurovic.

Still, without any doubt, the greatest number of famous people from Kotor, come from Perast, a place close to Kotor, which has a lot of famous palaces. Among the famous people from Perast is Andrija Paltasic, a printer and an editor (1450 – 1500), who worked in Venice from 1477 to 1493. From the famous Perast family Zmajevic came writer and Bar archbishopric Andrija Zmajevic (1624 – 1694), and Vicko Zmajevic (1670 – 1745), a church politician and a writer…

The most famous representative of the well – known Kotor painting is the painter Tripo Kokolja (1661 – 1713) whose works of art are decorating the famous little church on the Island Gospa od Skrpjela. This painter of a very rich opus became famous almost in the entire Mediterranean.

The end of the XVII century is also an interesting epoch in the history of Kotor. On one hand it was marked by the collaboration of certain people from Kotor, especially from Perast in the Morej war (1684 – 1699). A very distinguished personality of that period was Vicko Bujovic, as well as the famous seaman from Perast Matija Zmajevic, who later became the Russian empire admiral.

The most famous Kotor seaman and the captain is by all means Ivo Vizin. In 1852, by going on a usual trading journey, with his smaller sailboat Splendido, by which a very nice hotel in Morinj near Kotor got its name, Vizin made the biggest naval project of the XIX century, by cruising from harbor to harbor, he sailed the world.

Long before Vizin, more precisely in 1823 a navigational officer Stevan Vukotic is being mentioned. Along with Vizin’s and Vukotic’s names, the history of Kotor remembers several other well – known seamen and captains like Petar Zambelic and Marko Ivanovic.

The collector of national treasure and folklore Vuk Vrcevic (1811 – 1882) was born in Kotor.

In the surrounding of Kotor, more precisely in the area known as Grbalj, the Cetinje’s archbishop and metropolitan of Montenegro Mitrofan Ban (1841 – 1920) was born.

More recent history gave also very famous people from Kotor. A world known man from Kotor today is Tripo Simonuti, a violinist and a free artist, born in 1932. with his daughters Ana and Irena he founded a chamber trio which is very well known even outside the borders of Montenegro under the name “Trio Simonuti”.

Doctor Milos Milosevic lives and works in Kotor. He is a presents Boka navy admiral. It is important to mention a former professor on the Maritime faculty as well as on the Faculty of tourism Milenko Pasinovic, and a violinist Ratimir Martinovic who both work and live in Kotor.

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