Located at the foot of a towering mountain that overlooks onto the sea, lies the gorgeous medieval town of Kotor. The walls that protect this city extends upwards into the hills. They are skilfully carved into the slopes that in the grey of the mountainside are barely discernible. At night however, they are brightly lit up and forms a spectacular halo over this town. Arriving late into Kotor, we were tired from a full days travel. However, the moment we turned the corner and I saw Kotor at night with its halo, it swept me off my feet. I had not expected this and it took me a few seconds to take it all in.
The next morning, we got up with anticipation and Kotor does not disappoint. There are three entrances to the old town. We entered through the Sea Gate of 1555 which is the main gate.
On the wall, is a 15th century relief of Virgin Mary with St Typhoon and St Bernardo. If you look closely, you will see St Typhoon with a model of Kotor in his hands. He is the towns patron saint. As for St Bernardo, he is a protector of sailors.
From there, you will come straight into the main square with the Clock Tower right in front of you. At the base of the tower, is a pyramid which was once used as a pillory for citizens who deserved public shaming. If you look at the clock tower from one side, you will notice that it leans a fair bit toward the gate. Many earthquakes have contributed to it with the 1979 earthquake which destroyed significant portions of the old city the most recent.
Snaking then in all four directions are streets that will lead you into the narrow cobbled stone maze that is old Kotor. We got lost here happily more than once and even with the street map, it is not entirely a sure thing.
Burrowing into the rabbit warren of streets, you will encounter shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. There are also palaces and cathedrals, of which the cathedral St-Tryphon is one you will keep coming back to. Regarded as the most beautiful church in Montenegro, it makes beautiful photos with the mountain as a backdrop.
However, notice that the two towers are not the same? Apparently in 1667 when the frontage was destroyed, there was only enough money to add a baroque bell tower to the right tower. The left one as a result was never finished!
Outside the walls, to the left of the Sea Gate as you leave, there is also a fresh food market. In the olden times, this was where locals come from far and wide to barter and exchange their goods. Today, you will still find all sorts of produce from the local area. Fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese and smoked ham. Without knowing the local language it was hard for us to figure out the variety on offer. It would have been great to try out some of the local delicacies although a few of us (recovering fom a tummy bug) felt otherwise.