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Kotor: soft times in the medieval city

   There is a small pocket country on the Balkan Peninsula. Although the country is small, the scenery is very charming. Traveling here makes people feel relaxed and happy, but I only feel that the stay time is too short. This is the Republic of Montenegro. No wonder "Lonely Planet" magazine described it this way: "Beaches are as charming as Croatia's sapphire beaches, steep and precipitous peaks are comparable to the mountains of Switzerland, canyons are as deep as the Grand Canyon, squares have the elegance of Piazza Venezia, small towns and small Greeks. As old as the town. Warm Mediterranean climate, favored by the Adriatic Sea... Montenegro is as magical as its name.”

  Montenegro is the youngest country in Europe, only independent in 2006, with a land area of ​​only 13,800 Square kilometers, the population is only 630,000. Unexpectedly, there are 4 World Heritage Sites in small Montenegro, and I focused on the Kotor Natural, Cultural and Historical Reserve.



  The car drove along the seaside, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery between the mountains and the sea, and came to the Bay of Kotor. It is a natural port surrounded by mountains, located in the most indented part of the Adriatic Sea, and the southernmost bay in Europe, once selected as one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the world. Since ancient times, it has developed maritime transportation and excellent transportation location, making it a battleground for military strategists. The history of the ancient city of Kotor is as complex as any other medieval city in the Balkans. In Roman times, in 168 BC, Kotor was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia; in the early Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire, Justinian the Great, established a town here in 535, after expelling the Goths. Fortress; in the early 11th century, Kotor was occupied by the First Bulgarian Empire and later ceded to the Serbian Empire; in 1420 it became a vassal of the Republic of Venice, and during its nearly 400 years of rule, the ancient city was deeply influenced by its culture. The layout of the old town that has been preserved today is basically built in the Venetian period.


The rippling bay of Kotor - the sapphire of Montenegro


  The ancient city of Kotor was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979 with its special natural landscape and cultural and historical city. However, in the same year, a major earthquake occurred in the coastal area of ​​Montenegro, killing nearly 100 residents and destroying about 50% of the buildings in the ancient city. Listed as a World Heritage Site. Fortunately, with the help of UNESCO, the ancient city has basically been restored to its original appearance.


Ancient buildings bloom with classical charm and charm


  In June, the ancient city was crowded with tourists. My friends wanted to climb the mountain and enjoy the panoramic view of the ancient city from a height. I prefer to wander in the old streets. The small town is not big, but the buildings are very dense, and it is easy to get lost in the old alleys. The buildings are mostly made of stone, with stone carvings, stone carvings, window lattices... One by one, the exquisite details are full of the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. They have not faded over time, but instead bloom with classical charm and charm in the shuttle between ancient and modern. Each stone is mottled with time, and hundreds of years have only deepened the lines on the stone.


Medieval style stone carved window lattice on the ancient city building


  Pirates have been rampant on the coastline of Montenegro since ancient times. Pirates pretending to be businessmen often enter the city to kidnap for ransom and take people into slavery in the ancient city of Kotor. The city has the most architectural relics from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Each square is surrounded by buildings with different functions, and the squares are connected by winding streets. There are 14 large and small churches in the city of Roman Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance styles (6 of which are Roman churches in the 12th and 13th centuries), and the towering spire clock tower has become a guiding sign. The most famous of these is the Roman building St. Triffin's Cathedral built in 1166 - the tallest landmark in Kotor and one of the oldest churches on the Adriatic coast.


Walking through the ancient city of Kotor is like walking into an ancient time tunnel


  However, I ended up losing my way because of the dense streets and alleys. There are many cats here, they appear from every hidden corner, and their serious eyes seem to tell me that my every move is under their watch. Kotor people love cats, there are cat-themed shops and museums, a city with cats will make people feel warm and loving.


Exquisite stone carvings on the city wall


  The stairs leading to the ancient city walls lead me to this important historical monument of Kotor. The defensive "Great Wall" that stretches to the top of the mountain is dilapidated but majestic. The city wall starts at the seaside and winds up in a "zigzag" shape along the almost vertical cliffs until it reaches Fort St. John at the top of the mountain, stretching for 4.5 kilometers. Construction started in the 9th century, and it was continuously strengthened and extended until it was completed in the 18th century. The ancient city wall is integrated with the mountains. If you don't look closely, it seems to be hidden in the gray and black mountains. The height of the wall on the mountain side is about 20 meters, and the width is only two meters. In 1657, the Kotors successfully resisted the invasion of the Ottoman army with their solid walls. Viewed from the city wall, the rippling Kotor Fjord is surrounded by endless mountains, and the ancient city between the mountains is well-defined and harmonious with the red-roofed architectural style. On the other side is the azure blue bay. The busy commercial port in those days has now become a place for people's leisure and vacation.


Important historical monuments in Kotor - the ancient city walls


red-roofed house in old village


Cat-themed shops and museums are everywhere on the street


  Tired of walking, I found a restaurant with a courtyard, ordered a glass of white wine, and a plate of sea rainbow and salad. The hot sun of the Adriatic Sea became a lot gentler after being filtered by the vines. Lazy cat. Enjoying delicious food and wine, and reminiscing about those ancient buildings and the stories behind them, a small town carved by time has remained in my memory.


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