Posted by: Alex MacGregor | May 1, 2010

The Bay Called Kotor

With Budva behind us, we made the quick journey to a place that we felt would be a bit more our style: Kotor.

We soon found that Kotor isn’t just a pleasant place; it’s absolutely incredible! It’s easily be worth a ferry ride from Italy if you find yourself in Europe anytime soon.

The city itself consists of a densely-packed old town at the bottom of a cliff. I’ll spare you more explanation and cut straight to the pictures.

Heavily fortified Kotor was built by Venice over 500 years ago.

The position of the city is as good as it gets from the standpoint of defense. Not only does it sit at the foot of a nearly impassable chain of mountains, protecting it from land attacks, but it is also located at the far end of a long, deep bay, making it difficult to attack by sea as well.

As you might expect, the city is protected by thick walls and a wide moat.

Kotor’s south gate, with a drawbridge right against the cliff.

Most surprising is how the moat is formed. Even though the Bay of Kotor is salt water, connected to the Adriatic Sea, Kotor’s moats are fresh water. That’s because on either end of the city, very strong springs force water right out of the bottom of the rocky cliffs, giving the water a blue-green glow just like we saw in Sveti Naum.

Can you see what’s wrong with this picture of the moat next to the north gate?

Water flows out of the walled-in area, but none flows in. That’s because the flow is created by freshwater getting forced out of the earth at great volume.

Not only does this make for perfect defense–unlike a river, these springs won’t move about over time and ruin the walls–but they also give Kotor an endless supply of fresh water that can be accessed during a siege.

But Kotor didn’t stop there in the effort to defend itself. Also worried about an attack from land, the city features a massive network of fortifications that climbs its way all over the mountain above town.

Nowadays, you can walk all the way up to the top of these fortifications to see just how the city was defended…

…and, of course, soak up the great views!

One sign that we are getting into wealthier countries is that hoity toity concepts like ‘liability’ and ‘insurace’ seem to have made their way to Montenegro. Not such a big concern down in Albania!

The higher you get, the more substantial the fortifications get–and the better the views become!

At the very top, you’re rewarded with a stunning view of the bay.

As I said at the beginning, Montenegro is definitely worth the ferry ride from Italy!

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