What to see in Kotor Old Town - A guide to undiscovered secrets of Kotor with Sasha, Porto Montenegro’s tour guide

Like many other Balkan states, the history of Montenegro is turbulent and remarkable simultaneously, and Kotor city is an indispensable part of it. Many events that occurred centuries ago have left their mark on architecture, customs, people, and all other town elements.

In Kotor, the story of the great empires such as Rome and Byzantine are being preserved.

The walls have surrounded Kotor Old Town – the most famous part of Kotor since medieval times, which determined its fate to a certain extent during the period that would follow. 

So it’s not surprising that Kotor’s city testifies to the story we will now start telling, which will guide you to Kotor’s undiscovered secrets with Sasha– a woman who passed these streets many times, inspired by its many legends, stories, and folk tales.

vidikovac sa pogledom na kotorski zaliv

Kotor history - colorful origins of the town

Kotor history begins when ancient Romans found it as Acruvium after expelling the Ostrogoths. The town is first mentioned in 168 B.C. and was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia. 

The town’s rich culture is parallel with many conquerors who found Kotor on their conquest campaigns, like the Illyrians, the Venetians, the Austrians, the French… The list is long, and we will try to explain it briefly

First, the Illyrians ruled town between the 3 and 2 century B.C. On the other hand, the Romans are considered the founders of Kotor, which will stay under their reign until the Roman Empire’s break.

In the 10th century, Kotor city was an autonomous city ruled by Byzantium under the name Dekaderon. From 1186 to 1371 was a free city of medieval Serbia. Then, it was Venetian and Hungarian for a brief period, an independent republic from 1395 to 1420, and then again Venetian until 1797.

But don’t think that this is the end of this city’s rough times.

In 1806 Russians governed the town only for a year. Until 1814 it was occupied by France, and in the meantime, the city suffered periodic damage from Turkish assaults and earthquakes. 

Austrians domination over Kotor city lasted until 1918 when Slav sailors battled the Austro-Hungarian navy. The town was incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Later, Kotor was part of Yugoslavia, Serbia, and Montenegro, and at last Montenegro. 

It’s more than 2000 years old, so Kotor sure has some tales to tell. 

katedrala Svetog Trifuna u Kotoru

What to see in Kotor Old Town? 

If you ask yourself what to see in Kotor Old Town, know that almost every building in Kotor Old Town reveals secrets and exciting history layers.

Are you interested in architecture and religion?

Churches, cathedrals, palaces, museums, and other cultural monuments you can find in Kotor old town are all part of the past that we briefly listed in the text above.

As we said, Montenegro has colorful origins, and you can see that clearly in every part of this beautiful country. A great way to discover Kotor Old Town is to wander around without the map because behind every corner, a new surprise and undiscovered secrets await you. 

dva glisera na jadranskom moru

Gates of Kotor Old Town - the first line of defense that still stands the test of time 

In Kotor Old Town you can enter through three town gates.

Surrounded by massive stone blocks and pillars, Sea Gate’s main gate was built in the 16th century, under Venetian rule, in the renaissance and baroque style. 

If you enter the Kotor Old Town through this gate, look out for the winged lion of St Mark, Venice symbol, displayed noticeably on the walls here and in several spots around the town. 

On the other hand, the Northern Gate preserves Kotor’s victory over (in)famous Turkish admiral Hajrudin Barbarosa in 1539. There is engraving above the gate, saying that Barbaros besieged the town with 2000 ships and 30.000 soldiers, but that didn’t help him conquer it. 

Despite the surviving battles, this gate is still in excellent condition.

Last but not least, South Gate, also called the Gurdic Gate, was once hardened with three belts of gateways, which testifies that this gate was significant to the town. It was separated from land by a drawbridge that used to be lowered on the Gurdic river. 

5 km long and 10 m wide fortified walls surround the city, so without the crowds, it’s easy to imagine yourself in front of a large army trying to pass the gate. 

Kotor Old Town is considered the best-preserved medieval entity in the Mediterranean

Whether you enter through Guardic Gate, the Northern Gate, and the Sea Gate, the road will bring you to the cathedral Sveti Trifun, dedicated to the protector of the town.

Saint Tryphon of Campsada, as we would say in English, was a 3rd-century Christian martyr and saint. Kotor has a tradition of celebrating his powers for 1200 years.

Cultural monuments in Kotor Old Town

Many pieces that tell a tale about Kotor Old Town are scattered across the city, like Trg od Oruzja, or Square of arms. You can experience the architecture of the Baroque and Renaissance, traditional festivities and events, as well as the combination of history and tradition with the modern age.

There are many incredible palaces around Kotor Old Town, dating back to the 15th-18th centuries. As Kotor has always been a place of great importance, numerous noble families have lived here. 

However, some of the palaces don’t look all that impressive. Others, like Pima Palace, catch the eye of every passerby. 

Kotor fortifications are the biggest highlight of Kotor! The fortification stands proudly above the old town, glued to the steep Lovcen Mountains.

Although the city is ancient, the walls are primarily medieval. 

These walls protected Kotor’s medieval town, containing ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns, a castle, and ancillary buildings and structures. 

You are going to need at least one hour and around 1350 steps to get to the top of the Kotor fortress, but once you are there, you will fall in love with a stunning panoramic view of the whole Bay of Kotor. 

From Porto Montenegro to Kotor Old Town

Do you want to feel the charming atmosphere of Kotor Old Town? Once in Montenegro, you can sail there from Porto Montenegro marina

There is so much history and culture to see and appreciate. The salty smell of the Adriatic Sea will seduce you, and the more time you spend there, the more you will fall in love with the town and all it has to offer! 

You can even relocate here with the Citizenship by investment program if you like it. Boka Place is a new place you must see and experience, and nearby Kotor is a perfect base for enchanting Montenegro adventures.

How to block cookies?

You can change your cookie preferences at any time by clicking on the ‘Cookie preferences’ icon. You can then adjust the available sliders/checkboxes to ‘On’ or ‘Off’, then clicking ‘Save and close’. You may need to refresh your page for your settings to take effect.

Essential Cookies
Preference Cookies
Statistic Cookies
Marketing Cookies
Read more about these cookies