July 5 - 11, 2015: Issue 221


Island of Saint George - Ostrovo Sveti Dorde


By George Repin

Montenegro is a small Balkan country with a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west.  It is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the north-west, Serbia to the north-east and Albania to the south east.

The use of the name Montenegro dates back to the 15th Century at the time of Venetian hegemony and derives from the appearance of the dark, basaltic mountains in the region. It means Black Mountain.

Over the centuries it has been occupied by many power, with records of the Romans in 9 CE.  For a time it enjoyed an unique autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. On the breakup of Tito’s Jugoslavia Montenegro remained part of a smaller Federal Republic with Serbia until a referendum on 21 May, 2000, when 55.5% of the population voted for independence. On 3 June, 2000 the Montenegrin Parliament declared the independence of Montenegro, formally confirming the result of the referendum.  Serbia did not object to the declaration.

According to 2011 official data the total population of Montenegro was 620,029 of whom 45.0% were Montenegrins and 28.7% Serbs. 

Kotor is located in a secluded part of the Gulf of Kotor.  The old port, which is in the Bay of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period. Contrary to an immediate impression the bay is not a fjord but a submerged river canyon.

Kotor has one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic and is a UNESCO world heritage site.  Its ancient walls stretch for 4.5 Kms above and around the Old Town.

Kotor is still the seat of the Catholic Bishopric of Kotor, which covers the whole gulf, although the percentage of Catholics has fallen considerably during the past century.  In 2011 78% of citizens of Kotor were Othrodox Christians and 13% Roman Catholic.

The Maritime Gate - the entrance to the Old Town of Kotor

Two interesting islets are features of the Bay of Kotor

• Sveti Dorde (Island of Saint George) with a Benedictine monastery from the 12th Century and the graveyard for the old nobility in the area.

• Gospa od Škrpjels (Our Lady of the Rocks) – an artificial island of rocks and old and seized ships loaded with rocks. According to legend the islet was made over the centuries by local seamen, keeping an ancient oath, laying a rock in the Bay upon returning from each successful voyage. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea continues today,  when the locals take to their boats at sunset on July 22 every year and throw rocks into the sea, widening the islet.

A road with twenty-five sharp hairpin bends goes up the mountain overlooking Kotor to Cerinje a farming area on the plateau above, providing spectacular views on the way up.  It was built by the Austrians from 1879 to 1884.

The zig zag road from Kotor to Cetinje

Above the Sea Gate, the entrance to the Old Town, is an inscription:

What belongs to others we don’t want, what is ours we will never surrender    

Four centuries of Venetian domination gave Kotor the typical Venetian architecture which contributed to its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Lion of Venice on the town wall - the symbol left by the Venetians on their buildings

Hopefully the accompanying photographs do justice to some of the features of Kotor.  

Photographs by George Repin in May, 2014

Our Lady of the Rocks - Gospa od Skrpjela

View to the Bay of Kotor from a stop on the zig zag

 Farming land and buildings at Cetinje

 Bastion and part of the Venetian town wall

Venetian wall above the Old Town

 The Town Square with the Duke's (Providur's) Palace - XVIIC and XVIIIC. - on the left

Cathedral of Saint Tryphon (1166)

 Interior of Cathedral of Saint Tryphon


Old Church of Saint Tryphon IXC


Serbian Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas 1909

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants  Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre  Around Angkor - 1963  Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic  Museum in Monaco  The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano  University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi  Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park  Aphrodisias  The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre  Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island  ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997 Hotere Garden Oputae Children of the Trobriand Islands Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual  

Copyright George Repin 2015. All Rights Reserved.