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C + 5 : Bay of Kotor

This morning we arrived in the Bay of Kotor, the one and only fiord in the Mediterranean (see blog C - 25). The mountains here are smooth and polished - they were shaped by glaciers 2 m years ago during one of the last ice ages. In front of the Bay the mighty Kotor river formed a huge delta which is now floded - but very well known by the local fishermen who get their morning catch there.

Entrance to Kotor Bay The bay has the usual history of the illyrian coast. Colonised by Rome at the time of the Punic wars, it stayed Roman for almost 1’000 years (first Roman then Byzantine)

By 900 AD Serbian people arrived in the area. When they were overrun by the Ottomans, the bay asked for Venetian protection (1420). Except for the Ottoman enclave in Herceg Novi (Castelnuovo) from 1482 to 1687 the region was Venetian until Napoleon dissolved the Serene Republic in 1797. It then became part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until 1918 (and one of its 3 Navy Bases) and joined Montenegro and Yugoslavia after WWI.

The 3 Austrian Forts of Mirista, Mamula and Prevlaka, built by Austria once the naval artillerie had sufficient range to block the bay’s entrance in 1853

During the cold war the Yugoslav Navy used the bay to hide some of their submarines and torpedo boats

The northern part of the bay is separated from the southern part by a three miles long channel with a width of about 300 meters - it is rather narrow!

On the way to Kotor we passed the beautiful village of Perast

Perast has 19 Venetian Palaces - built by Venetian captains who retired here - good choice!

Finally we arrived at Kotor with the fortress protecting the town 235 m or 1’300 steps above sea level. It was 13.00 h and time for lunch. Then we climb up to the fortress on top!

The town of Kotor still proudly displace the Venetian Coat of Arms on its town walls

The fortress seen from Kotor's market place high above town (235m actually)

View from the Venetian fortress over he Bay of Kotor. The Venetian structures were more or less forgotten until the Italian occupation forces arrived here in fall 1941. They built some observation and air defence bunkers within the existing structure. But they were quickly and shoddily built and in an advanced stage of decay. Climbing up the 235 m took us 22 min only - the winner was a sailor from the Swiss Canton of Valais who climbed like a mountain goat

Looking down the extensively fortified hill over Kotor

Back on the Dragonfly it is dinner time - the Kotor Fjord is as calm as a fresh water lake

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