Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor (1979)

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UNESCO (France) 1984. St. Mary's Church.

In the Middle Ages, this natural harbour on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro was an important artistic and commercial centre with its own famous schools of masonry and iconography. A large number of the monuments (including four Romanesque churches and the town walls) were seriously damaged by the 1979 earthquake but the town has been restored, largely with UNESCO's help. 

Kotor is a small coastal town in Serbia Montenegro, part of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. A seaport served by a coastal highway and coastal steamers, Kotor is located on the Gulf of Kotor and has one of the best natural harbors in the world. 

Serbia Montenegro 2004. Palaces of Kotor.

Settled in the 3rd century BC by Greek colonists, the town became part of the Roman Empire in the middle of the 2nd century AD, and continued as part of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire from the 5th century to the 12th century. 

From the 12th century to the 14th century Kotor belonged to Serbia. After a brief period of autonomy it was held in turn by Venice (1420-1797), Austria (1797-1806), France (1806-1814), and again by Austria (1814-1918). Of special interest today are the old fortifications, the three town gates, and the castle.  

  • Serbia Montenegro 2004. 25th anniversary of the inscription of Kotor on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Serbia Montenegro 2004. Kotor. 25th anniversary of the inscription of Kotor on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Gulf of Kotor is a deep gulf reaching 24 km (15 mi) inland on the southern Dalmatian coast of Montenegro. The five narrow channels into which the gulf is split have the appearance of fjords, with steep mountain walls rising hundreds of meters above the water. The narrow coastal zone is home to several small villages. 

Yugoslavia 1973. View of Kotor, after an etching by Pierre Mortier, ca. 1650. Yugoslavia 1967. View of Kotor. Tryphons Cathedral. Yugoslavia 1980. City of Kotor with the UNESCO-emblem.

The gulf was once the chief outlet to the Adriatic Sea for southern Yugoslavia, and it was the only sea outlet for the former kingdom of Montenegro.

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The use of the name Montenegro began in the 15th century when the Crnojevic dynasty began to rule the Serbian principality of Zeta; over subsequent centuries it was able to maintain its independence from the Ottoman Empire. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Montenegro became a theocratic state ruled by a series of bishop princes; in 1852, it was transformed into a secular principality. After World War I, Montenegro was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and, at the conclusion of World War II, it became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. When the latter dissolved in 1992, Montenegro federated with Serbia, first as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, after 2003, in a looser union of Serbia and Montenegro. Following a three-year postponement, Montenegro held an independence referendum in the spring of 2006 under rules set by the EU. The vote for severing ties with Serbia exceeded the 55% threshold, allowing Montenegro to formally declare its independence on 3 June 2006.

Many thanks to Mr. Miomir Zivkovic (Serbia) for all help, support and encouragement. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Montenegro (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section of Serbia-Montenegro, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 22 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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