Kotor (Montenegro) and St. John Fortress
Kotor is in Montenegro, just 2 hours from famous Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kotor is a walled city dating back to the Romans who founded the town in 168 BC. Over the centuries it was ruled by the Illyrians, Byzantines, Serbians, and Hungarians before falling under Venetian rule in 1420. It was during this time that the fortifications that you see today around the city of Kotor were built.
The Walls form a rough triangle, the base being the lower town with its walls and 3 gates along the harbour and Skurda River, the sides precipitously climbing up the mountain, and the apex bring the fortress of St. John (also called Kastel Sveti Ivan) at the peak of the mountain of St. John.
Statistics on the Fortifications of Kotor
The walls have a perimeter of 4.5 meters, with an average height of 15 meters (20 meters in some places), with a thickness of 2 to 16 meters. There are 3 main gates to the city, all located in the old town. More details here.
Even during Venetian rule Kotor was under regular attack. The Ottomans twice took Kotor (1538 -1571 and 1657 – 1699). In the 1800’s the city traded hands between the Hapsburg Monarchy, the French under Napoleon, and the Russians. Finally, it fell into Austrian hands in 1814. That lasted under the end of World War I in 1918.
When the Austrians left the fortress of St. John was abandoned and decayed to the state it is in today. A highlight is walking up to the fortress and enjoying one of the world’s most beautiful bays.