Kotor has average rainfalls 2.152 mm during the year. The most rainfalls are during the Autumn (248mm) and Winter (243mm), while even less in summer (68mm).
Frequent winds are blowing from southeast and south directions.
During the period of May 15th to October 10th the sea temperature is over 18°C, and swimming season can continue even to 144 days.
Kotor is situated on the southeastern part of Boka bay, on a foothill of the mountain Lovcen. The area of community of Kotor is 355 km2. Kotor is cultural, educational, economical an sport center of this area.
As the only fiord on the Mediterranean, Boka Kotorska was added to the list of twenty five the most beautiful bays in the world in July 2000, the others being mainly in Scandinavia. Kotor is situated on the southeast end of Boka Kotorska. The history of Kotor can be traced to the most ancient times. In the surrounding caves there have been found various tools and ceramics witnessing humane existence from the Neolithic period, as well as drawings on the walls of the cave at Lipci near Risan.
In the antique period the Illyrian tribal state was the first organized humane community on these territories. Roman conquest began by the end of the third century BC and since the year 169 BC these territories had been under the rule of Rome, and then were taken over by the Byzantines. The first Slav tribes settled there in the 12th century. Its first state was Doclea, later called Zeta. Since the end of the 12th century Kotor was in power of the members of the Nemanjic Dynasty until 1420 when the Republic of Venice occupied it and stayed there until 1797, the time of the Napoleon wars in Europe. After the stormy period from 1797 to 1814 when this area was alternately under the Russians, French, Austrians and Montenegrins, at the Vienna Congress in 1814, Kotor became the constituent of the Austro-Hungary Monarchy and remained under the rule of Austro-Hungary until 1918 when this region became a part of Yugoslavia until its disintegration.
For its unique mixture of different cultures, Kotor entered the list of the world cultural heritage under the protection of the UNESCO. In the past, the most developed industry in this area was trade and maritime affairs. Seafarers used to bring different products from overseas which they would exchange for the goods they were in need of. In that way Kotor became one of the most important trading centres in this part of the Adriatic coast.
Kotor area has warm and dry summer and mild and humid winter. Average annual temperature is 15,2 °C. The warmest month is July with average air temperature od 25°C, the coldest is January with 7,4°C. The autumn is warmer than spring for 2,0°C.
Kotor is among few of Mediterranean towns which has preserved its fortification system up to today. The walls surrounding the old town of Kotor were one of the main motives and reasons why the UNESCO put this city on the list of the world natural and cultural heritage in 1979. The fortification system of Kotor was built and developed through centuries. The walls are 4.5km in length, at some places they reach 20 m in height and 2-16 m thick. At the sea level of 260 m there is St. Ivan’s fortress on the basis of which there are traces of Illyrian period.
The town gates
You can enter Kotor through three town gates. The main gate is the Sea gate on the western side. They date from the 16th century and are constructed at the time of Venetian Providur Bernard Renier. A long time ago the sea reached the very entrance. The gate was built in the Renaissance and Baroque style, the proof of which is the pillar and the arch done in the Bunjato technique. The gate is surrounded by massive stone blocks and stone pillars. The Sea gate has a vaulted passage. On the right side there is Gothic relief from the fifteenth century showing Our Lady with Christ. On the left side is St. Tryphon with the model of the city and to the right St. Bernard holding ‘hostia’.
Gurdic Gate, also called the South Gate, was once hardened with three belts of gateways. It testifies that this gate was very important for the town. It was separated from land by a drawbridge. This bridge used to be lowered on the strange river Gurdic. It is strange because there is no river bed to it. During the rainy days it boils out from the cave muzzle and forces back the sea water. During the summer time the river disappears in Lovcen abysses and sea water fills in the gap again. Gate of the river’s or The Northern Gate was built in the Renaissance style to preserve a memory of Kotor’s victory over famous Turkish admiral Hajrudin Barbarosa in 1539. there is an inscription above it, saying that Barbarosa besieged the town with 2000 ships and 30.000 soldiers, but still did not manage to conquer it.
Main town square
The Square of Arms is at the same time the largest town’s square. This name was given to it because in Venetian period it was the place where arms were repaired and stored. It is ringed with the beautiful Providur’s Palace, Napoleon Theatre, the Clock Tower, Arsenal building and tower of town guard.
The Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is one of the symbols of Kotor. It occupies the central place in the square opposite the main gate. It was built in 1602 but it is supposed not to have been finished at the time of the 1667 earthquake, as on that occasion the Tower considerably inclined towards the west i.e. to the sea. Later there had been some attempts to put it back in upright position but after the 1979 catastrophic earthquake it returned to the same position. The Clock Tower was partly built in the Baroque style while the northern and eastern façade is in the Gothic style. Below the Clock Tower there is the Pillar of Shame which was used for punishment of an accused person by placing him/her in front of the Pillar so that all the citizens of Kotor would know for his/her offense.
The tower of Town Guards
The Tower of Town Guards, the lean-to the Duke’s Palace, is an evident example of military architecture – built to serve the military purpose only. It was built of high-quality stone against the interior side of western wall. The Tower was devoided of any architectonic ornaments. In the 1979 earthquake it was destroyed to such extent that it had to be break down up to the level of the first floor and then restored in stone in original size.
The Beskuca palace
It was built in the middle of the eighteenth century in a simple form without any decorative elements. The only decorative element worth mentioning is the Gothic portal that belonged to the Bizanty family. The portal presents the real masterpiece of the floral Gothic. The Palace belonged to the died out family Beskuca, which was particularly powerful by the end of the thirteenth century when they became a member of the nobility. The family legend says that the Count Jozo Beskuca wanted to have a hundred houses in his possession and change his surname into Stokuca, but he did not succeed in it. After the family Beskuca died out by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Palace became the property of the Kotor Community.
The Bizanti palace
The Palace Bizanti with one façade is turned to Square of Arms and with the other overlooking the street leading to Square of Flour. It was built in the fourteenth century. After the 1667 earthquake the palace changed its original look. The northern wing of the palace was added, which is evident from the coat of arms with the initials of Nikola Bizanti and the year of building 1674 on the eastern wall of the palace. Both wings of the palace are connected with the interior courtyard with a staircase which gives the palace Renaissance form. The windows, portals, staircase and the well with the family coat of arms have the characteristics of the Baroque style.
Square of flour
From the Bizanti Palace onwards you come to Square of Flour. It was named after the warehouses for flour which once were there. The palaces of noble families Pima and Buca are in this square.
The Pima palace
The Pima Palace, built after the 1667 earthquake, dominates the square with its beauty. The palace portal with the terrace was built in the Renaissance style while the windows and upper balcony which lies on the twelve consoles were built in the Baroque style. The balcony rail is the work of Kotor blacksmiths. Above the main portal there is the coat of arms of the family Pima supported by two angels. The palace was reconstructed after the 1979 earthquake.
The Buca palace
The Buca palace is situated opposite to the palace Pima. Today’s look of this palace does not depict the historical importance of the family Buca, one of the most eminent families in Kotor. The original Gothic palace was built at the beginning of the fourteenth century but it was considerably destroyed in some of the series of earthquakes that hit the town. It was reconstructed after the 1667 earthquake when it assumed today’s shape. From luxurious Gothic palace remained only one ‘bifora’ or a window with two arches on the western side that can be seen only from the town walls.
St. Tryphon’s square
In this square there are the most significant institutions of the town: the building of Municipality, Bishopric, Historical Achieves, the Institution for Protection for Protection of Cultural Monuments and Cathedral of St. Tryphon.
St. Tryphon’s cathedral
The Romanesque church built in 1166 on the fundaments of the small Romanesque church from the ninth century. It is three-nave Basilica, extensively restored several times, especially after the 1667 earthquake when the bell towers and a part of the façade were destroyed. After the earthquake, new bell towers were made in the Baroque style. The rose windows on the façade are those which attract the special attention. Once they were Romanesque but today they are with Gothic-Renaissance motives. St. Tryphon’s Cathedral has in its possession a rich collection of art paintings preserving the works of Marin Lovra Dobricevic, Tripo Kokolj, Paolo Veroveza, Hieronim Santa Croce and other great artists. The church has a rich collection of gold and silver relics, the works of local masters from the period from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The interior of the Cathedral is depicted with frescoes done by Greek masters-pictores greci. The most important part of the interior decoration of the Cathedral is the Romanesque Gothic ciborium from the fourteenth century above the main altar. On the wall of the apse there is the Golden Altarpiece with figures of Christ, the Virgin, St. John the Baptist and St. Tryphon and sixteen other saints. It is the masterpiece of Kotor goldsmiths’ work of the first half of the fifteenth century.
The Drago palace
The palace was built in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with all elements of Gothic style. The palace consists of two wings, southeastern and northern. As a decorative element there is often a dragon which is on the coat of arms of the family Drago. The windows and the portals are done in the Gothic style and nicely chiseled out. The palace was damaged in the 1667 and 1979 earthquakes. Today it houses the Regional Institution for Protection of Cultural Monuments.
Bishopric is the oldest institution in Kotor. Today’s building of Bishopric is located next to the Cathedral of St. Tryphon and also belonged to the family Drago.
The Grgurina palace
The palace Grgurina belonged to the noble family Grgurina. It was built in the eighteenth century in the Baroque style, with the façade on which dominate stone balconies with balustrades. Particularly interesting is originally preserved lay out of the floor rooms according to the Venetian pattern which says: the master’s house has four rooms and one parlour. Today in the palace is situated the Maritime Museum whose collection shows development of maritime affairs and cultural level of the inhabitants of the Montenegrin Littoral and Boka Kotorska in the past.
Karampana fountain in the past was the only source of fresh water in the town. In present form the fountain derives from the Baroque Epoch, from the end of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century. The forged rail is the work of an unknown master blacksmith.
St. Luka’s church
It was built by Mauro Kacafrangi in 1195 of which testifies the ktitor’s inscription on the western façade. This is a modest one-nave church whose main nave is longitudinally divided into three parts. St. Luka’s church has characteristics of the Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. This is the only building in the town which did not suffer any major damage during earthquakes. It was depicted with frescoes soon after its construction, of which remained only some fragments on the southern wall. The church altar was the work of Dascal Dimitrije, the founder of the Rafailovic school of painting from the seventeenth century. Once this church was catholic, but later it was given to orthodox people to use. Thus the church has two altars – the catholic and orthodox. The church floor is made of tombstones of common tombs of Kotor citizens, as burials took place in the very church until 1930s.
St. Nikola’s church
The building of the church started in 1902 and according to the inscriptions on the façade it was finished in 1909. it was built in the Pseudo-Byzantine style as one-nave church. The main façade is framed with two bell towers. Of special value in the church is iconostasis of the church made in 1908.
St. Ozana’s Church or The Church of St. Mary of The Rive
This church was built in 1221 on fundaments of the old Christian Episcopal basilica from the sixth century. In this church once it was baptistery – which was discovered in the research after the 1979 earthquake. The church depicted with frescoes in the fourteenth century by pictores greci. Today in the church there are relics of Saint Ozana, and that is why the citizens of Kotor also call this church Blessed Ozana.
The church of St. Klara
This church with Franciscan monastery derives from the eighteenth century. The church has a luxurious Baroque altar, the work of the sculptor Francesco Kabjanka. On the place of today’s Franciscan monastery once there was women’s Benedictine monastery with the church of St. Bartholomew which does not exist today. The monastery has a very rich library with a great number of old books, printed from 1450 to 1500.
Arsenal building is situated in the north-east corner of the Square of Arms, which was named by it. Its locality was determinated by the terms of that place , and also there was a very powerful bastion Citadela with the castle called Kampana, situated in the north-west corner of the town gates. In this part of town was a huge shipyard on the seaside, in front of the bastion Citadela.
At the Square of Arms , in front of Arsenal, was a meeting for people who protected the old town afore the invasion of war danger, for example, we can mention one of the most famous battle whose leader was Hajrudin Barbarosa, in 1539. and who intended to overmaster Kotor, but after three days, his army had to give up.
In this old building, was also facilitated naval army, called ” The Saints Tripun”. Before the old town changed its look completely at the begining of the sixtith years of this century, this building has a very tall and rapid roof, and only one floor which was stayed on the very powerful arcades above the groundfloor, with a tittle on its front door which says that it was “The public arsenal of material for the basin staff”.The entrace for this building was from the main Tower, with stone stairsways, which was removed at the end of the nineteenth century, when the Arsenal building was turned into a huge bakery for army, which was catering Garrison in Kotor.
When the Arsenal building was reconstructed for the present funcionality,were built sideway walls up to the heighth of the second floor, so today there are groundfloor and two floors.