June 2019, we decided to make a spontenous trip to... well, to somewhere?! We had no idea really where to go, so we started brainstorming about possible destinations, and Ĺke mentioned "maybe, Montenegro"? YES!! I quickly cried out, what a fantastic idea!! That would be perfect!
A few years ago, when we visited Croatia, some of the locals mentioned that we probably would like Montenegro because of its beautiful nature and possibilities to hike. And so we decided right away, without really knowing anything about this little country at the Adriatic Sea, to book our flight. And a week later, we were here, in this lovely little village of Perast for 2 nights :-)
All the photos in the collage below are clickable, so you can view the larger photo.
I knew I wanted to travel to the Bay of Kotor, to visit the historic town of Kotor and the beautiful Fjord-like landscape. And while I was browsing for info about the area, my interest was grabbed by the description of this little village of Perast.
I instantly knew I would love this place, and it totally lived up to my expectations!
Perast is tranquile, laid back, charming, with loads of history, amazing views, and a perfect place to just wander around with my camera :-)
The history of Perast is a long one, even dating back to the Neolithic times (3500 BC). Its haydays were however in the 17th and 18th centuries, when Venice ruled this town (between 1420 and 1797). Hence I guess the Italian feel to this little town. And as I do love Italy, how could I not love this village :-)
Despite having only one main street, this tiny town boasts 16 churches and 17 formerly grand palazzi.
Perast is mainly known for the two small church-islands. The first island is called "Gospa od Škrpjela" or in English "Lady of the Rock". The church on the island dates back to the 15th-century.
An interesting fact is that this is an artificially-built island, the only one of its sort in the Adriatic.
Lady of the Rock / Gospa od Škrpjela
St. George / Sveti Djordje
The other island is called Sveti Djordje (St George). It is also easily seen from village of Perast, but may not be visited by tourists. In contrast to Gospa od Škrpjela it is a natural island and it houses a Benedictine monastery from the 12th century and the old graveyard, surrounded by some impressive cypresses. The graveyard was meant for the nobility from Perast and the Bay of Kotor area.
Although going to the church-island is easy to do from Perast, we opted not to do so. I didn't want to rush our schedule, and instead wanted to spend some time to wander lazily around in Perast itself and take in the sights and absorb the atmosphere.
St. Mark¨s church
The risen Christ, holding a banner of Victory
In the photo above you can see the St. Mark’s Church (Crkva sv. Marka), which appearantly is no longer functioning as a church.
This baroque church is so Italian in style, that it absolutely caught my eye. The connection of Perast with Italy and Venice are clearly visible at this church, having winged lion of St. Mark's over the door, which is the symbol of Venice. (photo on the right)
On top of the gable are three baroque sculptures: In the centre you can see the risen Christ (Photo above right), holding a banner of Victory (as in Piero della Francesca's 'Resurrection' in San Sepolcro). On the left is St. Peter, with the keys to heaven. And finally on the right is St. Mark holding his gospel.
Winged lion of St. Mark's
Below photos give you some impressions of the village. My favourite pastime was sitting on the small wall at the quay-side and just absorbing the views over the Bay of Kotor, with its surrounding mountains, feeling the sun shining on my face and breathing in the fresh air from the lake. I took my time exploring the side street while taking in all the small details there, as well as strolling along the main street. And I guess I must have stopped almost every meter during my walk to take some more photos ;-)
On the main square in town you can find the Church of St. Nicholas (Sv. Nikola) from 1616 (photos below). It was built with Romanesque and Renaissance elements. This most likely wasn't the first church in this exact spot, an older church is said to have been here dating back to 1564. A newer church was also started building here (on the rear side of St. Nicholas), but that one was never finished.
More impressive looking, in my opinion, is the 55-meter high belfry beside the church. And can you imagine that the bells in 1713 were the biggest in Europe! The belfry is the highest in the Bay of Kotor, and on the clock you can see the date when it was build: 1691.
From the church square you will have the views again over the Bay of Kotor. And in the bay you can see quite a few boats, from big to small.
That a lovely little town as Perast has had such a big maritime history is hard to grasp while walking around here. Although, the palazzi do hint to its important role in history! Perast had its peak in the 18th century when it had as many as four active shipyards, a fleet of around one hundred ships, and 1,643 residents.
Mazarovic Palace from the 18th Century
Viskovic Palace (15th - 18th Century)
This tiny town boasts 16 churches and 17 formerly grand palazzi. And some of them have been lovingly restored like the one on the left, the Mazarovic Palace from the 18th Century. Others however are mere ruins. like the on on the right, the Viskovic Palace (15th - 18th Century).
Perast is also part of the UNESCO site "Region of Kotor"
The day has come to an end, and darkness has fallen over Perast. But the village is just as enjoyable during the evening, as during the day. Maybe even more so, as there are less people around.
The atmosphere is relaxed, the evening is nice and warm, you know, one of those very enjoyable evenings that you can have around the Adriatic Sea. Soft music in the background coming from the many restaurants at the quay side.
We found a perfect spot in a nice restaurant overlooking the Bay of Kotor, reflecting the lights from villages on the other side of the bay. And on the menu, well, lots of seafood of course! Ahhh, so delcious.
We finished off our evening with a drink on our balcony overlooking the bay (photo on the right). A perfect end to a perfect stay in Perast.
Simone & Ĺke, Perast, Montenegro, June 2019