Tucked away at the end of the Gulf the town of Kotor sticks determinedly to the steep sides of Mount Lovcen, in one of the most dramatic settings in all of the Mediterranean.
First colonised by the Greeks, Kotor flourished from the twelfth century as the chief port of the Serbian state of Raska though the town was very much an independent commune whose commercial power came to rival that of Dubrovnik.
The golden years didn’t last long, for the town’s position was undermined by the Turkish conquests of the fifteenth century and Kotor was forced to seek the protection of Venice in 1420 – beginning a long and slow decline punctuated by siege, earthquake and plague.
Kotor’s old town spreads out along the side of the Gulf behind its west wall, a confusion of twisting streets and tiny squares framed by a mountain slope, where the thin line of the east wall zig-zags up to an apex at the fortress of Sv Ivan.
Most of what you see today is Venetian and dates from the fifteenth century – though the ramparts were started by the Byzantines some six centuries earlier. Inside, the central square is surrounded by a number of historic buildings including the Rector’s Palace, the Town Hall and Tower Clock.