“Let Me Pass" Street, the Narrowest Street in Kotor's Old Town

By , 28 Aug 2018, 15:35 PM Made in Montenegro
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August 29, 2018 - In the northeastern part of the old town of Kotor, among the vivid gardens and old-style walls, lies a street that keeps the secrets of the old Bokelji since the middle of the 19th century.

The street is only 80 centimeters wide, and as two men can barely pass each other here, the locals nicknamed it "Pušti me proć" or "Pušti me pasat" (Let me pass). Hidden from the crowds of tourists, crowded squares, and busy souvenir shops, this narrowest street in the old town of Kotor has become a great tourist attraction. The table with the inscription "Pušti me proć" was recently set up, even though the locals have been calling it like that forever.

One of the specifics of the Old Town of Kotor is that its streets do not have official names. They are mostly the traditional names given by the locals to make it easier to get around in the town center. The same case was with piazzas or squares. So in the old town of Kotor, there are a number of unofficial streets, and the most famous is Zanatska street, street Via ruvis, Duga (Long), Mokra (Wet), Uska (narrow) street, as well as Pušti me proć (Let me pass).

The tourist guide and Kotor native, Dolores Fabijan, says that the Let me pass street is especially interesting to tourists. It was built probably more than a hundred years ago, or more precisely during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

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"The street is a bit narrower in one part as you can see, and in the second wider but not enough for two people to get around. Women who carried water and clothes for washing often passed through it, which drew a crowd and so the name Let me pass was given," she explains. According to the stories of old Bokelji, there was often quarrels between the women and also between the men.

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Dolores Fabijan

"Certainly, the men wanted to show off and they did not want to allow the others to pass, so this street was well-known in the famous Kotor quarrels when many gossips going went on in the town. Let's not talk about the quarrels caused by the crowd of women," says Fabijan.

Since the street Let me pass was rather dark and dim, it was an ideal place for first dates, gatherings but also break-ups.

"There are a lot of love relationships born here, which is not strange, since this is such a dark place, the true skuribanda," she said.

The reason why people from Kotor did not name their streets is because they built where they could after a number of earthquakes and fires.

"It was easy to build whereever so the street network was created and I guess they did not think much about the names of the street," says Fabijan.

The street that also has an unofficial name that is Zanatska Street, one of the oldest streets in Kotor. It has always been the main business street, the main artery of the town that was restored with inheritance.

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Workshops in the street which were also stores for selling goods had a distinctive door-window, the so-called "door to the knee", a kind of connected door and window, which can still be seen in the ground floors of Kotor houses.

Through the display, the craftsmen advertised their merchandise and achieved communication with the street, and often symbols of their trades were engraved on the stone in the store doorposts.

Another street that has no official name is the street leading to the fort San Giovanni. It's called Via Rupis or Rampada. It was used for military purposes since all the important strategic sites were on the walls of Kotor.

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Zanatska street


"There was a ramp on the top of the stairs leading to the fortress, so it's called the Rampada," explains Fabian.

The Old Town of Kotor is filled with tourists today. Everything that once made this fortress is slowly lost. The power of commerce and the desire for money is in effect.

"As you can see Zanatska Street is overflowing with boutiques, souvenir shops... Everything is slowly losing that charm. There are more and more cafes, and their umbrellas and mobiles occupy half of the piazza. Numerous locals have moved away from the old town because they cannot sleep from the noise. Nevertheless, a true Bokelji still keeps the heritage of the town's culture, the original Bokelji talk, and the good gossip," says Fabijan.


When will the streets get official names?

Given that during the summer a large number of tourists come to this town of world cultural heritage, they are often confused because the official street names do not exist.

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street Rampada

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Since it is very difficult to pass through the labyrinth of Kotor streets, the municipal council has decided that at least 15 streets in the old town will get their official names. Among them will be also Pušti me proć (Let me pass) street.

The same street exists in Split

The street with the same name also exists in Split, near the Jupiter's temple. It is one of the narrowest streets in the world, and its width is only 57 centimeters.

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It's about ten meters long, and people from Split joke and say that only one man can pass through it with a closed umbrella.

Text by Aleksandra Saška Bošković, on August 27th 2018, read more at CdM

 

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