December 9, 2018 - San Giovanni, the fortress of Kotor, is one of the most fascinating segments of the architectural heritage of Boka Bay and one of the Montenegrin cultural monuments of the most significant interest of tourists. Besides the fact that it is a masterpiece of defense architecture, San Giovanni equally fascinates with breathtaking views over the Old town of Kotor and the surrounding area.
Together with the old town and its natural surroundings, the fortifications were inscribed in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 labeled Natural and Cultural-Historical Region of Kotor. The fortified city of Kotor, including San Giovanni, was also included in UNESCO's World Heritage Site list as part of Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th centuries.
San Giovanni is an idyllic destination for a half-day trip, an opportunity to indulge yourself in a light mountain-hiking tour, but also to take some photos to try to preserve fascination, which nature here, supported by a skilled builder, offers literally on every step.
The San Giovanni hill rises over Kotor to about 280 meters above sea level. The name originates from the church of the same name, which was first mentioned in 1440 and was located in the main fortress at the very top, and it was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and served for the needs of the army, which guarded the city walls. The total length of the rampart is over four kilometers, a thickness of two to sixteen meters, and the height reaches some places up to twenty meters. Walls climb along San Giovanni's hill like the snakes and curve, adapting to the murky shape of the rocks, demonstrating an exceptional building technique, which still admonishes today, despite the no-go-lucky condition of the ramparts and forts. The project for reconstruction of the fortress of Kotor is still not systematically and systematically implemented, although much has recently been said about the necessity of an emergency action to rehabilitate and preserve this exceptional monument of culture.
The fortress and the ramparts, the fortified complex was created for centuries, and the beginning of the construction of the city walls was linked to the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. The integrated old fortification system that protected the medieval town of Kotor contains ramparts, towers, citadels, gates, bastions, forts, cisterns, a castle, and ancillary buildings and structures, that incorporate military architecture of Illyria, Byzantium, Venice, and Austria. The majority of actual appearance and form came during the XV to the XVII century, so that for Kotor's fortress is considered of the most powerful that Venice has built in its Adriatic lands.
On the way to the top, somewhere halfway, there is a famous sanctuary, earlier called the Our Lady of Rest, and from the other half of the XVII century of Our Lady of Health celebrating November 21st. In the church is the tomb of the famous Kotor's family Bolica and in front of the church count Anton Lukovic's tomb. Our Lady of Health is an ecumenical sanctuary, which on this holiday is equally visited by Orthodox and Catholics, residents of Kotor.
The fact is that San Giovanni fortress is not in a good state, but in this condition it fascinates by the harmony of architecture, the skill of the building hand, the resistance of the dry-stone path, which, stays along the most part of the road against rainwater and the tooth of time over 500 years.
San Giovanni Excursion Useful Tips:
Entrance to San Giovanni is 3 euros.
Take a sunny day for an excursion to San Giovanni. It is not pleasant when it rains because there are not many places where you could hide.
Be sure you are in proper walking shoes. It will not hurt you to bring mountaineering shoes if you own them. Although the road is not in bad condition and safe, it is a high slope of the terrain, and the stone path has been thrown out for ages.
Do not take a trip to San Giovanni without water. There is no other way to heal your thirst.
As we all walk with mobile phones, we do not need to remind you to take a camera. San Giovanni hill, that in a tectonic movement disobeyed the wild sides of Lovcen and overtook the deepest bay of Boka Bay, together with the fortress of San Giovanni, for centuries, forcing the ancient Kotor, just place you in the position of a participant who wants to keep the impression forever. We all have illusion photos could help.