The “protector” of the Old Town of Kotor, the hill of St. John (San Giovanni) which is located about 260 meters above sea level, got its name from the church located at the very top of the fortress that was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and served the needs of the army that guarded the city walls.
The fortification complex of San Giovani was built gradually through many centuries. The beginning of the construction of the city walls is associated with the Roman Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Taking the 1,350 stairs to the top, besides the incredible view of Boka Bay, will lead you through the town's rich history.
The Church of Our Lady of Health, which is located halfway to the fortress, was built by the locals at the beginning of 15th century, honoring the Holy Mother in acknowledgement of the rescue the town from the epidemic of the plague. The icon of Our Lady of Health was placed here, which became famous for saving those from death in Medieval Italy.
The fortification complex of the fort and the ramparts consist of two parts. One is made up of walls that surround the old urban core, with five bastions and three gates into the city. The other ramparts climb the eastern and southern sides of the hill, meeting the fortress at the top. The ramparts that could appear dilapidated in parts are actually remarkably well preserved.
Being one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the “capital” of tourism in Montenegro, the Old Town of Kotor has been in discussion with local municipalities to invest in a cableway elevator that would take tourists directly to the top. Nothing concrete has been done to date. According to the Tourist Organization of Kotor, there are around 40.000 people who visit San Giovani each year - and it is actually the first place you would suggest to tourists visiting Kotor.