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The Bay of Kotor: the “fjord” of the Mediterranean

This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)

The Bay of Kotor (Bocche di Cattaro, Boka Kotorska), one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world, is a deep inlet in the southern Adriatic, a kind of fjord formed by four basins (Gulf of Castelnuovo, Teodo bay, Risan gulf and Kotor) joined together by straits and overlooked by mountains approaching 1,800 meters in height.

The highest peak of the Boka Kotor region is Mount Orjen (1894 meters), located northwest of Risan. Mount Lovćen (Monte Leone) which overlooks the city of Cattaro (Kotor) is 1749 meters high.

The origin of the formation of the Bay of Kotor is due to the filling of an ancient coastal valley with sea water, and therefore even if the appearance is similar to that of the Norwegian fjords (originating, instead, from the erosive action of the glaciers), the origin is completely different.

This area of Dalmatia, which today is part of Montenegro, is of incomparable natural beauty and holds interesting historical towns such as Kotor (Cattaro), Perast (Perasto) and Castelnuovo di Cattaro (Herceg Novi). The internal area of the Mouths including the two gulfs of Cattaro and Risano, and the towns of Kotor (the old city and its fortifications), Perast and Risano have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a Natural and Historical Region- culture of the Bay of Kotor.

The region is characterized by a very picturesque landscape formed by high and barren karst mountain walls, and in correspondence with the coast by low hills with rich Mediterranean scrub vegetation.

The Bay of Kotor begin, towards the west, at the tip of Ostro, which represents the southern end of Croatia, and towards the east of the tip of Arza, in the center of the entrance to the mouths there is the islet of Mamula (Lastavica). With the exception of the aforementioned Punta d’Ostro, the whole area of the Bay belongs to Montenegro.

Due to its conformation, with mountains that drop sheer into the sea, the area of the Bay of Kotor is the rainiest area in Dalmatia, with an average of about 2,400 mm of rain per year.

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This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)

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