Prčanj is pretty township at the foot of green Mt Vrmac, spreading four kilometers along the water edge. The place was famous for its mariners: first mentioned in the 16th century, they prospered quickly and already at the beginning of the 17th century the Venetian republic assigned them with postal service around its Adriatic and Ionian possessions. Prčanj reached its prime during late 18th and all through the 19th century when, together with Dobrota across the bay, it had the largest number of ships in Boka Kotorska.
The number of inhabitants was twice as high as today, and many of them where rich and well educated promoters of culture. With the end of the era of sailing ships Prčanj declined and sunk to level of large village whose past glory is reflected in many historical monuments.
The township enjoys a favorable climate especially in summers when its rich greenery and shades of precipitous Mt Vrmac keep it pleasantly cool.
Coming from the south one first encounters a small gothic palace known for its unusual three-part shape as” The Three Sisters”. The palace was built in the 15th century as a summer house of Buća family from Kotor, whose members rose to the ranks of the state treasures of Serbian Empire. The legend says that here lived three sisters who fell in love with the same seaman who went on a long trip and never returned. The sisters waited faithfully, refusing marriage proposals, when the first died her windows was walled, when the second one died her window was nailed with the second one died her window was nailed with a wood cover, the third one never saw hwr beloved one either, but by then there was no one left to close her window.
Continuing northwards there are several nice views of center of Prčanj to be enjoyed. Next comes the tiny church dedicated to Our Lady of Carmen dates from 1730 and was used by the Franciscans as their monastery. The adjoining building, actually a cloister, was for a period home to a private naval school but is the best known for the episode from revolutionary 1848 when, on June 13th, representatives of Boka’s communes gathered in its courtyard and reached the decision to unite with other South Slav provinces, an idea which succeeded 70 years later.
The center of Prčanj is marked by the Parish Church, standing on a 20 m rise above the rest of the houses. Dedicated to the Nativity of Virgin Mary, it is the largest church the whole Gulf of Kotor (35 by 23m and 31m high). It was started in 1789 on the plans of the Venetian architect Bernardino Maccaruzzi and financed enthusiastically by local captains who even transported the need stone from the island Korčula free of charge. The lower portion, in a distinctively Palladian style, was finished by 1806 when the Napoleonic wars hindered trade. The upper parts, together with a cupola , were done in the course of the 19th century but closely follow the original late baroque design. The church was finally consecrated in 1909 after the completion of the works on its interior, while the imposing double stairway leading to it took four more years to finish. In front of it are busts of prominent people connected with history of Prčanj and the Gulf of Kotor: bishops Josip Juraj Štrosmajer ( work of famous sculptor Ivan Meštrović) and Frano Ućelini-Tice, both promoters of South Slavic unity archbishop Andrija Zmajević an 18th century forerunner of its idea from Perast don Niko Luković, vicar in Prčanj and connoisseur of Boka who wrote many books on the subject, Ivo Visin and Njegoš. To the back on the church there are several old tombstones and various stone fragments and various stone fragments built into the wall. The interior is plain by appealing with most of decoration consisting of fine stone masonry. The main altar of particular baroque shape was made in Venice in 1744 by Giovani Maria Morlaiter while the icon of Mother of God constituting its central feature was done in the 14th century in a late Byzantine fashion. To the right is the side altar dedicated to Our Lady of Rosaria (sculptured in 1746 by Morlaiter) and to the left an early baroque altar dedicated to the Holy Family. The choir of the church is adorned with two more paintings –the large oil-on –canvas representing the Annunciation done by late 17th century follower of Veronese and a small gothic Virgin with young Christ (15th century).The sacristy of the church has been transformed into a small museum keeping church vessels and dressed as well as a number of works of art , mainly by various 20th century Yugoslav artists.
Continuing further along the shore one first comes to the Visin House, home of captain Ivo Visin who sailed around the world in 1852-59 on his ship “Splendido” with a crew from Boka. Visin is often mistakenly described as “the first South Slav” to sail round the globe”, while this was already achieved by Stevan Vukotić in 1823-26. However, Vukotić was in service of the Russian Emperor and remained relatively unknown, whereas Visin sailed under the flag of Austria, who proudly publicized the success of the first citizen of Austria to accomplish such a journey. Lining the shore alongside this house stand a number of similar, stoutly built stone houses.
Returning from the Parish Church back in the direction of Kotor, take the first path leading uphill. Initially you will pass the orthodox cemetery and it a chapel built in 1982 as a replica of the Old Njegoš chapel which one stood at the top of Mt Lovćen. At the top this track you will reach the old parish church of Prčanj, dedicated to the same feast as its newer counterpart by the sea. This old church sunk in the vegetation slowly overwhelming it was mentioned already in 1399. The octagonal chapel with a cupola is an addition from 1740. Inside are two baroque altars from the end of the 17thcentury .
On the north edge of Prčanj is Markov rt point, possibly the nicest beach of the inner Kotor bay. Two kilometers further starts Stoliv, another settlement with a nautical tradition. The part lying by the sea, with tiny beaches and lots of flowers, is known as Donji (Lower) Stoliv. It is much younger and more populated than its upper equivalent Gornji Stoliv, high above in the greenery of Vrmac. Directly by the seaside stands the Church of the Name of Mary from 1774, with an opulent baroque main altar decorated with figures of Saints Peter and Paul.
Gornji Stoliv, up to the 18th century the only Stoliv, is located high above the gulf, in a position from which an approaching enemy could be seen from afar and which offered much more protection. Today this peaceful hamlet comprises only a few houses lost in vegetation, all with a fantastic view across the Gulf. The walk to it (30 min) starts from highway some hundred meters before the church ( in the direction of Prčanj). It will lead you past the small village graveyard and the olive groves and through a lush chestnut wood. In the hamlet is large Church of St Elijah from 1553. Though somewhat deteriorated it is still in service and its old clock regularly strikes the hour. In its courtyard you will walk over many old tombstones with representations of deceased. If you are lucky enough to find it open, inside it you will see a fine triptych with scenes from Christ’s life ( Josip Tominić, 1853) and two side altars from the 19th century.
Montenegro Hostel Team