The youngest town of Boka Kotorska is set at the foot of Mount Vrmac, on the edge of a fertile plain opening to the south and to wide bay that bears the town’s name. Sheltered from the north winds by Vrmac and open to the south it enjoys a favorable climate that made the plain in which it lies from time immemorial into the wine and fruit growing region.
This copious area attracted settlers such as the Illyrians and Romans, but remained pastoral, with several smaller villages scattered around.The name of the present day town in mentioned first “only” in the 14th century when the noble families of Kotor built here there summer houses, small castles from which they could gather their feudal duties in crops, which were later owned by the wealthy captains from Perast and Prčanj.It was the only after 1898 when Austria-Hungary built its naval arsenal here that Tivat grew rapidly, becoming the largest town in the Gulf until the mid 20th century when it was surpassed by Herceg Novi. Today Tivat and its surroundings are an attractive resort, with many hostels and boarding houses. However, except for a few, the beaches here are small and those in Tivat itself are all concrete.
The main historical sight in the town, and one of patrician villas erected here, is the tower of the Buća-Luković summer house. The tower with logia on its top, built in 1548 by a local builder, is the only remaining part of the house. It is located on the street parallel to the coastal promenade and it is today part of the Town Gallery. In a closed yard next to the tower is a small chapel from the same period, dedicated to St Michael. Slightly northwards from the tower is Tivat’s Town Park, the largest in the Gulf of Kotor. Its tradition was started by the seafarers who used to bring tropical and sub-tropical plants from their journeys. Today it is just a shadow of its former glory, with only the old trees surviving the neglect. In the park there is a monument to naval officers Milan Spasić and Sergej Mašera, who in April of 1941 heroically blew themselves up together with their ship “Zagreb” in the order not to fall into Italian hands.
A fairly modern town, Tivat stared to be popular thanks of Porto Montenegro, the first comprehensive state-of-the-art deep water marina in the Adriatic Sea.The construction site was a naval shipyard named Arsenal, which fell into disuse after breakup of Yugoslavia and the decline of the Yugoslav Navy. The attractive lot on which the shipyard is situated was put on public offering in 2006, and was bought by Canadian businessman Peter Munk. It was acknowledged in 2008 that was not alone in the venture-while Munk owns 54% of the Porto Montenegro company, the rest owned by Oleg Deripaska, Nathaniel and Jacob Rothschild, Bernard Arnault, Sandor Demian and Antony Munk. Munk announced that he intends to build a luxury yacht marina and a waterfront community, which would cater to needs of growing community of superyacht owners. The favourable position of Tivat in the secluded part of the Bay of Kotor, together with the proximity of Tivat Airport, makes it favourable location for a marina.
Porto Montenegro will eventually offer over 600 berths of all sizes - at least 130 reserved for yachts of over 30 metres - as part of a full-service community of luxury apartments, shops, restaurants and other sports and entertainment amenities. The marina will have berths for 650 yachts, 150 of them super yachts, up to 150m long.
Heading north along the coast one passes through several settlements that have blended into one with Tivat. Directly behind the closed down shipyard is Rt Seljanovo , a point of land that just into the gulf and has a long sandy beach. Adjoining it to the north is the village of Donja Lastva, earlier also one of the sites that attracted the patricians of Kotor. Its waterside is lined with nice 19th century stone houses ending with the Church of St Roch (1901) whose most valuable possession is the 17th century icon of St Tryphon, work of Greek painter Ilias Moschos.
Much older that its lower lying counterpart is Gornja Lastva, located 3 km uphill in Vrmac. Today almost deserted this old village is topped by a fine catholic church from the 15th century and troughly renewed in 1715, whose size tells of the prominence of the village at the time. In contrast to the unassuming exterior,its interior is much more baroque with the main altar made of coulorful marble from 1720 which previously stood at the Gospa od Škrpjela church. Its painting of the Nativity, to which the church is dedicated , is a work of Angelo Trevisani, a Venetian artist from the early 18th century.The rest of village is partially covered in lush vegetation. High above the village, at the top of a hill overlooking the small church of St Vid, built at the beginning of the 14th century. It enjoys views of Tivat and its bay on one side and Mt Lovćen on the other. To reach it takes the road above the church and then path to its left before the last houses in the village. If walking in nice weather be very cautions of snakes. The road climbing from Gornja Lastva will take you to the top of Vrmac, past its highest peak its highest peak Sveti Ilija (785 m) and then along the ridge of the mountain and down to the Kotor-Budva highway.
Back on the main road, which now follows the coastline closely, one reaches Lepetane from where the ferry crosses in a short ride to the other coast of the gulf to Kamenari village. Lined along the seaside, Lepetane was always famous for its seafarers. In the village there is a small catholic church of St Anthony with an 18th century painting of the Tiepolo school on its main altar. Behind Lepetane are famous Verige straits.
To the south of Tivat lies a group of three islands tailing one another. Closest to the land, and actually for centuries joined with it by small dyke, is Prevlaka, also known by its tourist name Ostrvo cvijeća (“Island of Flowers”).To reach it get off the highway to Budva, pass the gas station before the airport and then follow it to end. This small island (200 by 300m ) with a nice gravel beaches had a huge historical importance since the 9th century, when the Benedictine abbey dedicated to St Michael was built here. In 1219 the monastery become eastern-orthodox and the seat of the bishop of Zeta was located on it. Ehen in 1420 the island fell to the hands of Venetians the monastery had a difficult time and was barely tolerated by the catholic prelates. Soon afterwards the monks supported the rebellion by peasants of Grbalj against their masters in Kotor; the Venetians responded by poisoning the entire fraternity and rizing the monastery to the ground.
Today, the island looks seemingly unburdened by its legacy given that at the beginning of the 1980 s it was turned into a holiday resort for the Yugoslav army, with dozens a small cottages dispersed in greenery and flowers which served as to island’s trademark. The flowers are still here but a gayety of the resort is gone since for over decade the island houses no tourists but is home to Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia. The remains of a famous monastery are located at far end of the island. The work to restore it is on its way but for the time being one can only observe the foundations of this 21 m long three-nave basilica. Facing the ruins stands a small church built in 1833 by Countess Katarina Vlastelinović from Herceg Novi, who sold her property to by the island and donate it to the Orthodox Church. Second in line is and island that is known by many different names but it today mostly referred to as Sveti Marko (St Mark). The elongated island covered in thick wood was purchased in the 1980 s by the “Club Mediterraneo” and turned into an exclusive resort where its members spent their holidays in Polynesian-style wooden bungalows. Since the start of the war in Yugoslavia it saw no tourists but remains off limits to visitors.
The third one is known simply as Otok or Island and is home to a small Franciscan monastery. Originally dating from 15th century it was destroyed by lighting in 1844 and restored in 1901 by Bishop Frano Ućelini- Tice of Kotor. The island is off the tourist map.
Immediately to the south of Prevlaka is the Soliosko polje field that takes its name from salt flats (solilo) that used to operate here in the middle ages, making an object of many aspirations. Abandoned long ago, the salt-works are now a marshy field washed by the sea, in which many bird species found their home and which Has recently been promoted to a bird sanctuary.
Montenegro Hostel Team