Bay of Kotor

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The Bay of Kotor (Serbian/Montenegrin: Boka Kotorska) in southwestern Montenegro is a winding bay on the Adriatic Sea. The bay, once called Europe's southernmost fjord, is in fact a ria of the disintegrated Bokelj River which used to run from the high mountain plateaus of Mount Orjen. It is an important tourist attraction in Montenegro.

The Verige strait represents the narrowest section of the bay and is located between Cape St. Nedjelja and Cape Opatovo; it separates the inner bay east of the strait from the remainder and belongs to the Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor, a World Heritage Site. Montenegro is planning to build a bridge to span the strait, the so-called Verige Bridge.

The bay has been inhabited since antiquity and has some well preserved medieval towns. The picturesque towns of Kotor, Risan, Tivat, Perast, Prčanj, Herceg Novi, and Budva, along with their natural surroundings, are major tourist attractions.

The religious heritage of the land around the bay — its numerous Orthodox and Catholic Christian churches and monasteries — makes it one of the major pilgrimage sites of the region.

The bay is composed of several smaller broad bays, united by narrower channels, forming one of the finest natural harbours in Europe. The bay inlet was formerly a river system. Very intensive tectonics and karstification processes led to the disintegration of this river. After heavy rain the famous waterfall of Sopot spring at Risan appears, and Škurda, another well-known spring runs through a canyon from Lovćen.

The outermost part of the bay is the Bay of Tivat (Teodo) and a small naval port, currently being transformed into a state of the art super yacht marina, Porto Montenegro. On the seaward side, there is the Bay of Herceg Novi (Castelnuovo), which guards the main entrance to the Bay of Kotor. The inner bays are the Bay of Risan to the northwest and the Bay of Kotor to the southeast.

On the landward side, the long walls running from the fortified old town of Kotor to the castle of Saint John, far above, formed a striking feature in the landscape and the heights of the Krivošije (Krivoscie), a group of barren plateaus in Mount Orjen, were crowned by small forts.

There are many interesting places on the shores of the Bay of Kotor. Herceg Novi has an Orthodox convent of St. Sava near (Savina monastery) standing amid beautiful gardens. It was founded in the 16th century and contains many fine specimens of 17th century silversmiths' work. Eight miles (12.87 km) east of Herceg Novi, there is a Benedictine monastery on a small island opposite Perast (Perasto). Perast itself was for a time an independent state in the 14th century.
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