Last Wednesday I shared part of the day we spent in Montenegro on our cruise in November, but I saved our morning tour to Our Lady of the Rocks and Perast for today.
As you may remember our ship sailed past these two spots in the early morning hours on the way to our dock in Kotor.
Our Lady of the Rocks is that little island on the left and St. George island is on the right in the photo above, and here is Perast …
Shortly after our ship docked in Kotor, we disembarked and took a short walk to another dock to board the smaller boat that would take us to Our Lady of the Rocks.
As I mentioned last week, the water in the Bay of Kotor was as smooth as glass. As we were heading out, this beautiful sailing ship was heading in.
I believe this ship offers some sort of day excursion but I couldn’t find any info about it online.
Although it was a little chilly on the water, the sun came out and the scenery was amazing.
Our Lady of the Rocks is situated on a man-made artificial island. There is a legend that the islet was created over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding an icon of the Madonna and Child on a rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid another rock in the Bay. Over time, the island gradually emerged from the sea. Apparently the custom of throwing rocks into the sea is still alive. Every year at sunset on July 22, the local residents take their boats out and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island.
Initially a tiny orthodox chapel was built on the island, but in the 1600’s the Venetians took over this region and they replaced it with a Catholic chapel in 1630. However, the current church was built in 1722.
The church contains 68 works painted by Tripo Kokolja in the late 1600’s. According to Wikipedia, the paintings on the ceiling were badly restored by Josip Rossi in 1883. If you look closely, especially at some of the faces, I think you’ll agree.
There are more of Kokolja’s paintings all around the perimeter of the chapel.
Above the painting hangs a collection of over 2000 silver votive offerings.
These are thin sheets of silver embossed with a design, in this case mostly of ships, that were presented by sailors to give thanks for a safe journey at sea.
There is a natural island (not man made) near Our Lady of the Rocks called St. George island. It contains an abandoned monastery, but it was also used as a cemetery thus giving it the nickname ‘the island of the dead’.
I bet that would be a creepy place to visit at night, but I think I would have enjoyed seeing it by daylight. However, our tour did not stop there.
Instead we headed over to Perast.
We could have stayed with our group and toured the local museum, but we were ready to just wander around on our own. Passageways that look like this just call out to be explored!
We climbed up to the higher points in Perast to check out the view.
Then we headed back downhill and walked the length of Perast’s waterfront.
Along the way we encountered a local who was giving free samples of some Montenegrin pomegranate wine, and naturally after test tasting it we had to buy some. We still haven’t popped the cork on that bottle, I’m saving it for a lovely summer evening when we can enjoy it on the deck while fondly reminiscing about our day in Montenegro!