Without a doubt, the small town of Perast, located beneath the hill of St. Ilija (873m), is one of the greatest attractions in the Bay of Kotor and an outstanding spot on the Montenegro map in general. Walking along its streets you will notice many samples of Venetian architecture, passed on from the era when the area was part of the Republic of Venice. This priceless inheritance includes 16 Baroque palaces, 17 Catholic churches, several orthodox buildings of great historical and artistic value and 9 defence towers. One of these architectural masterpieces, Bujovic Palace, dating back to the 18th century, is nowadays home to the Perast Museum.
It is no wonder that this pearl of the Mediterranean is considered the part of Montenegro with the best-preserved baroque architecture.
Taking into account the magnetism of Perast, it is understandable that in the past the Venetian aristocracy frequently visited the town for centuries, as the Bay of Kotor was a perfect place for them to perfect their navigation skills.
Perast itself is a must-see location, but there are also two beautiful islands in front of this peaceful town in Montenegro. One of them, Sveti Dorde (St. George), stands out for the Saint George Benedictine monastery, dating back to the 12th century including a cemetery where graves of the former nobility of Perast can be found.
The other island is Gospa od Škrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks), an island with an area of 3,030 m². This island is probably one of the most unusual places in Montenegro as it is artificial and was built by old ships depositing stones around a small crag. The name of the island derived from the word skrpjel – an old word for rock. Nowadays, to commemorate its origins, Gospa od Škrpjela celebrates an event called fašinada, every year on the 22nd of July. During the celebration, local residents throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island.
The most important attraction on the island however, is the Sanctuary of Our Lady on The Rock. Although founded in 1452 (it is said that two sailors saw an image of the Virgin Mary on a rock emerging from the water), the current baroque style building dates back to 1632, and was extended in 1722. Inside, the sanctuary is decorated with 68 oil paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a local artist of that time. It can also boast of an icon dating back to the 15th century and more than 2,500 panels in gold and silver tones.
Therefore, it is no wonder that UNESCO declared the natural, cultural and historical region of Kotor a World Heritage Site in 1979.
In addition, since the distances are so short, tourists visiting this part of Montenegro are always welcome to take a trip to the neighbouring town of Kotor or to Dubrovnik, one of the main tourist destinations in Croatia. Dubrovnik will impress you with its incredible fortified architecture; the old town of this city on the Dalmatian coast was declared a World Heritage Site in 1979 and again in 1994. And why not visit Sveti Stefan, one of the best beaches in Montenegro which is located not too far from there.
So, you must visit Perast, one of the pearls of Montenegro that has something to offer everyone.