During the last few years, I have visited many towns and villages in Montenegro making thousands of photos, but I am convinced that the old town of Kotor is one of the most attractive places for those photographers who like to make shoots of hidden corners, picturesque details and funny scenes.
Avoid visiting Kotor in high season, when the old town is flooded with foreign tourists pushing each other across the narrow streets and squares. Kotor is most beautiful in spring and autumn, when you can quietly explore the nooks and crannies in the labyrinth of alleys.
What makes the town so special for photographers? I will mention some of the topics I like most:
- Local people
Wandering around the old town, you can search for a perfect people-watching spot (just take a seat on one of the picturesque terraces!). You will see old ladies doing the groceries, pensioners catching up on the latest gossip or physical workers pushing heavy carts through the winding streets.
The farmer’s market offers great photo opportunities. Women from the nearby mountain villages, often dressed in black, come here to sell their vegetables, local cheeses and medicinal herbs. Buy some wild vegetables and take your time for a photo shoot!
Upon entering the cobbled streets, you will notice that there are cats on every corner – sleeping, walking, eating … some of them are purring on the laps of tourists, who like caressing them. Other ones seem to be posing for a photo. They all look healthy, with a shiny fur, and well-fed. What a photo motive!
Why are cats so special in Kotor? Historically, these cats are the descendants of the cats that used to sail with the famous sailors of Kotor, who would bring them back from their overseas journeys to protect the city from mice, rats and snakes. Through the centuries, cats have become a part of daily life in Kotor, acting as a symbol of luck for the whole town. There is even a small museum dedicated to these furry felines…
- Doors and windows
Kotor was built as a fortress, with narrow streets and alleyways, dotted with asymmetrical squares. Shops, apartments, restaurants and ruined buildings of different heights just run into each other, creating nooks and crannies. While exploring, you’ll find dozens of interesting corners that offer a nice photo opportunity.
Take your time, watch all the details: windows, doors, shutters, stone reliefs, family crests or just openings in crumbled walls. The earthquake in 1979 has destroyed many buildings. Although most of them were rebuilt, some parts have been left to decay. That is the reason why Kotor doesn’t look like a “tourist showpiece” (like Budva, for instance). It is clear that Kotor is a living town, not a movie set!
- Laundry drying on clothlines
Where do the Kotor women dry their clothes? That’s right, outside on clothlines hanging from the windows. On a sunny day, you can see such clothlines in each alley, on lots of windows. For creative photographers, such scenes make a beautiful picture!
- Alleys and backyards
The old town is an amazing place to wander around and get lost. And it is quite probable that you will get lost. The town was designed this way by the Venetians: enemies who entered the city would get lost in its maze, so the locals could easily attack them.
Alleys are narrow in Kotor. There is even a street named “Let me pass” (Pusti me proć), in which you can hardly pass a person coming from the opposite side, as it is only 80 cm wide. Streets, gates, alleyways, squares – they all offer different perspectives and your pictures will perfectly showcase the Mediterranean atmosphere of this amazing town.
Most tourists make photos of historical buildings, fortresses and churches. Kotor’s panorama shots made from the city walls are published in all tourist brochures. You can make the difference with original photographs that show the rustic beauty of Kotor’s old town!