The Bay of Kotor, known simply as Boka (“the Bay”), is a winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro. The Bay of Kotor consists of four smaller gulfs – Gulf of Herceg Novi, gulf of Tivat, Gulf of Risan, and Gulf of Kotor.
The gulfs of Herceg Novi and Tivat are connected via the Kumbor strait, while the extremely narrow Verige strait connects the Gulf of Tivat with the gulfs of Risan and Kotor. The total area equals 88 square kilometers. The Gulf of Herceq Novi empties into the Adriatic Sea.
Due to its unusual look, the bay is often called Europe’s southernmost fjord, but in fact, it’s a submerged river canyon.
The territory surrounding the bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) is divided into 3 municipalities: Kotor, Herceg Novi, and Tivat. It’s a multiethnic region, with a Serbian majority in the municipalities of Herceg Novi and Tivat, a Montenegrin majority in Kotor, and a sizeable Croatian minority in Kotor and Tivat.
The Boka region has a long naval tradition and has harbored a strong naval fleet since the Middle Ages. The fleet peaked at 300 ships in the 18th century, when Boka was a rival to Dubrovnik and Venice.
Today Boka has about 100 Catholic churches and chapels and about 200 Orthodox churches and chapels, as well as some Orthodox monasteries. The Cathedral of St. Trifun in Kotor is Boka’s oldest cathedral, built in 1166.
History of Bay of Kotor
At the beginning of the 19th century, the region around the Bay was included in the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy and later in the Illyrian provinces, which were a part of the French Empire. In 1815, the bay was annexed by the Austrian Empire and was included in the province of Dalmatia.
The bay was a municipality of Dalmatia until it was re-organized into smaller districts in 1922. It was incorporated into the Zeta Area and from 1939 Zeta Banate.
According to the 1910 census, the Bay of Kotor had 40,582 inhabitants, of whom 24,794 were Orthodox Christians and 14,523 Catholics.