One of the must-see attractions when visiting Kotor is located at the Square of Boka Marine, in the Old Town. The Maritime Museum summarizes Kotor’s rich maritime history. It is one of the most comprehensive museums on the Adriatic coast, whose exhibits are displayed in the premises of the 18th century Baroque mansion of the prominent Grgurin family. The exhibits originated throughout the last millennium, and encompass items brought overseas to Kotor, created by Kotor’s celebrated craftsmen, weaponry throughout centuries, navigational maps, regional folklore, and more.
The ground floor – summarized history of Kotor
The ground floor of this distinguished museum introduces its visitors to the most significant historic personalities and some decisive moments of Kotor’s history, as well as with the origins of some heraldic symbols. The above relief, for example, symbolizes the unity of Kotor and the Venetian Republic, which governed the port city from the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century. The winged lion, which accompanies St. Tryphon (the patron saint of Kotor), can also be seen on various sections of the defensive walls of Old Kotor.
Historic events, such as the unsuccessful Turkish naval siege of the 16th century and devastating earthquakes, are represented by several bronze reliefs.
The first floor – drawing rooms, weaponry, coat of arms...
The central hall of the first level introduces us to the coat of arms of major houses of Boka Bay and various historical documents. Drawing rooms of a few illustrious families are also attached. The Ivelic family was related to the famous Russian poet Pushkin, while Marko Florio was a distinguished naval captain and contra-admiral of the Austrian Empire.
While the central hall additionally features models of various ships used for trade and battles against enemies, the biggest lure for tourists is an armory chamber, which showcases cold and fire weapons in use from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Although this impressive collection comprises exquisite examples decorated by Kotor’s celebrated craftsmen, most of your attention will, most certainly, be attracted by huge riffles that one cannot help but to wonder whether they were intended for sinking ships rather than on firing on humans.
In addition, on this floor, you can examine national costumes, various portraits and artistic objects brought here by various seafarers (a French clock, table services, etc.).
The second floor – sea instruments and more recent history
In the main hall of the second floor you can discover nautical instruments that facilitated sailing the open sea, and history of the region throughout the 19th century and during the world wars of the 20th century. Among the related portraits, the most significant is of Ivo Visin, who sailed around the globe with a sailboat under the Austrian flag, from 1852 to 1859. During the first such trip of the Austrian Empire, he and his crew of 11 people had to repel the pirate attacks and deal with defections of fellow sailors throughout the Pacific Islands.
Although no major naval battles were fought on the Adriatic Sea during either world war, heroic deeds weren’t lacking. The first is centred on the 1918 insurrection against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was crushed due to the presence of the significant Austro-Hungarian Imperial fleet in the vicinity and poor organization. The second concerns the sinking of the “Zagreb” destroyer when the Second World War reached these regions in 1941. Its officers had it destroyed in order to prevent it from being overtaken by the Italian occupiers. Lieutenants Spasic and Masera went down with their ship.
The full entry price of this comprehensive museum is 4 EUR (4.40 USD), and audio guides are available in several languages. Facilities for disabled visitors are also available. To make the most of your visit to the Maritime Museum of Kotor, you should allocate up to two hours, although a quick tour can be squeezed in in half an hour.
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