Sveti Ivan Fortress (St. John Fortress)

They were there before Romans and Greeks: first fortifications were built on almost vertical cliffs above Kotor during Illyrian times. The current walls go back to 15th century when Venetians updated Kotor’s defenses. The fortress is named after the mountain: the Fortress of Sveti Ivan, or St John.

Sveti Ivan Fortress

St. John Mountain Fortifications

1350 steps up and you will be rewarded with amazing views of Boka Kotor (the Bay of Kotor) and the town below. This path is not for faint hearted – medieval steps do not care whether you can conquer them or collapse mid-way. You can definitely skip a visit to the gym on the day you decided to visit St. John Fortress.

Path to the fortressSveti Ivan Fortress (St. John Fortress)Remnants of the past gloryLooking at the mountain behind the fortressThis is Kotor down belowAt the topView of Kotor from the top of the fortressMenacing cloudsKotor from aboveAnother view of KotorThe Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska)St. John Mountain

Practical advice:

  • If you can not remember when you visited a gym last time, you may want to think twice about going there.
  • Wear comfortable sneakers and take a bottle of water (or two) with you. There are couple guys selling water half way up, but do not count on them entirely.
  • Summer sun is brutal, so do not forget sunscreen or go earlier in the morning or later in the day.
  • On a rainy day, steps becoming slippery as ice.
  • Beware of frequently changing weather. While we were climbing up and down, we encountered rain, thunder, bright sunshine and strong wind – all in the period of a couple hours.
  • Admission is 3EUR per person 8:00-20:00. Technically, you can climb for free outside these hours. Be careful though: you definitely do not want to find yourself in the middle of ascent/descent in the dark.

Read more about the fortifications of Kotor here.

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