Discover a local legend: Montenegro’s Our Lady Of The Rocks

  • By Luštica Bay
  • 30 Nov, 2015

Winter continues to knock at Montenegro’s door; its imminent arrival is now in evidence, in fact, by the increasingly snow-covered mountains.

But while the season-change means that the beaches are now deserted, Montenegro’s waters are not. Some of the country’s most beautiful locations remain the many lakes and waterways that connect the splendid village-filled verdant mountains all around. One particular Montenegrin highlight, Our Lady of the Rocks, popular with both tourists and locals, is one of the ways in which one can tell that this beautiful country’s waters are still just as appealing to visit in fabulous sunshine, as they are on a blustery November day.

The islet, which sits off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor, is where you’ll find the Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, arguably one of Montenegro’s most recognisable icons and beautiful highlights.

But what is its significance exactly? The legend behind Our Lady of the Rocks began when seamen found a picture of the Madonna and Child on the rock on which the islet is situated, back in July 1452. The sailors, thinking the spot was consequently divine, subsequently made an oath to lay a rock in the bay upon returning from each successful voyage. As time passed, the islet grew and emerged further from the sea. The customs from this story are still very much alive today. Each year on the 22nd July, local residents and tourists join together to celebrate the festival of Fašinada. Not just that, but every time any sort of vessel steers around it, from small summer speedboat, to a huge cruise liner, a loud horn is sounded in honour of Our Lady of the Rocks.

Today, the Catholic church on site houses a collection of sixty-eight paintings by the famous 17th-century Baroque artist Tripo Kokolja, including his most famous and important painting, ‘The Death of the Virgin’.

The church also houses a famous votive tapestry embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast. Kunić-Mijović took twenty-five years to finish the tapestry while waiting for her love to return from a long journey, in which time she eventually becoming blind. Bar the tragic love story weaved within it, as well as the use of gold and silver thread, what makes this tapestry quite so special, is the fact that she also embroidered her own hair into it.

You can discover this captivating islet and its history for yourself by hopping onto one of the charming local small boats that act as a transfer service from Perast and other launch points around the bay. Just remember to share your adventures with us on  Twitter  and  Instagram .
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