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Ruins Behind City Walls

Kotor, Montenegro
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Climb through Kotor's wall to see ruins of an ancient village Kotor  Montenegro

Climb through Kotor's wall to see ruins of an ancient village

After climbing 1,352 stairs of the fortified walls of Kotor, we reach St. Ivan's fortress. However, our adventure was just beginning. On our descent we spot a sign directing us off the path. We took the diversion.

Looking through the window we saw a small abandoned church. We clambered through the window. Navigating around boulders we followed a path. There's not just a church here, but the ruins of an entire 16th century village called Spiljari.

The door to the church looks more like a gate, but it was open. Walking in, we were astounded by the vivid colors of the frescoes that decorate the interior. Two altars still stand. A mysterious atmosphere brings goosebumps even on a warm day. The history of this tumultuous region is starkly evident here. We hear only birds and the bees that swarm this area making excellent honey.

We explore the ruins that extend from the church, nestled into a tiny valley on this namesake Black Mountain. We saw another sign. This one says: "Homemade Fresh Goat Cheese, Smoked Ham, Scotch, and Rakia" (a local liquor 80 meters up.

The goat cheese is the best I've had. The view from their terrace sublime.

We returned to Kotor on the switchbacked trail from their house. It's how the locals go, lined with pomegranate trees and goats. Emerging outside the city gates, we had a view of both trails and a story to tell!