Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks is one of two charming islets in the bay of Kotor, standing proudly opposite the old town Perast. The islet is man-made and houses a Roman Catholic Church (bearing the same name as the island), a museum that’s attached to it, as well as a small souvenir shop that’s close to the navigation light. The islet Our Lady of the Rocks is considered one of the main attractions in Kotor Bay due to its legends surrounding its very origins.
Little by little
Before the islet came to be, there was once only a crag amidst the sea. On the 22nd of July 1452 two local fishermen, the Morsic brothers, came across the rock and discovered an item on it – an icon of the Holy Mother Mary. After taking it back home, the brothers soon discovered that the icon vanished. As soon as they voyaged the sea again, they rediscovered the icon at the same spot where they had found it initially.
Witnessing this marvel, the miracle didn’t take long to spread and so they decided to honor the Holy Mother and build a church on that same spot. However, the tiny “estate” was in no way suitable for designing such a blueprint, so they vowed to throw rocks around that crag after each journey, to form an artificial island. Little by little, with one local sailor after the other paying homage for a safe journey, an islet emerged from the sea.
The tradition of throwing rocks in the sea is alive even today, where on July 22nd locals approach the area at sunset with their boats to throw rocks, thus widening the surface furthermore.
A collection of art and history
Originally, it was constructed as an Orthodox church, but was later renovated by Venetians and turned into a Roman Catholic church. Inside the chapel, visitors can check out the many artefacts at display: over 60 paintings by Tripo Kokolja - a local baroque artist from the 17th century, more art pieces from Italian maestros, the icon of Our Lady of the Rocks, countless votive tables, votive tapestry, and much more.
There’s also the rich-in-detail altar, made of Carrera marble, sculpted by famous Genovese artist Antonio Capelano. It is said that by putting your hand on the Madonna rock that’s behind the altar, the Holy Mother will grant you a wish.
Our Lady of the Rocks has a courtyard that’s known throughout time as “Place of Reconciliation”, where local quarrels had been sorted out, blood feuds pacified and brought to an end, and for various other gatherings.