Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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Integrated development of Kotor town, Yugoslavia

Kotor town, with a population of 25 000, lies on the Montenegrin coast in the southern Adriatic. It stands at the foot of the Lovcen massif, at the end of the deep, rugged Bay of Kotor. Kotor has all the features of a typical Mediterranean town: narrow sinuous streets, little picturesque shops, antique monuments and buildings. The main economic activity in Kotor, as in other Montenegrin coastal towns (with a 5-6 month swimming season, mean sea temperature above 18 C and 2700 hours of sun per year) is tourism and sailing; fishing, light industry and agriculture are also of some importance.

Historical background

Problems faced by Kotor and some solutions:

  1. Salt water intrusion as a result of fresh-water over-exploitation and leakage: rehabilitation and optimization of the water supply.
  2. Pollution in Kotor Bay: completion of a waste-water treatment plant.
  3. Sewage overflow during heavy rain in the old part of Kotor town: enlargement of the sewage system with underground retention tanks and non-structural flood control measures.
  4. Restoration of Kotor’s “old town”, the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral and the ramparts.
  5. The solid waste problem: Kotor is a pilot site in the Montenegrin Integrated Solid Waste Management Project. Solid waste is first separated into organic and non-organic waste; the organic fraction is then treated by WABIO - anaerobic digestion.
  6. Environmental awareness is being promoted by the development of a Youth Organization and an Ecological Agency. They will help to focus attention on sustainability and the development of environmentally sound sport
  7. Management of cultural heritage and community development: Kotor is a pilot project site for the south-east Adriatic municipality and is a test bed for other communities in the region with similar problems - Herceg Novi, Tivat, Budva and Bar I Ulcinj.

Kotor town would be pleased to share it’s experience in:

with other towns involved in this project.

Historical background

The medieval city of Kotor, bordered by fortress walls was, through the centuries, the cultural and trade center of Kotor bay. This bay is one of the most magnificent “fjords” on the Mediterranean and is flanked by an exceptionally rich variety of cultural monuments from all ages.

The bio-geographical conditions of the Kotor region favoured the emergence and development of a succession of civilizations and cultures. The earliest signs of civilization in this region are Neolithic artifacts found in the Spila cave; there are also cave paintings in the Lipici grotto. Burial mounds and the ruins of the town of Teuta are all that remain of the Illyrian civilization that flourished here in the 3rd century B. C. Next sailors and traders of the Hellenic age established a trading post. They were followed by the Romans who built a fort for one of their military units. From this period there remains a mosaic floor, of a 3rd century Roman villa, that depicts Hypnos the Roman God of sleep.

Naturally protected by a steep cliff from inland attack as well as by the sea, Kotor successfully survived the great barbarian migrations of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. From the time of Justinian I, it became one of the Byzantine strongholds on the Adriatic sea. The remains of an Episcopal basilica to St. Mary of the River discovered near the city gates illustrates the importance of Kotor in the 6th century.

At the end of the 12th century Kotor, as Serbia’s main port and economic and cultural centre, had a powerful influence on the development of education, the arts and crafts; a grammar school was established in the 13th century and a school of fine arts in the 14th century.

In this period between 12th and 14th centuries the Byzantine ramparts were reinforced and a great number of houses, palaces of the aristocracy and churches were constructed in the Romanesque and Romanesque-Gothic styles. The great St. Tryphon cathedral was built in the style of the Romanesque basilicas of southern Italy; it houses the town’s patron saint St.Tryphon. The domed, single-nave basilica of St.Luke was built and decorated with frescoes in 1195; the church of St. Mary of the River, with a dome and roof of stone slabs, was built in 1221; the little church of St. Anne’s dates from the same period as St. Paul’s church built in 1263.

From the 15th to the 18th century Kotor was ruled by Venice. With the rise of Turkish power in the Balkans Kotor was forced to adapt its old fortifications for defense against firearms.

Due to big earthquakes in the 16th and 17th centuries a great number of architecturally significant buildings were damaged. The remains were later incorporated into new Baroque style structures.

A strong earthquake in 1979 damaged many buildings in Kotor; it also provided an opportunity to examine the town’s architectural past and led to an investigation of its origins. As a result of the earthquake Kotor was added to the List of Endangered World Cultural Heritage Sites during a conference in Cairo, held in October 1979. Its dossier number in Paris is 125/79.

Kotor town has, among other things problems with: water supply; salt water intrusion; sewage; waste-water treatement and disposal; marine pollution; flood control in the old part of the town and solid waste treatement and disposal. These problems need to be tackled with the preservation of Kotor’s unique cultural heritage in mind.

  1. Salt water intrusion as a result of fresh-water over-exploitation and leakage: rehabilitation and optimization of the water supply.

Between 1915 and the late 1970s all the water sources in the Kotor region were captured, but the quantity of water is still insufficient. The existing water supply system of the Kotor municipality, with two water supply zones, covers about 90% of its 25 000 inhabitants, with a flow of 150 l/s.

The Kotor springs get brackish from time to time; some of them can only be considered as temporary resources to be used until the Regional Water Supply System of the Montenegrin Coast (RWSSMC) is complete. The Kotor water supply company transfers water from the RWSSMC to the urban distribution network in order to supply demand, maintain pressure and water quality and so maximize cost benefit rations.

A lot of work still needs to be done to rehabilitate and optimize the water supply system:

  1. Pollution in Kotor Bay: completion of a waste-water treatment plant.

The Boka Kotorska Bay is undoubtedly the region of the Montenegrin coast the most affected by pollution. Sewage discharge from three small towns Kotor (25 000 inhabitants), Herceg Novi (45 000 inhabitants), and Tivat (16 000 inhabitants) is concentrated in Boka Kotorska Bay. This alters the background level of organic matter and results in nutrient build up. Once the sewage systems for Kotor, Tivat and Herceg Novi are complete waste-water will be discharged through underwater outfalls in the open coastal area rather than in Boka Kotorska Bay. The “Kotor -Trašte” waste-water discharge macrosystem for the municipality of Kotor to the open sea is 80% complete. The Tivat- Trašte system is also not yet complete.

The strategy defined to manage waste water in Boka Kotorska Bay includes:

  1. Sewage overflow during heavy rain in the old part of Kotor town: enlargement of the sewage system with underground retention tanks and non-structural flood control measures.

In some parts of the old town an underground stream was disturbed by the construction of underground galleries. Now some parts of the old town are flooded by storm waters and a great number of cultural monuments are endangered.

The storage capacity of the sewage system must be enlarged to cope with storm water. In some parts of town it will be difficult, almost impossible, to replace existing sewage pipes with new ones of larger diameter.

Improvements being considered are:

Kotor town would be interested to hear of similar experiences.

  1. Restoration of Kotor’s “old town”, the 12th century St. Tryphon Cathedral and the ramparts.

After a strong earthquake in April 1979 damaged buildings were systematically salvaged and steps were taken to renew the affected zones. In total over 600 cultural monuments were damaged and 110 000 historic artifacts were endangered.

The importance of Kotor’s cultural heritage requires systematic research and conservation with appropriate technical support. All such actions are under the direction of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, with local and word wide help.

The complex operation of salvaging ruined buildings included the excavation and restoration of buildings that had been engulfed by newer structures. The final goal was the revitalization of houses, public buildings and open spaces and a general upgrading of technical and hygienic standards.

The ground floors of houses have been given new functions, being connected with open spaces. Some of the great buildings and palaces of this ancient city have been restored to public use. The Gothic Drago Palace now houses the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Baroque Grgurin Palace is a Naval Museum and the Venetian Military Hospital has become the home for the Cultural Centre.

St.Luka’s church (1195), a mixture of Romanesque and Byzantine architecture has been restored to it’s original appearance. Recent restoration of the church of St. Mary’s of the River (1221) revealed frescoes of great beauty; St.Ane’s church (13th century) has also been faithfully reconstructed.

Further restoration and conservation of Kotor’s “old town” will include:

  1. The solid waste problem: Kotor is a pilot site in the Montenegrin Integrated Solid Waste Management Project. Solid waste is first separated into organic and non-organic waste; the organic fraction is then treated by WABIO - anaerobic digestion.

The problem of solid waste disposal in the Kotor municipality may be solved by its participation in the project: Solid waste treatment and disposal in Montenegro by WABIO ECOTEC technology; one of the newest waste treatment systems in the world. The WABIO process is an anaerobic digestion treatment of organic solid waste and sludge. Before the WABIO process non-organic, solid waste must be separated out; glass, plastic, paper and metal are now routinely separated and at least in part recycled. To some extent this separation is done by householders themselves.

Kotor seeks experience in:

  1. Environmental awareness is being promoted by the development of a Youth Organization and an Ecological Agency. These will help to focus attention on sustainability and the development of environmentally sound sport.

It is important that environmentally sound development is integrated at every level in the life of Kotor town so that urban development is in harmony with the natural environment and a system of environmentally sound living is developed.

Implementation is to be started through education initially in schools but also in youth organizations (e.g. the ecological youth agency), women’s and other organizations and sports clubs for environmentally sound sports development.

At the moment the environmentally sound sports on offer in Kotor are swimming and water polo, but it is hoped that cycling, rowing, wind-surfing and para-gliding will be developed.

Associations involved in the project include:

  1. Management of cultural heritage and community development: Kotor is a pilot project site for the south-east Adriatic municipality and is a test bed for other communities in the region with similar problems - Herceg Novi, Tivat, Budva and Bar I Ulcinj.

As well as Kotor there are two other towns on Kotor Bay, Herceg Novi and Tivat. Thus it is impossible to treat Kotor as a separate community in the sense of waste-water disposal. Other towns on the Montenegrin coast also share Kotor’s problem of balancing urban development, water resource management and the preservation of a rich cultural heritage. Kotor’s experience as a pilot project site will serve as a guide for other towns on the Adriatic.

Svjetlana Lalic
Jovan Martinovic
Svetislav Vucenovic

For further information on Kotor town contact:

Svjetlana Lalic
J. P. Crnogorsko primorje
Trg sunca br.4
Budva 85310
Yugoslavia
crprimor@eunet.yu
Website:
www.kotor.com

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