1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cattaro

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CATTARO (Serbo-Croatian Kotor), the chief town of an administrative district in Dalmatia, Austria. Pop. (1900) of town, 3021; of commune, 5418. Cattaro occupies a narrow ledge between the Montenegrin Mountains and the Bocche di Cattaro, a winding and beautiful inlet of the Adriatic Sea. This inlet expands into five broad gulfs, united by narrower channels, and forms one of the finest natural harbours in Europe. Teodo, on the outermost gulf, is a small naval port. Cattaro is strongly fortified, and about 3000 troops are stationed in its neighbourhood. On the seaward side, the defensive works include Castelnuovo (Erceg Novi), which guards the main entrance to the Bocche. On the landward side, the long walls running from the town to the castle of San Giovanni, far above, form a striking feature in the landscape; and the heights of the Krivoscie or Crevoscia (Krivošije), a group of barren mountains between Montenegro, Herzegovina and the sea, are crowned by small forts. Cattaro is divided almost equally between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox creeds. It is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop, with a small cathedral, a collegiate church and several convents. The transit trade with Montenegro is impeded by high tariffs on both sides of the frontier. Foreign visitors to Montenegro usually land at Cattaro, which is connected by steamer with Trieste and by road with Cettigne. The railway from Ragusa terminates at Zelenika, near Castelnuovo.

There are many interesting places on the shores of the Bocche. Castelnuovo is a picturesque town, with a dismantled 14th-century citadel, which has, at various times, been occupied by Bosnians, Turks, Venetians, Spaniards, Russians, French, English and Austrians. The orthodox convent of St Sava, standing amid beautiful gardens, was founded in the 16th century, and contains many fine specimens of 17th-century silversmiths’ work. There is a Benedictine monastery on a small island opposite to Perasto (Perast), 8 m. east of Castelnuovo. Perasto itself was for a time an independent state in the 14th century. Rhizon, the modern hamlet of Risano, close by, was a thriving “Illyrian” city as early as 229 B.C., and gave its name to the Bocche, then known as Rhizonicus Sinus. Rhizon submitted to Rome in 168 B.C., and about the same time Ascrivium, or Ascruvium, the modern Cattaro, is first mentioned as a neighbouring city. Justinian built a fortress above Ascrivium in A.D. 535, after expelling the Goths, and a second town probably grew up on the heights round it, for Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in the 10th century, alludes to “Lower Cattaro” τὸ κάτω Δεκάτερα. The city was plundered by the Saracens in 840, and by the Bulgarians in 1102. In the next year it was ceded to Servia by the Bulgarian tsar Samuel, but revolted, in alliance with Ragusa, and only submitted in 1184, as a protected state, preserving intact its republican institutions, and its right to conclude treaties and engage in war. It was already an episcopal see, and, in the 13th century, Dominican and Franciscan monasteries were established to check the spread of Bogomilism. In the 14th century the commerce of Cattaro rivalled that of Ragusa, and provoked the jealousy of Venice. The downfall of Servia in 1389 left the city without a guardian, and, after being seized and abandoned by Venice and Hungary in turn, it passed under Venetian rule in 1420. It was besieged by the Turks in 1538 and 1657, visited by plague in 1572, and nearly destroyed by earthquakes in 1563 and 1667. By the treaty of Campo-Formio in 1797 it passed to Austria; but in 1805, by the treaty of Pressburg, it was assigned to Italy, and was united in 1810 with the French empire. In 1814 it was restored to Austria by the congress of Vienna. The attempt to enforce compulsory military service, made and abandoned in 1869, but finally successful in 1881, led to two short-lived revolts among the Krivoscians, during which Cattaro was the Austrian headquarters.

See G. Gelcich (Gelčić), Memorie storiche sulle Bocche di Cattaro (Zara, 1880).