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News 23 Aug 14

Kotor Night Festival Draws Crowds to Montenegro

The ancient Adriatic town of Kotor will be celebrating this Saturday with with fireworks, parties and its traditional parade of decorated boats and barges.

Dusica Tomovic

Tens of thousands tourists will be descending on the historic town of Kotor in the Boka Bay this Saturday to watch the parade of boats and barges celebrating "Boka night" ("Bokeska noc"), perhaps the most famous summer event in Montenegro.

The highlight is the parade of boats, many of which have been lavishly decorated for weeks. The boats cruise along the harbour in a line. While the decorated barges move along, one behind the other, songs, dances and other fun events take place on the town squares.

At the end of the night, the best decorated barge is awarded and the festive night ends with a display of fireworks.

The water-based festival in Kotor dates back to the 19th century, or longer. A central role belongs to the so-called "Boka Navy", a folklore dance troupe whose roots go back to the town's medieval seafaring and defence traditions.

Petar Pejakovic, director of Tourist Organization of Kotor and the Cultural Center "Nikola Djurkovic", said this year's ball on the water will be worth seeing.

"Everything is bigger this year. We will have the most diverse creations on around 60 vessels, mostly the work of people from the bay," he said.

"They have been decorating their boats for more than a month. This year's spectacle on the water will be special, "Pejakovic added.

Boka Nights have attracted glamourous foreign visitors in the past. In 1938, Britain's King Edward VIII, then holidaying on the Adriatic with his American mistress Wallis Simpson, came to watch.

In 1959, not one but two Boka Nights were organized - one in August and a second in September, which was put on specially for Yugoslavia's Communist President, Josip Tito. The whole fleet of the Yugoslav Navy took part on that occasion.

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