Sveti Stefan / Saint Stephan Island

Posted 15-Feb-2020 by Filip Čađenović

Somewhere in the middle of Budva Riviera, connected with the main land with short passage, stands the old fortified island from 15th century, full of beautiful stone houses with red roofs.

This island today is part of Aman Resorts, Hotels & Residences and it represents one of the most “luxurious villages” in the world, and it hosts most influential figures from all spheres of life. Unfortunately, because of that, now it can only be visited with a special permission.

But let’s leave that aside and let’s talk a little bit about the history of the island and how it came to be.

It is assumed that Sveti Stefan was built and fortified in the fifteenth century, and according to the legend, it is said that it was built from the treasure seized from the Ottomans. During the Ottoman siege of the city of Kotor, Pastrovici (local tribe which inhabited lands around the island), decided to gather approximately 1,000 men and to respond to a call for help from Kotor. Town of Kotor was always on the “must have” list for the Ottomans, because of its wealth J. On their return to Pastrovici, near the Jaz beach, they saw Ottoman galleys and decided to attack once again. This attack was a success and they came home as wealthy man. They decided that each of twelve families of the tribe should build a house on the island Sveti Stefan, where already existed a small church dedicated to Sveti Stefan (St. Stephan) - patron of Nemanjic family that because of his life was after his death declared saint. From there on, town became a center of gathering for Pastrovic tribe, more houses were built, all decisions considering tribe were made here and all disputes were settled on the island.

During Venetian period this small island flourished, but at the end 19th century its influence started to drop, making the people leave island. This displacement of the locals lasted until 1950’s, when for the first time island was turned into hotel complex.

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