Kotor Ship Museum

From my book on The Balkans

If you are in Kotor and love model galleons, ship paraphernalia, and examples of the material benefits of trade then this is the place for you.

Models of galleons, xebecs, tartanes, and container ships such as the MV Pomorac, built in Sunderland by Austin & Pickersgill, fill some rooms. Paintings of Montenegrin sea captains with individually distinctive beards adorn some walls. There are some fine individual discoveries. There is a painting of Captain Ivo Visin, who was the first Slav to circumnavigate the globe between 1852 and 1859. He did so in the brig Splendido. There was a commemoration by the city of Erie to Captain Nicholi Zec, awarding him an honorary citizenship of Erie, for his contribution to the advancement of foreign trade at the port of Erie. There are the steps to one of the local sailor’s dances and a gilt medal awarded to Tito in 1973, when he was awarded an honorary admiral rank in the local navy, called the Boka Navy.

There’s a room full of items brought back from overseas by local sea captains, such as china from Cardiff, vases from Shanghai, and a monstrous French clock, surmounted by a Tartar horseman. There’s also a room full of armaments, mainly rifles and long, sharp-looking knives.

What is also interesting are the visitors to the museum: some faithfully stop at each of the appointed places and press the right number for that place into their hand-held guides; others march into a room, look at one piece, and then exit the room, without casting a glance at anything else; yet others photograph each of the multi-language explanation cards with their digital camera and then take another image of the piece the card refers to.

One of the books on display has the following snappy title:

The Chronometers Companion or A Compendium of Nautical Astronomy comprising Methods For Finding The Latitude By Meridian Altitudes By Reduction To The Meridian And By The changes of the Sun’s Altitude in one Minute of time; Together With The Method Of Finding The Time By The Sun And Stars And The Longitude By Chronometer And By The Sun’s Depression Below The Horizon

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