Apadted from Sto kotorskih dragulja by Jovan J. Martinović
The Sea Gate
For centuries Kotor was accessed from the west only by boat. There was no road in front of the town walls, because the port – Marina – was located there.
The main town gate was accessed only by sea. As can be seen from the picture, there was a loggia in front of the gate. Later it was destroyed in subsequent earthquakes.
However, there was a gate to the port, dating back to the XIII – XIV century. In that period, the walls of Kotor were erected around the town center and the hill of San Giovanni. The original Sea Gate was discovered during archeological excavations. The older gate was originally built into the rampart itself, without any decoration or inscription. However it had a massive frame and Gothic arch. Its threshold was at a greater depth, which means that it was damaged together with a part of the western rampart , and sank due to a strong earthquake, most likely in 1537. The current gate was made about 30 meters north.
The Sea Gate in 1901
The original threshold of the current gate is 70 cm below the level of the current pavement. This means that for the past 440 years since its construction, the surrounding terrain had to be filled in, for several reasons: the soil was lowered due to the constant immersion of the coast by about 1 mm per year, liquefaction – constant leaching of the soil due to tides and subterranean streams, and subsidence in numerous earthquakes in the past.
It wasn’t until 1897 that the gate retained its original appearance. At that time, Austria, respecting the previous decorative signs of the Venetian government, placed a decorative composition in the form of gables above the original Renaissance-Baroque ensemble of the Sea Gate. In the middle was a rich pseudo-baroque frame with the Austrian state coat of arms – a double-headed eagle with an imperial crown and scepter. The frame was supported on the side by two griffins, mythological monsters with a lion’s body and eagle heads and wings.