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Destination Details

Risan, Montenegro

Risan

While summer holidaymakers still head to its small beaches,  Risan has a rundown feel, not helped by the port and large hotel hogging its sea frontage.

You wouldn't think to look at it, but this is the oldest town on the bay, dating to at least the 3rd century BC when it was a fortified Illyrian town. Their queen Teuta is said to have retreated here during the Roman invasion and made it her capital. When the Romans inevitably took over, they erected sumptuous seaside mansions, one of which is now Risan’s main claim to fame.


In 1930 the foundations of a grand villa were discovered, complete with wonderful mosaics. A shelter has been erected over the site to protect it from the elements, and English-speaking staff are at hand to explain the building’s layout. The dining-room floor is decorated with flowers, herbs, grapevines and squid, while other rooms have intricate geometric patterns. Best of all is the bedroom which features a wonderful depiction of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, reclining on a pillow.


After checking out the mosaics it’s worth a short stroll through the leafy park, which hides the elegant Orthodox Church of Sts Peter and Paul, dating from 1796, and on to the central square, Trg 21 Novembra. Leading up the hill from here is Gabela, an atmospheric lane with interesting patterned cobbling dating from the Ottoman occupation.

 

 

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