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Kotor (Municipality, Montenegro)


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Flag of Kotor - Image by Jens Pattke, 25 April 2010

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Presentation of Kotor

Kotor (Serbian/Montenegrin: Kotor/Котор; Latin: Acruvium; Greek: Ασκρηβιον, Askrêvion; Italian: Cattaro) is a coastal town in Montenegro. Located in a most secluded part of Gulf of Kotor, the town has a population of 13,510, and is the administrative center of the Kotor municipality.
First mentioned in 168 BC, the town was settled during Ancient Roman times, when it was known as Acruvium, Ascrivium, or Ascruvium and was part of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

Milan Jovanović, 30 October 2009

Flag of Kotor

The flag and arms of Kotor are prescribed in Decision Odluku o Izmjenama i Dopunama Statuta Opštine Kotor (Decision on the Amendments of the Statutes of the Municipality of Kotor"), adopted by the Municipal Council on 23 June 2009.
The previous Municipal Statutes (Statut Opštine Kotor) were adopted by the Municipal Council on 26 May 2004. The updated Statutes are not available online yet.

Article 1. The Statutes of the Municipality of Kotor (Official municipal gazette, 03/04) shall be amended with the addition of Article 5a. to Article 5.
The town of Kotor shall have a coat of arms and a flag.
The municipal coat of arms shall be used at three levels:
- Lesser arms
- Middle arms
- Greater arms.

The lesser arms are made of a triangular heraldic shield divided into three parts. The shield is horizontally divided in two parts, the upper part being divided vertically.
The division in three parts makes the shield balanced. Three artistic elements are placed on the shield, St. Tryphon, a tower and a lion.
The dexter canton, argent, is charged with a portrait of St. Tryphon standing on a green terrace. The saint is nimbed or, wears a white toga and a red cloak. He holds in his right hand a green palm and in his left hand a yellow scale model of the town of Kotor.
The sinister canton, gules, is charged with a stone tower argent standing on a green terrace. The tower ends with three merlons, its gate has a semi-circular vault and an oculus (circular hole) in its upper part.
The lower field, argent, is charged with a red fighting ("salient") lion.

The middle arms are a modified version of the lesser arms, surmounted with a golden mural crowns. The crown is made of three layers of stones surmounted by three merlons.

The greater arms keep the structure of the middle arms with added elements. The shield is supported by two standing golden lions and two branchs of laurel.
A golden scroll with a red reverse is placed under the shield, charged with the writing "COMMUNITAS CIVITATIS CATHARES" (the Latin name of the town, as a sign of respect for its past and antiquity).

The flag is bicolor, with a small emblem located in the middle.
The ratio of length to fly of the flag is 2 to 1.
The flag field is divided into two square panels in equal proportions, white at hoist and red at fly. Red recalls the main colour of the arms.
The geometric center of the flag is charged with the lesser arms placed on a medalion.

The adopted flag and arms follow the norms of heraldry and vexillology.

The use of the flag and arms shall be determined by a separate decision.

Article 2.
The present Decision shall come into force eight days after the publication in the Montenegro official gazette, section "Municipal regulations".

The document also includes a detailed text entitled "Rationale".
The text first recalls the legal background of the municipal symbols. Then it explains that the coat of arms is an ancient symbol of the old town, adopted by the modern town as a tribute to its past. The shape of the shield was kept for the historical continuity, being shown in several stone representations of the arms.

The colours, red, argent, gold and green, were traditionally used in the municipal and noble heraldry of Kotor, as shown by originals and replicas kept in the Kotor Municipal Archives, in the Maritime Museum of Montenegro and elsewhere.
Red, symbolizing courage, misericord, power, life and joy, has been used since the 11th century as the colour of the lion in the local heraldry.
Argent, symbolizing faith, purity, spirit and glory, was used as the colour of the main field of the shield in the traditional local heraldry. In St. Tryphon's iconography, his toga is white, symbolizing his youth and innocent pain when martyrized.
Gold, symbolizing honour and loyalty, represents the historical power and independence of Kotor, as well as its past and present heritage, registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Green, symbolizing hope and joy, represents the natural environment of the town.
The three field are uniform in size, so that none of them dominates the design, giving an equal importance to the past, present and future of the town.

St. Tryphon, the town's patron saint, is represented after his stone portrait appended to the main gate of the town. The iconographic elements and the colours are derived from ancient documents. The scale model of the town is gold, following the symbolism explained above.
The tower is the symbol of the complex system of fortifications that was one of the reasons for the registration of the town on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The white colour recalls the stones used to build the town and the fortifications, as well as the famous Kotor cliffs. Placed on a red field, the tower symbolizes the old town of Kotor. The lion, a common heraldic symbol, symbolizes courage and defence. It was traditionally used as an element or supporter of the arms of the town. On archived documents, the coat of arms is charged with a lion salient. The lions as the supporters complete the colour unit of the design, together with the scroll and the crown; their golden colour highlights the glorious history of the town.
Laurel is the symbol of glory and achievements in sports, music, arts and all other aspects of every day's life.
The Latin name of Kotor is used as a sign of respect for the past and antiquity of the town.

Red and white (argent in heraldry) are the traditional colours of Kotor; their importance and meaning are highlighted in the coat of arms. The medalion decorated with the lesser coat of arms increases the visual harmony and the solmenity of the flag.

There is a nice image of the flag on Wikipedia, credited to Srđan Marlović, the designer of the coat of arms - but the adoption date of the flag is given as 16 February 2009, which seems to be the adoption date of the coat of arms.

St. Tryphon, martyrized in the 3rd century during the Decian persecution, has been the patron saint of Kotor since the 9th century. He is celebrated on 3 February in a big pilgrimage, including a naval show and a procession. The St. Tryphon cathedral, built in Romanesque style on the site of an earlier church, was consecrated on 19 June 1166.

Aleksandar Nemet & Ivan Sache, 17 January 2010

The new graphical rendition of the arms goes back much further. The provided rationale is also very vague on the historical background, unfortunately - simply stating that the coat of arms is an "ancient symbol".

Laszowski in Grbovi Jugoslavije (1936), mentions that Kotor was known in the Roman times as Acruvium, then in the 7th century as Decadaron, then under the Byzantine rule as Cattarum. In 12th-13th centuries, the town was ruled by Serbian rulers, thne by the lords of Zeta (Central Montenegro), afterwards by Venice, Genoa, Croatian and Bosnian kings, since 15th century until 1797 under Venice, 1806-1817 Russian, in 1817 granted to Montenegro, but in the same year taken by Austria... Laszowski does not tell anything on the history of the arms, only referring to Lind's Staedtewappen, but he shows basically the same arms as Ströhl, except for the different artistic rendition and some deatils. St. Tryphon hasa short white tunic and a golden chain with medalion, red long cloak, bears a golden king's crown (with arches and cross at the top), holds a golden sceptre in his left hand and a green palm branch raised in his right, around the waist a sword is hanging on his side. The second field is blue (not red as today) with the white masoned tower on the green base. The tower is of much different design. The lower half has a much nicer heraldic lion than the simple one is in the current design - not much different from the design by D. Acović, used from ca. 2000 to 2009.

Ströhl's Staedtewappen von Österreich-Ungarn (1904) [stl04] shows again a similar design, here the saint is wearing a golden jacket and blue trousers, red cloak, had golden nimbus, hold green palm branch and what looks like enlighted torch. The second field is also blue and the twoer similar to Laszowski, only showing some 3D shading. The lion is also "baroquely" rich.
Ströhl mentions that the town was an authonomous republic for a long time (even when it recognized various other sovereigns mentioned above), among which he mentions Venice and Hungary. The date of inclusion in Austria he gives as 1814. The "current" coat of arms of the city he describes, naming the saint as Tryphonius (just for the record). The lower field he states to be the coat of arms of the Lordship of Cattaro (Herrschaft Cattaro), "Argent a lion gules". Ströhl also describes additional elements of the coat of arms - it is crowned with a king's crown filled with purpler from which a purple mantle is hanging trimmed with hermelin. From the crown an imperial double-eagle is issuing.
UnfortunatelyStröhl does not provide any date on when these arms were introduced.

According to Acović, the arms with the lion were created by the Doges of Venice and symbolise the Kingdom of Albania, as they imagined that Cattaro historically belonged to Albania. This is, I believe, a bit simplified explanation.

Regarding the flag, as far as I am aware, the historical flag was (allegedly) white with the arms (or with the saint only); the white-red flag was introduced only in 2009, I think.

Željko Heimer, 17 January 2010

VK Primorac (Water polo club)

[Flag of VK Primorac]         [Flag of VK Primorac]

Club flags of VK Primorac - Images by Ivan Sache, 14 March 2010

Vaterpolo Klub (VK) Primorac was founded in 1922 in Kotor. In 1986, the club won the Yugoslavian Championship and Cup. Since the independence of Montenegro, VK Primorac has been National Champion in 2007 and 2008 and has won the National Cup in 2009. The club won the Euroleague the same year.

The emblem of VK Primorac is a triangular pennant with a blue border, divided by a Y-shaped blue line. In the middle is placed a white disk charged with a red "P" and surrounded by a blue ring charged with the white writing "V.K. PRIMORAC" (top) "KOTOR" (bottom). A big yellow star placed along the hoist probably represents the Euroleague win; the three smaller stars and the two even smaller stars placed in the upper and left part of the flag probably represent the other national titles won by the club.
The full emblem does not seem to be used as a flag. The image galleries available on the club's website show a "simplified" flag hanging vertically in the club's swimming pool. This flag is white with a blue Y-shaped division not reaching the upper corners of the flag and, in the middle, a white ring surrounded by a blue ring and charged with a red "P". On several images, this flag hangs side by side with the municipal flag of Kotor (at least on the most recent images) and with a vertical flag, vertically divided white-blue with a yellow "V" in the middle.

[Flag of VK Primorac]         [Flag of VK Primorac]         [Flag of VK Primorac]

Supporters' flags of VK Primorac - Images by Ivan Sache, 14 March 2010

The club's supporters consistently use horizontally divided blue- white, horizontally divided white-blue, and quartered blue-white flags.

Ivan Sache, 14 March 2010

Bokeljska mornarica

Bokeljska mornarica (Bokelj Marine) is a brotherhood whose aim is to preserve the local maritime traditions. Its flag is white with the coat of arms of Kotor in the middle.

Aleksandar Nemet, 24 June 2009