It is believed that the city was named after the Illyrian tribe Pirusti, which inhabited the area of Perast in the 3rd century. At that time, the Bay of Kotor was ruled by the Illyrian Queen Teuta. She ruled from neighboring town Risan (located 3 kilometers from Perast).
Teuta was defeated by the Romans, who then settled in Perast. The Romans occupied the rest of the Adriatic coast as well. Although in 1336 the citizens built a shipyard in Perast, it still remained only a fishing village.
The progress in trade was rather slow, perhaps due to the proximity of Kotor that was already an important trading city. Only in the 15th century, with the arrival of the Venitians, Perast finally gained the status of an important center.
Perast was under the rule of the powerful Venetian Republic for almost 3 centuries. More specifically, from 1482 until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, Venice provided protection for Perast and Boka Kotorska, and skilled Boksian sailors sailed under the Venetian flag for almost 300 years and defended Boka against frequent attacks by Ottoman pirates. Venice's long presence in Boka has definitely left a mark, so the Italian language is still very present. Old Italian words can be heard in daily conversations among the locals and it is interesting that the people from the rest of Montenegro (North, Central) sometimes do not understand what the locals are talking about. For example: Che nova? (in Italian would be che c'e di nuovo?) which means What's up?.
In the 15th century, the first naval school in the Balkans was opened in Perast, where a great captain, Marko Martionovic, was one of the first professors. The coast of Perast is only 1,400 meters long and is named after Captain Marko Martinovic. All the money that Perastian sailors would bring home after a long sailor career was invested in the construction of houses, palaces, churches, that is, in their own city.
Perast is not like Kotor, surrounded by strong ramparts, so it was always much harder to defend the city when Turkish attacks took place. The city was always forced to build defensive towers and fortresses in order to guard and observe the city. On the hill above the town, there is a Holy Cross Fortress, which served as a defensive fortress. Across the city, there is a narrow passage, Verige Strait, where clever Perastians would line up the chains from one side to the other, slowing the entry of enemy ships into Boka.
Verige is a local word meaning: chains.
Urban Perast arose from 12 family fraternities.
KAZADE, the first noble familie, was an integral part of the Peras community, whose chiefs would be elected into the city council every few years. Each Kazada had a flagman and Perast bore a title of Saint Mark's flag guard (the symbol of the Venetian Republic).
Families from Perast would celebrate their every victory over the Turks by building a new church, bell tower or a palace. And so the artificial island was created in front of the city, called Our Lady of the Rocks, after the victory over the Ottoman pirates.
Thanks to Venice, the fleet of Perast evolved in both trade and combat, and the Perastians were considered good seamen, merchants and warriors. This is why they had a privilege to keep the war flag of the admiral ship of the Republic of Venice. The flag is exhibited in the museum of the city of Perast.
Each Perast palace, above the main entrance, has the coat of arms of the family to which it belonged. Not everyone was able to get the permission from the Venetian Doge at the time, to have a family coat of arms on a palace. Only the most famous and deserving citizens had this honor - captains, admirals or professors.
Perast is also the only city in Boka that had a duty-free trade with Venice. This is why the city was rapidly expanding, growing, building and enriching at that time.
The 18th century is considered the golden age of Perast, when 20 magnificent baroque palaces, 17 catholic and 2 orthodox churches were built.
On May 12 in 1797, Venice was handed over to Napoleon. This meant the fall of the powerful Venetian Republic. After this event, Perast held the Venetian flag for the next several months, which was later surrendered, and this is when the definite fall of this glorious city began. From then on, Perast passed into the hands of various invaders (Austria, Italy, France, Austro-Hungarian Empire). In 1918, the city became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In 1941, It was a part of the Italian province of Kataro. In 1944, Perast gained independence in the SFRY and in the Montenegrin Republic, and in 2006 the city became a part of the independent state of Montenegro.
Perast was basically not much affected by various occupations. Even today, its stone palaces show the former glory of Perast. The Venetian republic is gone and noble families are extinct, leaving behind obvious glitter, and only the glorious feats of the seamen of Perast remain forever.
Perast is home to some of the most beautiful palaces along the Adriatic coast. This is the city of steep stone streets, flower giards, the city of churchs, the city of closed jalouisies, tncredible islands of St. George and Our Lady of the Rocks, the city of legends, seafaring and glorious captains. Least, but not last, Perast is home of the famous Peras Cake. This old baroque city has attracted many writers, poets, actors and painters with his charm. Intoxicated, they become in love with this little miracle located on the Adriatic shore.
Risan is the oldest settlement in Boka Kotorska. It is located at the northern point of the bay. Risan is an ideal place for holidays for young people, but also for families with children, because this village is never crowded even during the summer season. The most important tourist attractions in Risan are Roman mosaics from the third century BC, Monastery Banja, the church of St. George and the church of St. Peter and Paul. On the hill Gradina above Risan, there are the remains of the old Illyrian castle.
Boka Kotorska or simply Boka (in Italian Bocce di Cattaro) is the largest bay of the Adriatic Sea. It consists of four bays: The Bay of Herceg Novi, Tivat Bay, Risan Bay and Kotor Bay. The length of Bokakotorska Bay is 116 kilometers. The maximum depth of the bay is 60 meters. Boka Kotorska is the only fjord in the Mediterranean, surrounded by high mountains Orjen and Lovcen. There are countless small fishing villages and 3 major cities in the bay: Herceg Novi, Tivat and Kotor, as well as 7 islands: Mamula, Our Lady of Mercy, Vedvedje, Saint George, Our Lady of the Rocks and the Island of Flowers. There are also two peninsulas here: Luštica and Vrmac.
Kotor is a medieval old town known as Montenegrin Venice. Kotor is one of the best preserved old towns and is located in one of the 25 most beautiful bays in the world. The town is 13 centuries old, but on the site of present-day Kotor, people settled much earlier. Surrounded by grandiose walls, intertwined with old cobbled streets where tourists gladly "get lost", it is a favorite port for big cruisers and tourists from all over the world. Kotor is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.