Beyond the Wall – Church Ruins near Kotor, Montenegro

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Ancient church ruins languish in the mountain landscape, just outside of Kotor's St' John's Fortress, in Montenegro.

In the famous town of Kotor, Montenegro, visitors may opt to take a grueling hike up the imposing city walls. These walls ascend straight up the steep Dinaric Alps, ending at the St John's Fortress which overlooks Kotor. The vantage from the top offers stunning views of Kotor Bay, and for that reason the climb is a very popular – and crowded – activity. However, there's a small hole in the wall that most visitors walk right by, since you will undoubtedly be out of breath, and staring at your feet to avoid tripping on the fallen rocks. I happened to notice this hole, and popped my head through. What I saw amazed me: stunning mountain scenery and ancient church ruins in disrepair, as if from some medieval fairy-tale. I instantly lost interest in the St John Fortress, and instead explored this scene in solitude.

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