The Gulf of Kotor (Boka Kotorska) cuts deeply into the coastline of the southern part of the Yugoslav Adriatic, creating four spectacular bays ringed in mountains, the “fjords” of the Mediterranean. The little town of Perast is situated at the foot of St. Elijah Hill (873 m), opposite the narrow Verige strait, where the innermost bays of Risan and Kotor converge. This easternmost shore was the earliest inhabited area in the Boka. The remains of a Neolithic culture (3500 BC) have been discovered in the caves of Spila above Perast and various archeological finds provide evidence of civilization dating from Illyrian, Roman and early Christian periods.
Preceded by two jewel-like islands, Perast is focused on the sea. From the interaction between mainland and bay, the inherent contrast of stone and water, the dialogue of island and wave, sometimes in harmony but often in conflict, this sea-faring town has derived its unity, strength and sense of purpose. Despite its size, a sophisticated urban structure has arisen, demonstrated by the proportion, scale, massing and rhythm of the great number of public buildings, especially along the waterfront.