The story goes, a seaman in the Bay of Kotor found an icon of Madonna and Child on the islet Gospa od Škrpjela. Local seamen brought rocks with them after each journey and placed the rocks on the island. As time went on, ships full of rocks were sunk and more dirt and rocks were added. In 1484, 32 years after the seaman found the icon, an Orthodox chapel was built. Venetians took over the islet in 1630 and replaced the chapel with a Catholic chapel. The chapel was renovated in 1722. Within the chapel are paintings by Tripo Kolkoja and other artists. There are also silver tiles and tapestries. One tapestry by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast, created a tapestry by embroidering her own hair while waiting for her love to return from a long trip. It took her 25 years to create the tapestry and was blind by the time she finished.
We stopped in Perast, Montenegro during our Croatian vacation. Perast, where you catch the boat that takes you to the chapel, is 90 minutes to 2 hours of a drive from Dubrovnik. After finding parking, we located a boat to take us to the Chapel. Boats charge between 3 and 5 Euros per person to ferry visitors to Our Lady of the Rocks.
There was a lot on our “to see” list that day, and we got up early for the trip. When we arrived in Perast, the temperature was already at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time we got off the short boat ride to the chapel, we were hot and tired. There was little motivation to give the islet our full attention.
We talked for weeks before our trip about seeing the tapestry made with hair, but the heat was getting to us. We each stuck our head into the chapel and looked briefly before we dragged our tired butts to a bench and ate gelato. The Island is small, so it’s easy to see everything in a short amount of time, but one should give themselves about 2 hours to check out the chapel and the museum. And on hot days, I highly recommend the gelato.
Our trip to the island of Gospa od Skrpjela to see Our Lady of the Rocks was in line with our vacation philosophy. Even if we’re tired, we visit everything, but we don’t push it. Vacations should be a time to relax and have fun. If the kids are too tired, nobody has fun. If you were to ask my kids about Our Lady of the Rocks, they probably would say they don’t remember it. But if you asked them about the time they had gelato on an island where the lady made a tapestry with her hair, they probably say, “Oh yeah, it’s hot there.”
More from the trip:
Climbing the Castle of San Giovanni in Kotor with My Son