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A Brief Overview of Tivat’s History

An Overview of Tivat's History

Tivat: A Gem in Europe’s Heart

Tivat is a gem in the heart of Europe. Let’s take a brief look at the history of Tivat, from ancient origins to modern splendor. Tivat, situated at the pinnacle of the expansive Bay of Boka Kotorska, stands apart among the towns of the region due to its spacious layout. The Tivat plain gradually slopes into the Grbalj valley to the southeast. The population of this community does not exceed 15,000 individuals.

Tivat’s History

Becoming an airport on the Montenegrin coastline in 1954, Tivat achieved another milestone in 2015 with the introduction of its first bus stop. Prior to that, it was the sole city boasting an airport and marina but lacked a public bus stop. Within Tivat Bay, three distinct islands reside – Stradioti (St. Marko), Our Lady of Mercy, and Flower Island (Ostrvo Cvijeća).

The Name of Tivat

Three theories surround the origin of Tivat’s name. The first posits that “Tivat” derives from the Illyrian queen Teuta, who had her royal capital in Risan and possibly a summer residence in the present-day Tivat area. The second suggests a connection to Christian saints such as Theodorus, Theodosius, Theodotus, Thaddeus, or the medieval figure Theudo, Teodo. The third proposition is succinct – the name originates from the Celtic term “touto,” meaning town.

Historical Overview

Archaeological evidence indicates a settlement existed at the site of modern-day Tivat since ancient times. During the Middle Ages, Tivat served as a summer retreat for noble families from Kotor.

The history of the Bay of Boka can be categorized into four main periods: Illyrian, Roman-Byzantine, Serbian, Venetian, Turkish, and Austrian. Archaeological remnants and existing architectural landmarks from these eras dot the shorelines of Tivat Bay.

Illyrians and Romans

The Illyrian period, concluding in 168-169 B.C., marks the first phase in Tivat’s development. Although few archaeological findings validate this era, its significance lies in coinciding with the fall of the Illyrian state. The Roman era in Tivat was notably more prosperous than its Illyrian predecessor.

Serbian Dynasty of Nemanjić

Tivat fell under the medieval state, led by the Serbian Nemanjić dynasty, until 1370. The shores of Tivat Bay gained prominence during this period due to spiritual advancements. In the 14th century, St. Sava established a Serbian church, and the Prevlaka Island saw the construction of a monastery dedicated to Archangel Michael.

Venetian Republic and Ottoman Empire

From 1420 onward, the Venetian Republic governed the Boka Kotorska shoreline and its towns. The Venetians extended their dominion over the Lustica peninsula and Prevlaka Island. Throughout this Venetian era, lasting until the late 18th century, conflicts with the Turks were frequent.

The fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 marked a significant turning point in Boka Kotorska’s history. Subsequent foreign influences shaped Tivat and its surroundings until the Austrians ruled the region until 1918.

World Wars and the Formation of Yugoslavia

After 1918, Tivat, like other towns in Boka Kotorska and Montenegro, became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, later known as Kingdom Yugoslavia. The Nazi occupation occurred in 1941, followed by liberation in 1944. Post-1945, under the SFR Yugoslavia, Tivat evolved as a town primarily focused on tourism, a key economic sector in the region.


Today, Tivat shines as one of Europe’s treasures, a captivating tourist destination offering luxurious modern amenities set against stunning shores and beaches. It’s a must-visit locale for travelers seeking a blend of history and contemporary allure. ■