The Church of St. Catherine, which dates back to the 14th century, belonged to the Archdiocese of Bar and is unique in this area because it was built above the city passage.
The life story of the church has several stages. The earliest found by archaeologists, which is the basis of the church, dates from the X-XI century and is a cemetery from the time of the Vojislavljevic dynasty. The remains of a chapel next to the cemetery were also recorded. After that, there is a gap until the end of the 13th century. Today, the Church of St. Catherine is surrounded by solid stone walls as well as the entire city, but research has shown that it was actually on the very edge of the fortress, which was surrounded by wooden beams – palisades. Only at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century did this part of the wall begin to be built, which can be seen today. Then a closed space was built, fortified with a tower, which served as part of the specialty of the Archdiocese of Bar. Beneath that tower was a passage with guards.
At the end of the 14th century, the walls were doubled and the tower of St. Catherine was built from the tower that descends. The builders managed to use the existing walls and the remains of the tower to make a new, beautiful slender, Gothic building with elements of eclecticism, such as a Romanesque portal, which is a practice everywhere in the Old Town of Bar. It had a solemn character until the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, when a new space was created around it and it was connected with some aristocratic or ruling house. At one point during the Turkish rule, the apse was demolished, it was leveled and the church was turned into two floors, so it became part of the house of a bey’s family. It was finally destroyed in an ammunition explosion in 1881, three years after this part of the Adriatic became part of the state of Montenegro again – then the Cathedral of St. George was completely demolished and the entire area from Lonđa to Sat-kula was demolished.
The Church of St. Catherine is the first building to be restored in the Old Town after 1988. It was ceremoniously opened on November 16, 2018, and consecrated on November 25 of the same year on the Catholic holiday of St. Catherine.
Author: Željko Milović