Stevan Kordic has been a professional freelance photographer in the historic port of Kotor for the past ten years. He also teaches mathematics at the nautical faculty in Kotor. He is inspired by life in Kotor, his birthplace, with its rich architectural heritage of beautiful churches and town houses, and the famous city walls.
Kordic has exhibited his photos in Kotor, Tivat, Podgorica, Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Berlin and Rome.
An extensive selection of his beautiful photos – Stevan Kordic Photography – can be viewed on his web site, www.kordic.info. He is a life member of Europa Nostra, www.europanostra.org. Stevan's work has also appeared in many publications and web projects, including this website.
Stevan is a Bokjelj, an inhabitant of the Bay of Kotor. The town – with its spectacular fjord-like bay, overlooked by Mount Lovcen, is one of the main gateways to Montenegro. This is a key reason for Kotor's religious pluralism.
The town was controlled by the Venetians from 1420 to 1797. Perast, in the Bay of Kotor, was one of their main naval bases. As Stevan says:
"As far as the West is concerned, the most important influence was that of Venice. The Bay of Kotor was part of the Republic of Venice from 1420 till the fall of the Republic. Indeed, when French forces reached Venice and it became necessary to flee, they came here, to Perast, the very place we now stand. When the Gonfalone, the banner and emblem of Venice, was ceremoniously buried, symbolizing the end of the Republic, it was not done in Venice, but here in Perast"
"This strait was also the connection to the East. It was our primary connection to Byzantium, and later to the Ottoman Empire. We in the Balkans know too much to resort to blaming everything on the Turks. That would be too one-sided. There is never just one reason for anything! Our relationship with Turkey was very important: on the one hand it led to isolation from European events and developments, but it also brought something different, a link with the Orient. The consequence is that today's Montenegro represents a unique combination. We have the Eastern-Orthodox Church and the culture it brought, the Roman-Catholic and western influences, and of course the Islamic culture brought by the Ottomans."
Stevan's family tree is typical of the rich cultural mix in Kotor. He says:
"My father's family, the Kordici, are Orthodox, while my mother's family, the Radovici, are Catholic. We have therefore always honoured both traditions, which means that we celebrate the main religious holy days, such as Christmas or Easter, twice. I have to admit that I enjoy this because it is simply nicer having two Christmases rather than one! Furthermore, this situation is not extraordinary. In the bay of Kotor there are many mixed families, so that in reality everyone celebrates according to [both] the Catholic and the Orthodox calendars.”