"Gospa od Škrpjela" Top 5 Page for this destination Perast Things to Do Tip by JLBG

Perast Things to Do: 57 reviews and 80 photos


Seamen of Perast use to load the ships captured from their enemies with stones and sink them on a shoal. On the island formed in this way a small church was built on the place where, according to the legend, the icon of Virgin Mary was found floating at the surface of the sea. Since 1452, every year on the 22nd of July (I have read elsewhere that it was on the15th of August, day of the Assumption) fishermen bring some stones to the island and throw them into the water, symbolically taking part to the permanent building of the island, which is now about 3,000 square kilometers. For this traditional and solemn event (whatever the day), Bokelj (inhabitants of Boka Kotorska) coming from every city in the Bay of Kotor, ornate their boats with flowers and banderoles and attend a religious ceremony that recalls the goods and the bads of the Bokelj mariners. The island can be considered as the ex-voto of Bokelj mariners and should thus be the largest ex-voto in the world.

The original church of Gospa od Škrpjela was built in 1452. The present one is a baroque church built in 1632 and enlarged in 1722.

I have found that the name of Gospa od Škrpjela came from the Italian name of the place, Madonna dello Scarpello. The De Mauro Paravia dictionnary of Italian gives «scarpèllo » as a popular word for scalpello. Then, though it is translated in English as Our Lady of the Rocks, if I am not mistaking, that would mean “Our Lady with the scissors”. Strange, isn’t it ? That does not make sense and their must be another explanation.

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  • Written Oct 18, 2005
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