On September 17, 2010, Azamara Quest® departed Kotor, Montenegro, leaving behind a reinvigorated tradition that dates back to 1452. According to local legend, 558 years ago a group of fisherman found an icon of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on what was at the time a small rock, and began placing stones on the rock for good luck when leaving harbor. As the tradition grew, so did the island. Rock-filled ships were sunk, stones were constantly placed and it eventually became the only man-made island in the Adriatic.
The island became the home of the Church of Our Lady of the Rock, but as years went by the tradition was consolidated to one large rock-placing event called Fašinada every year on July 22. However, when the staff of Quest saw an opportunity to bring a historic local tradition back to life, Monsignor Srecko Majic, who presides over the church, gladly accepted and placed within the church a blue painted stone depicting the ship, ship’s name and date. Local media was also on hand to document the event.
The church itself has 68 canvas paintings from various Montenegrin and Venetian artists, including Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century painter from nearby Perast, as well as 40 paintings on the ceilings. It is also the only building on the island.
The hope is that this tradition will once again catch on, thus restoring an important aspect of local culture to one of the most historic cities on the Adriatic.