A few days ago while I was strolling around Prčanj in the Kotor Bay, enjoying the scent of the sea in a bit cloudy weather, I came to the palace which represents one of the main attractions in the bay. It is a 15th-century, Gothic house, a summer residence of the Buća family known as Tre Sorelle Palace. It is the only Gothic building in the Boka Bay (outside of the Kotor Old town) that stayed preserved entirely. The house is decorated with Buća's family coats of arms which are several times carved in outside walls. However, this palace is widely known for an interesting romantic story of three sisters who loved the same sailor.
In its history and culture, the Boka Bay has many wonderful stories, myths and legends. Their theme is often an unfortunate love, since women were long waiting for their men to return from sailing. These legends are an essential part of the Boka Bay’s cultural heritage. You can hear them from the locals, tour guides or in the city museums. As it usually happens with legends, they sometimes have more than one version. However, the main story and the central motif always stay the same.
Filomena, Gracijana and Rina were beautiful sisters whose father built a sea-front house in Prčanj, similar to medieval tower-house with three parts connected to one another, but with separate roofs. The sisters were the most beautiful girls around there, reputable and fair, but as the unfortunate destiny wanted, they were all in love with one man – a seaman called Jerko.
He, however, was in love with Rina to whom he promised his eternal love. This caused jealousy and envy among sisters. In order to prevent more hassle, Rina suggested that all three of them keep him in their hearts, and that none of them becomes his wife. When Jerko heard about Rina’s decision, he went sailing and he was coming back only for the short periods of time.
Another version of the story says that Jerko wasn't very sure which sister to marry, so he went sailing, and he never returned.
However, the shared love for Jerko reunited sisters. They prayed for his health together, and were hoping that they would see him before they pass away. If you were passing by their house, you were likely to see them looking from their windows expecting Jerko's return. But he never came back. Sisters agreed that when the first one dies, the other two will wall up the window of the deceased sister since it won't be used anymore. Filomena died first, and the sisters walled her window up. After her, Gracijana died, so the last standing sister closed her window too. A few years later, when Rina passed away, there was no one to close her window.
Tre Sorelle Palace, with three towers and two walled up windows, stands empty in one of the most beautiful parts of the bay. Sadly, their sacrifice and love rarely come back to life, and only when the locals or tour guides try to impress the visitors with an unfortunate romantic story of three sisters who loved the same sailor.
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