Gornja Lastva is a small settlement with a Mediterranean atmosphere situated on Vrmac Hill that separates the Bay of Tivat from the Bay of Kotor. It lies at 300 m above sea level, 3 km away from the Adriatic Highway, to which it is connected by a local asphalt road. It is set on the sunlit hillside of Vrmac, enjoying a beautiful view of the Bay of Tivat and further, across the Luštica Peninsula, of the open sea. The settlement in that place has existed since ancient times.
Stone as the main building material and Mediterranean vegetation among which the settlement is hidden reflect the recognizable Mediterranean atmosphere. From earliest times, stone houses in the village have been built and demolished only to make space for new, modern ones. Over time, many houses have been abandoned and the boundary walls destroyed, but the authenticity of traditional way of building and the overall environment has not been impaired in any way. The best preserved and most splendid houses in the village today mainly date from the 19th century. From the same period is an olive mill, which has not changed in any way to date, using the same, man-powered way to grind olives. During olives grinding, local people gather in the mill, singing songs, etc., turning this activity into a cultural event of its kind.
The parish church of St. Mary, built in the 14th century, boasts numerous and valuable works of art, such as an altar made of multicolored marble, an altarpiece depicting the Nativity of the Virgin believed to be the work of the Venetian painter Andrea Trevisano, a golden Romanesque cross, an altarpiece depicting Our Lady of Lovrat…
Even older is the church of St. Vitus, built in the 9th century on the top of the hill of the same name above Gornja Lastva.
In its heyday, in the first half of the 20th century, Gornja Lastva used to have about 500 inhabitants and more than 100 residential houses. It represented an economically self-sustained system, with the population breeding cattle and cultivating the land, producing thus enough food for their own needs. There were seven olive mills, a grain mill, 12 threshing floors, 24 wells and 5 catchment areas. The surrounding hillsides were covered in vineyards, olive groves, orchards… Until WWII, Gornja Lastva was organized as a municipality; it had a school since 1845, a priest, a tamburitza society… The people of Gornja Lastva were good craftsmen, masons in particular. Many of them were sailors on the sailing ships of Boka Kotorska.
After WWII, following wider economic and political trends, Gornja Lastva experienced a steady decline in the number of population. People moved closer to the sea or their place of work, usually settling in Donja Lastva or Tivat. However, they also moved to other places in Boka Kotorska, and even broader area.
The majority of people from Gornja Lastva today live in Donja Lastva and Tivat, but they visit the village on a daily basis. Gornja Lastva was spared the selling and destroying of valuable buildings of architectural heritage, or, in some cases, entire villages of exceptional environmental value. The rich cultural and economic past of Gornja Lastva still has the strength to motivate its present-day generations to action.