Dubrovnik, Croatia – Pearl of the Mediterranean

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Dubrovnik is definitely worth visiting for reasons that are difficult to describe in words as much as with a photo, however talented you may be. Why? Simply because words and photos cannot communicate what matters about this town, the first encounter with it and the elation you feel when you see it for the first time… Approaching the town from the north, from Pile, with the breathtaking view of the town walls opening up before you, will leave no one indifferent. This love at first sight is what makes this town one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Its walls soar up from the blue of the Adriatic Sea and blend with their surroundings seamlessly, unobtrusively, naturally, like the ridges that have stood sentinel over Dubrovnik’s beaches for millions of years.

Until 1808 Dubrovnik had been a city-state, a frequently occurring phenomenon in the Mediterranean at the time, famous for its skilled diplomats and seamen. Its good standing with the Ottoman Empire and the role of the trade mediator between the East and the West helped Dubrovnik accumulate tremendous wealth. In the 15th and 16th centuries Dubrovnik’s ships traded all over Europe and sailed the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, too. The fact that the investment in a new ship was fully returned after only two voyages tells us much about how profitable trade had been at the time.

In the modern times tourism took precedence over trade. Dubrovnik’s breathtaking old town centre was included in UNESCO’s cultural heritage list back in 1979, when Dubrovnik became one of the first towns in the world to enjoy such protection.

The walls that enclose Dubrovnik from all sides, 2 kilometers long, 25 meters high and 6 meters wide in places, are one of the biggest and best preserved city walls in Europe, having made Dubrovnik unconquerable for as long as 500 years.

Two fortresses outside of the city walls, Revelin and Lovrijenac, are protecting Dubrovnik’s east and west gate. Lovrijenac is built on a 30-metre cliff north of the town, in a strategically important defense position. It used to house Mediterranean’s largest cannon, which never fired a single shot, but was very effective in scaring away potential conquerors. The design of the fortress is very interesting. The seaside walls are 12 meters thick, whereas the walls that face the town are only 60 centimeters thick, making it easier to breach the walls if the fortress falls into enemy hands. A Latin motto so typical of Dubrovnik is written at the fortress’ entrance: “Freedom is not sold, not even for all the treasures of this world” (NON BENE TOTO LIBERTAS VENDITUR AURO). During the Dubrovnik Summer Festival both fortresses become the venues of theatre plays. If you are lucky enough to find tickets, you can see Hamlet on this truly extraordinary stage.

Dubrovnik’s broadest street, the Stradun, starts at the town gate, passes through the town centre and ends exactly at the Duke’s Palace, the site of classical music concerts at the time of the festival. Spectacular New Year’s Eve parties are organized here every year, when the holiday decorations give the medieval town a special glamour.

Mount Srđ, on whose steep slopes this pearl of the Mediterranean nests, offers the most amazing panoramic view of Dubrovnik. A cableway whose starting point is located right next to the city walls will take you there in the blink of an eye. The view from the top of the mountain is amazing: you can see every street, every roof, the barges rocking on the waves next to the walls, and the little boats hurrying toward the nearby islands.

If you happen to come across the Little Brothers Church facing Stradun, look for an owl-shaped stone protruding from the wall, which often attracts groups of tourists. The legend has it that anyone who manages to put both feet on it and remain in the position long enough to change their shirt is bound to fall happily in love soon. Generations of town residents and guests have been trying it, some successfully, others less so, but the owl head still helps everyone who comes to Dubrovnik stay forever in love with this amazing town.

If you are planning to visit Dubrovnik, You don’t have to worry about accommodation. Dubrovnik offers plenty of quality hotels and apartments. For more information about private accommodation in Dubrovnik, check this link:
www.myholidaysincroatia.com/croatia/south-dalmatia/dubrovnik

 

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