10/09/2018

Rising From the Sea: Dubrovnik


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Our summer journey began at the deep southern tip of Croatia, in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. We navigated over 1400 miles, on this intrepid adventure, along the most magnificent stretch of Croatia, the Dalmatian Coastline. Sometimes, playing hide-n’-seek with the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea, other times, marveling at the soaring Balkan Mountains in the distance. Dubrovnik is a natural beauty – one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
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The walls of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik hardly needs an introduction as one of the world’s most carefully preserved medieval walled cities in the world. From afar, Dubrovnik dramatically ascends up from the Adriatic’s cliffs edge, dangling precariously high above the sapphire sea, accented with its red terra cotta rooftops - offering an unforgettable dreamscape vista. 

Our guide, Zoran, a veteran of the Croatian Army, shares his city, regaling stories from his youth, the war, and the history of this remarkable UNESCO Heritage site. Beginning in Old Dubrovnik via the south entrance, and emerging through the historic Pile Gate, onto Stradun, the main street of old town. Slowly strolling, on this dry and hot day - destination the Rector’s Palace.

Today, the Rector’s Palace is home to the cultural history museum, where it contains invaluable antiquities and artworks from the 15th – 19th centuries. Still, today visitors can walk through the notorious palace prison, where the infamous Ilija Dadić, dubbed Dubrovnik’s Monte Christo, was permanently imprisoned after five foiled attempts at escape. Zoran points out historic Murano stained-glass windows that were destroyed during the Homeland War, and explains that the Venetian Murano glass company donated all the replacement stained glass to restore the windows to their historic luster. 
Murano stained glass
In 1991, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was besieged by the Yugoslav People’s Army for seven months and the city suffered significant damage from the mortar shelling and bombs. A territorial war, that many only heard about on the national news, and local Croatians simply chose not to speak about this turbulent time in recent history. The repair and restoration of Dubrovnik’s historical and irreplaceable buildings took over ten years to complete, and reemerged as one of the top travel destinations in the Mediterranean.

Nowadays, in the pretty courtyard of Franciscan Monastery’s complex, the Romanesque cloister leads to the old Pharmacy Museum, one of the oldest in the world, where among the exhibits you can see various pharmaceutical tools, containers, grinders and similar utensils from the 7th century, from the once named, Republic of Ragusa. Stopping inside the Franciscan Monastery we admire the Romanesque cloister, from 1360, considered one of the finest features of Dubrovnik’s architecture. Consisting of rows of elegant double-pillared columns, embellished with reliefs of leaves, faces and animals.

Romanesque cloister - Franciscan Monastery
Dubrovnik has something for everyone in terms of sightseeing; historical city walls, churches, palaces and charming café terraces. And, for many Game of Thrones fans, climbing the Spanish steps by Saint Ignatius Church, where one of the most famous scenes was filmed. In Old Town Dubrovnik, the residents carry-on their daily routine, while residing along the long, narrow, lived-in streets, where climbing the ancient cobblestone steps are a day-to-day way of life, all amongst the throngs of tourists.

Thousands of tourists flock to Dubrovnik, arriving by land and sea, enjoying the magnificent beauty of this ancient city for the day; as many as a million tourists visit annually - all descending on this national treasure during cruise season, from March to November. As with all antiquities, preservation planning is in full swing in Dubrovnik; city planners are making strides to limit the frequency of cruise ships, staggering arrivals and departures. All making for a better visitor experience and to preserve this UNESCO treasure for generations to come. 

Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia, with its history, culture and historic monuments, obviously one of the best preserved and beautiful cities in the world. Croatia is just waiting for you to amble through its ancient cities, climb winding hillsides and discover small villages rich in history.



About J. Christina:


J. Christina founder at Scribbles and Smiles, travel writer, and hobbyist photographer.  She writes a personal travel blog from North America. Christina (Christie) is married to John, a.k.a. Mr. Christie. Mr. Christie is right on-board with their travel jaunts around the world - sharing in their blogging endeavors. He supports, encourages, handles gadgetry and embraces the role of editor - hence, their bespoke pen name, J. Christina. 

(Walking tour included old Dubrovnik, Rector's Palace, Bell Tower Clock, Orlando's Column and the Sponza Palace). You can find more about this adventure under the Travel Journal tab.


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