Disney couldn’t have done a better job of creating the perfect Medieval city. When we arrived in Dubrovnik we were stunned. After reading all the guidebooks we knew that it would be scenic and interesting, but Wow!
Truly, it’s impossible to look in any direction and not see a beautiful scene.
The city is a fortress, and consequently, is completely surrounded by a high, thick stone wall with only a couple of gate entrances. Cars are not allowed in the old city, so it’s a wonderful place to casually stroll about.
All the buildings are constructed of handsome, pale brown stone that turns a golden yellow when the sun strikes it. The streets are worn shiny by centuries of foot traffic, and the rooftops are blanketed with row after row of terra cotta tiles.
There are two main thoroughfares; all the other streets are charming, narrow alleyways lined with shops and restaurants. And to complete the picture are the stunning views of the clear waters of The Adriatic Sea.
As an indicator of how perfect it is, the next season of the HBO Series A Game of Thrones is filming here now.
Dubrovnik’s history dates back to the 7th century, but it grew and flourished in the 15th and 16th Centuries as a center for trade. This prosperity enabled the city to build beautiful houses and churches, and wield powerful influence in the Adriatic.
However, things haven’t always been rosy. Because of its location and wealth, numerous armies have invaded and occupied the city. Most recently, it was targeted as part of the war over the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik was bombarded for 7 months with devastating results. It’s amazing to see this perfectly preserved city and think that it was at war only 20 years ago.
We’re spending a week here and enjoy having the time to slowly appreciate Dubrovnik’s charm. We’ve rented a small, 1 bedroom apartment on the 4th floor of an 18th century building. The apartment is like your Great Aunt Sophie’s attic with no horizontal surface left uncluttered (more on this later), but it is a comfortable base for exploring.
James and Terri
They certainly made a good job of replacing all of those iconic roofs after the damage of the war!
You’re right about that Andrew. Near the main gate into the old town, they’ve posted a large map of all the locations that were hit by bombs. It looks like the town was pretty much hammered. I suspect that almost all of the tiles needed to be replaced. We visited Mostar, in Bosnia, which was also extensively bombed, and their recovery wasn’t nearly as far along. ~James
We seem to like the same places. I visited Mostar in 2008 and Dubrovnik in 2009 and 2010. This was my post about the siege including a picture of that map you mention: http://anotherbagmoretravel.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/croatia-the-siege-of-dubrovnik/
Very informative post on the siege of Dubrovnik Andrew. After Mostar, we traveled to Sarajevo, which you probably visited as well. The war is evident in just about any view in the city. I’m not sure how I would handle the daily reminder of all the hostilities. Our visit to this region was a stark reminder of how insulated we can be from events around the globe. ~James
Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the long history of some of these areas. Looks like a gorgeous city.
Dubrovnik’s history is long indeed, and if things had been slightly different, it would be better known than Venice. These two cities were rivals and competitors for Adriatic trade, and Venice came out on top. ~James
It looks idyllic, I can see why Game of Thrones would be shot there!
Thanks Hannah. You’re right about it being idyllic. Parts of season 2 were filmed here, and FYI, according to Wikipedia: “For the second season, shooting of the Southern scenes shifted from Malta to Croatia, where the city of Dubrovnik and its walls allowed exterior shots of a seaside walled medieval city. Dubrovnik and Fort Lovrijenac were used for scenes in King’s Landing and the Red Keep, and the island of Lokrum, St. Dominic monastery and the Rector’s Palace as well as the Dubac quarry for scenes in Qarth.” ~James
That information has given me a juvenile sense of giddiness!
Lovely photos. But you should warn prospective visitors about the cruise ship crowds! I had to queue up to get into the old town the last time I was there.
That’s a valid point, and definitely worth mentioning. In our case, we were there in the off-season and it was delightfully deserted (and cold). However, we did have one cruise ship arrive, and the increase in traffic was incredible. Luckily, for us, we can travel on our own schedule, and we’re always careful about where we go in high-season. With small places like Dubrovnik, and Santorini, this is particularly important. Thanks. ~James
Hi Terri and James, It’s such a cool idea to have a series of a great city! Thank you so much for the beautiful photos and providing the history.
Hey Amy. Thanks for the comment. We really enjoyed Dubrovnik, and like Santorini, it is also a very photogenic place. ~James
Dubrovnik is a great place: glad that you enjoyed it. I remember it from less happy times in the ’90s. It was beautiful then too, but well away from the tourist track.
My mother-in-law often reminisced about her visit there in the ’50s when it must have been a real scene. I’m pleased to see that it has been so well restored with real attention to detail.
I’m sure if you scratched the surface, the difficulties that Dubrovnik experienced would be obvious. However, as a tourist these days, things seem to be normal and the physical damage has been restored. I’m sure that this isn’t the case with the mental scars and damage. Everyone we encountered there was pleasant, but memories of war have to be long. ~James
Can’t wait to get there in July!!
Thanks Chris. Things should be jumping there in July. Have a wonderful time. ~James