As we wandered around Cavtat we encountered a statue of Baltazar Baldo Bogišic (1834 - 1908) and later in the scenic hilltop cemetery we found his grave. Baltazar Baldo Bogišić was a scientist and a member of many intellectual societies.He was born in Cavtat on December 7th 1834.
The sea in Cavtat is clean and clear to swim in. There are many places to swim. You can swim from a concrete slab beach where you can hire a lounger and umbrella or just off the rocky edge. The water is beautiful. Getting in involves clambering over stones and avoiding sea urchins. Sea urchins are not too hard to avoid as the water is so clear you can easily spot them.
Cavtat is a Croatian city with a long history.
It is a popular tourist destination with many hotels and private households that rent rooms and apartments.
The seafront is filled with shops and restaurants.
What to see:
Franciscan monastery - there is a village Pridvorje, in the central part of Konavle. It was built in the Renaissance style.
Prince's Palace-collection Baltazar Bogisic with the Numismatic Collection and a rich library, which is considered one of most precious monumental libraries in Croatia.
The shape of Cavtat means there are two bays, Luka is one of them, the larger, flashier boats appear to moor here and perhaps the restaurants and bars are just a little more expensive, have to spend time here though, it's really lovely!
There is a footpath that follows the coastline around the headland that Cavtat old town is built on. Maybe 30 minutes could get you around it but take your time stop on some of the shady benches, buy an icecream, and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way.
Behind the harbour front and promenade is a thin squash of cream shaded Greco-Venentian houses that clamber up the small hill towards the mausoleum. It's an incredible change of pace. One minute you are on the busy, noisy promenade. Two steps later you are lost in the narrow back streets of a mediterranean fishing town.
Here sits one of the great men of Cavtat. I was intrigued by the abundance of information about what he did, partly contradictory, but nothing about who he was. Searching the web I have found no information about wife and children, which either means he did not have any, or the historians don't find such information interesting.
Bogišic was born in Cavtat 7 dec 1834. He left Cavtat at the age of 22, and never came back to live there. He studied and / or worked in Venice, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Giessen, Odessa, Kiev, Cetinje and Paris, was a member of several academic and scientific organisations. His main field was law, and his most known work is the civil law of Montenegro; Even though the law was autoritarian and patriarchal, it was a great step forward in Montenegro at the time.
Bogišic was a collector, who left his collections to the community of Cavtat. I get a little confused by the sources about Bogišices collections. One claims his letter collection consisted of private correspondence (10,092 letters!). Another source refers to letters exchanged between turkish and coastal lords concerning smaller and larger controversies at the time of the ottoman empire. These letters are written in the local language and are of great importance for researching cultural, legal and social history of the 16th and 17th centuries (http://www.almissa.com/povijestomiskekrajineipoljica_.htm).
The latter would be in accordance with what is else known about Bogišic (and who would write 10,000 letters in a lifetime!); He collected coins from Serbia, Kotor (Cattaro), Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Poland, Russia, Bohemia and other countries. He did sociological, ethnological and demographic research. He collected and got printed 76 "bugarštica" from the coastal area of Dalmatia, a very old and very special kind of folk songs. And he was an active contributor in the "zadruga" (slavic term for "compound family") debates.
Take a walk up to the top of the hill to St. Roko cemetary. It is a bit steep, but not very long. A beautiful place for the eternal rest!!! (Pics. 1 and 2) And the view of Cavtat from above is lovely (pic. 5).
The Racic family Mausoleum is situated at this cemetary (pics. 3 and 4), created by the fameous croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic Cavtat has a long tradition of sailors and shipowners, and The Racic family owned a steamboat company founded in 1910. Rumours has it that Marija, the daughter of the family, had a love affair with Mestrovic (others claim that it was the mother Mare who was his mistress!). The whole family of four died within a short period of time around 1920.
Perched on the top of the highest hill in Cavtat, the Mausoleum can be seen from all over, and offers fantastic views across the waters and back to the Dinaric Alps. It was built by one of Croatia's most famous architects, Ivan Mestrovic, for possibly Cavtat's most famous family, the wealthy shipbuilders Racic.
Cavtat's southern peninsula is much more rugged. There's a path leading around it, but it's rougher and harder to follow than Rat. There's little in the way of life out here, and the path is not lit. You'll be fine if you head back within an hour of sunset, and you can just wander around the entire peninsula, but you might feel a little lost. If you do walk the full circle, you'll eventually find yourself in a small playpark. Cross it and head towards the hotel and back down to the harbour.
Cavtat squeezes out of the mainland and along the narrow strip of the Rat peninsula. This is the most developed side of the harbour, and you can walk the entire circumference of the peninsula in about half an hour along well kept paths.
The sunsets looking west are spectacular.
Make sure to set off at least 30 minutes before sun down to get the best views. There's a small hideaway bar where you can stop for a beer to enjoy the last moments of the smoldering summer sun. But bring some insect repellent: the mosquitoes can get quite wild outside the town.
Along the west side of the harbour, there is a long palm tree lined promenade. On the land side you'll find a string of chilled bars and restaurants, and on the water side you'll find a billionaire's row of expensive yachts. It's just the perfect place for relaxing after a long day's slogging through the crowds in Dubrovnik. Even the planes coming in to land at Dubrovnik airport add something to the spectacle: Their landing lights cutting powerfully and silently through the darkness and streaking across the waters of the harbour.
Cavtat has a beautiful, calm watered harbour. It's flanked by, in fact almost encircled by, two spits of rock: the heavily settled Rat peninsular to the north, and the wilder Sustjepan peninsular to the south. Fishing boats, ferries and party boats bob in the water, while billionaire yachts line the promenade.
There are additional sights in Cavtat worth seeing; unfortunately, we didn't have time to see them ourselves but they would certainly have been on my list.
The Rector's Palace
Not to be confused with the Rector's Palace of Dubrovnik, Cavtat's Rector's Palace nevertheless is notable for its Renaissance architecture and today the Rector's Palace houses the library and archives of a famous Cavtat native son, Baltazar Bogosic. Bogosic was a doctor of philosophy and law and a member of many European academies. Bogosic's Palace is also the sight of the Cavtat Museum, where Bogosic's various personal collections are on view. Other artifacts from the Greek & Roman periods are objects of the museum as well.
The mausoleum is the final resting place of the prominent Cavtat shipping family, Racic, and is located in the graveyard of St. Rok. The mausoleum itself was erected in 1921, but the Chapel of St. Rok dates from the 15th century. It was the last wish of Marija Racic. Constructed of white stone from the island of Brac, in the shape of a dome. The structure of the mausoleum is architectural notable itself because "The entire structure was built without a single piece of wood, or any other material except bronze, of which the door and bell were made." Embellishments such as the arch covered with the heads of angels, the floor which tells the "tale of biblical history symbolizing the four evangelists, the main altar and side naves, are full of symbols conveying the three basic stages of human fate: birth, life and death," are certainly worth the visit. In addition, the bell cast itself is inscribed with Mestrovic's own words, "Learn the mystery of love, and you will resolve the mystery of death and believe that life is eternal."
The House of Vlaho Bukovac
The home of famous Croatian artist, Vlaho Bukovac, born in Cavtat was declared a cultural monument in 1969. The house is noted for its architecture and gardens and as the sight of Bukovac's legacy and the heritage of the Bukovac family. The interior has for the most part retained its original characteristics from the early 19th century but the internal wall paintings and the glass doors to the staircase were the work of the artist himself.
This tip could be listed under the "Off the Beaten Path" section but for those travelers staying more than just a day or two in this area, taking a day cruise to one or all of the ELAFITI ISLANDS perhaps should be one of your "must see" attractions. Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan are the major islands comprising the chain of Elafiti Islands between the Pelješac peninsula and the Lapad peninsula. "Their name derives from the ancient Greek word ‘elafos’ meaning deer (deer islands). " These islands were once places favored for the summer residences of the Dubrovnik aristocrats.
Each island has treasures waiting to be explored: beaches, caves, ruins of fortresses, churches, monasteries, summer villas etc. Water sports are popular such as snorkeling and kayaking. Look for old gardens and orange and lemon trees. The views are spectacular.
Kolocep is the smallest and closest of the 3 major islands and is the site of Witches Cave & blue Cave; Lopud, the 2nd largest and most visited island and is 50 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik. Look for the beautiful & famous "Sunj" beach, the 1483 Franciscan Monastery; Sipan (pronounced 'shee - pan') is the largest and is only 17km from Dubrovnik.
Look for the kiosks near the waterfront which have information, cruise times, and tickets for cruises to the islands. Prices vary for destination and season. Some day cruises offer music, guides, lunch and more for a higher, all inclusive price.