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Favorite thing: The eastern entrance to the city, Vrata Ploce (the Ploce Gate), is protected by a complex of walls, towers and fortifications. As the detached fortress Revelin is also in front of the city walls, the estern antrance consists of an outer and inner gate. The inner gate is smaller and nuilt in the Romanesque style and is protected by the high tower Kula od Ploca (Asimon), built in the 24th century. The outer gate is built by Simeone della Cava in mid 15th century. The stone bridge over the defence ditch is also built in mid 15th century.
Updated May 14, 2013
Favorite thing: Beautiful nature of Dubrovnik region is unique and worth exploring.
Fondest memory: The climate in Dubrovnik region is typical Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot and dry summers.
The average air temperature in the coldest month (February) is 4.6 °C and in the warmest month (August) 26.2 °C.
Snow occurs extremely rarely. With 2,554 hours of sunshine a year, Dubrovnik ranks among the sunniest towns of southern Europe.
Updated Apr 28, 2012
Fondest memory: Local people have their home right in the tourist path in the old town. It's strange to see local people live inside the massive brick houses. The old town with the high walls reminds of a fortress. You can walk between the locals in the narrow streets and see their everyday routines. Children play in the streets, the clothes hang outside the windows.
Written May 30, 2009
Fondest memory: Dubrovnik bridge of Franjo Tudman from the Port of Gruž has shorten the travel time with 15 minutes for those who want to drive north. The bridge is a nice, white suspension bridge.
(The photos are taken from Dubrava beach and Lapad in Dubrovnik).
Updated May 30, 2009
Favorite thing: You will find numerous volumes written about the horrible events that occurred in the Balkans during the 1990's. The war that pit neighbor against neighbor and families against families was indiscriminately destructive to all involved...which was everyone.
Dubrovnik suffered terribly. Few people spoke of the war to us except on rare occasions. The toll on its residents cannot be measured and is probably best left to historians, psychologist and religious advisors. The physical remnants of the war, however, are not invisible. While a cursory examination shows very little evidence of the conflict, eventually you will see disturbing reminders.
The history of Croatia and the Balkans is very long and complex. Most guide books will provide an overview but they generally provide more of the "what" and little of the "why". Carol and I both read historical narratives before our visit that helped us acquire some sensitivity, a rudimentary understanding of the forces at work, and an appreciation of the amazingly long memories of its people.
I would recommend:
Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History by Robert D. Kaplan and,
Cafe Europa: Life after Communism by Slavenka Drakulic
Intro Photo: Our walk along Dubrovnik's walls gave us our first glimpse of the remnants of war. Here Carol is descending some stairs approximately above the Buža 1 cafe. The pock marked concrete from bullet hits was hard to miss.
Photo 2: Above the City is Mount Srđ, once a popular tourist destination for affording that perfect panoramic view of Old Town. Access was by cable car to the top which is now destroyed. The telecommunication towers and the high ground strategic advantage ensured the summit's destruction.
Photo 3: This large area of building rubble is located below the St. Spasitelj bastion just behind the Fort of St. John
Photo 4: In the foreground of this photo is an old and weathered clay tile roof...truly a rarity in Dubrovnik where more that 70% of the city's roofs were shelled during a ten month period from October of 1991 to August of 1992.
Photo 5: One of the official reminders of the war is the sign which is placed at each of two gates, the Pile and Ploče, which chronicles the war damage in a startling graphic representation. In five languages it reads:
City map of damages caused by the aggression on Dubrovnik by the Yugoslav army, Serbs and Montenegrians, 1991-1992.
While difficult to see in this photo, each of spots on the map of Old Town marks a shell impact or other damage.
Written Jan 19, 2009
Favorite thing: I write a lot about wanting to be "slow travelers", taking time to immerse ourselves into the places we visit; to become, in some small way, a part of rather than a spectator to these wonderful locations.
We are definitely not there yet but we are trying. We stay longer in one place when we can. We always visit the local markets. We seek out the places where the locals eat, and, we try to spend at least part of the time not worrying about what's around the next corner or what sights we might miss.
One of Carol's opportunities occurs when she takes a painting break. Usually she will find a comfortable spot with an interesting view and just become a part of the background action. I usually wander off and experiment with my camera. It's often the only time I have to take as much time as I want to set up that perfect shot...without testing Carol's patience.
Intro Photo: This little boy was much more interested in the painting of Dubrovnik's Old Harbor than the harbor itself. Carol is definitely part of the action for the moment.
Photo 2: This little guy didn't care that much about Carol's artistic ability, but he sure put a smile on her face.
Photo 3: The artist's eye often focuses on that which is less obvious. Here Carol sees the Fort of St. John keeping vigil less on the old harbor than on the stucco homes and clay roofs of the cascading down the hillside.
Photo 4: Here Carol has found a shady spot and a bit of isolation while she captures a point in time.
Photo 5: The result is a view from a stone terrace just outside the Ploče Gate capturing the complexity of the old port.
Written Jan 19, 2009
Favorite thing: As we travel we are always on the lookout for signs of everyday life. We often share our space with many other tourists all of whom have their own personal travel goals. Sometimes it's historical or cultural or recreational, but perhaps less often it's a quest to experience the lifestyle of those who remain after we all have left.
Places like Dubrovnik that are heavily visited by travelers from around the world are more guarded about the lives of their permanent residents. By necessity, many, if not most, of the local people service the tourist trade and often live in areas far removed from where they work. Occasionally we have been privileged to be a guest in someone's home, but most often we can only be voyeurs of their day to day lives.
Intro Photo: This photo was taken in very busy square called Gunduličeva Poljana which is lined with cafes and restaurants but most importantly is the site of the daily market. I didn't realize at the time that this gentleman worked in the market. At this moment his main responsibility was to the thirsty little dog.
Photo 2: A few minutes later as the market was closing, the gentleman's plaid shirt came off and his real job became evident. This is the fellow who ensures that the square sparkled after all the vendors had packed up and gone for the day.
Photo 3: This beautiful young women had one of the more common jobs in town, that of store clerk. She none the less was clearly proud of her work. The interesting jewelry shop was located just off Od puča. The shop interior was very hip in a sort of techno-electronica fashion while this area was a very tranquil open air courtyard of.
Photo 4: Hard to know if this Mom lived in Dubrovnik or was just visiting but her baby was clearly meeting the locals.
Photo 5: These school children with their backpacks and sneakers could be from almost anywhere, though not all kids walk past medieval fortifications on their way to school.
Written Jan 19, 2009
Favorite thing: As markets go, the market at Gundulićeva Poljana Square is not the best we have seen, but it was daily (except Sunday) and very convenient. The main market for Dubrovnik is in Gruž which is where I suspect the locals shop. If you look closely you will notice that most of what is offered here needs no preparation and can be eaten on the go. Carol and I would stop by daily for fruit and especially our favorite treat...figs on a string.
Intro Photo: This woman is surely the image of everyone's kindly grandmother, but still a shrewd saleswoman. She was our regular stop each day.Our first encounter with her was most enlightening. We had selected a few items and were about to cash out when she picked up a bag of figs and seemed to infer that we should take them as a gift. We gestured that that was not necessary but she insisted...then she proceeded to charge us full price. The 10 kuna was easily worth the value of a good story.
Photo 2: Everyone gets to taste a sample.
Photo 3: If it seems like everyone is selling nearly the same thing, it is because...everyone is selling nearly the same thing
Photo 4: The name Sanitat on all the umbrellas may refer to a commission charged with ensuring health conditions in Dubrovnik.
Photo 5: Blue skies and warm sun makes for a perfect market day.
Written Jan 19, 2009
Favorite thing: Photos of jumbled terra-cotta roof lines are nothing new to travelers around the world, specially in Europe. Here in Dubrovnik, however, the tiles tell a different story. There is an uneasy newness to a vast majority of roofs. This, of course, is a result of the almost constant shelling endured by the people of Dubrovnik during the awful war of the 1990's.
From October of 1991 to August 1992 the relentless bombing damaged over 70% of the buildings of Old Town. Today it is still not difficult to find reminders of the war in the scarred masonry and, of course, the hundreds of thousands of new roof tiles.
Intro Photo: This view is from the western wall near the Pile Gate looking down into courtyard of the Convent of St. Claire. It appears that a restaurant is operating within the courtyard.
Photo 2: This view is from a point just beyond the Bokar Fortress looking to the east. In the lower right corner of the photo, the rubble remnants of a destroyed building can be seen.
Photo 3: This photo was taken from a point above the Buža Gate looking south toward the Adriatic. The low dome in the center is the Church of St. Blaize in Luža Square. Beyond can be seen the Katedrala of Dubrovnik silhouetted against the sea.
Photo 4: This view is from a point approaching the Minčeta Tower looking nearly straight down into a hidden garden.
Photo 5: From the Minčeta Tower a spectacular overview of Old Town can be seen with Lokrum Island in the distance.
Written Jan 19, 2009
Favorite thing: As night descends on the Stradun so does the calm. The day trippers and group tours have departed and Old Town reveals its more genteel side.
As we have traveled, we have developed a routine which works for Carol and me. Days are devoted to exploration and more strenuous activities. By late afternoon our bodies are signaling us that it is break time. If possible we try to conclude our day's journey near our accommodations. Ideally by 4:00 or 5:00 pm we are settling in for a recuperative nap.
While it is not always possible or desirable (sometimes twilight is too beautiful to miss), we find a little rest energizes us and often puts us on a more normal European schedule...a slow walk at dusk and dinner later in the evening.
Dubrovnik, as it turns out, is wonderful at night. Being devoid of automobiles, the lighting is limited to street lamps and the glow from shop windows and restaurants. I love photographing cities at night, my goal being to capture the mood with some degree of clarity. Some angles, in fact, would be impossible in the day time while trying avoid the jostle of the throng.
Even if photographing is not part of your goal, the night offers up Dubrovnik in spectacular fashion and should not be missed.
Intro Photo: The Stradun definitely glows at night. A leading contributor to the luminescence is the paving stones polished by millions of footfalls over the last century. Prior to 1900 the street also known as the Placa was paved with bricks and before that it was a channel that divided the Slav half from the old Roman half of the City.
Of interest to me is the uniform texture of the street's surface. Despite the fact that during the war of the 1990's the Stradun received over 50 direct hits by shells, the surface does not appear to be patched or repaired. I suspect, though I can offer no evidence, that stones may have been scavenged from other less obviously damaged areas.
Photo 2: At the western end of the Stradun is Luža Square which is considered the heart of Dubrovnik. In this photo the Sponza Palace clearly shows Venetian and Gothic influences. The massive hob nail and timber door is very impressive.
Also, note the often rebuilt clock tower to the right with the incongruous digital clock. I have since learned that it was installed in 1929...go figure!
Photo 3: This photo of the Rector's Palace clearly presents a building that was designed to impress. Built in the 15th century, the building was the political center of the Republic. My favorite feature of this photo is the ghostly figures walking by, an effect created by the long exposure time.
Photo 4: As you pass through the gate off Luža Square you enter Domenico Street, one of my favorite night time places. Lined with the city walls to the east and the Dominican Monastery to the west and north, you may note an immediate difference in acoustics...a sort of hushed echo. The entrance to the little gallery in the photo seemed the brightest spot along the otherwise dimly lit passageway.
Photo 5: Shortly after exiting the Ploče Gate you will encounter some stunning views of Dubrovnik and the Old Harbor. The skyline features the domes of the Cathedral, the Church of St. Blaise and the clock tower.
Written Jan 19, 2009
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