A couple of hours ago, talking to a neighbor who worked longtime in a cruise navy, having visited in detail the five continents, I asked him where would he go again with pleasure.
He answered "Dubrovnik", without knowing that I was coming from there. Asking why, I got an answer easy to accept: The life of town. Night and day, the town lives permanently. When I told him that I had been there and the city is not dammaged as he thought (it's hard to see signs of the war), I noticed how alliviated he was.
Old and new stand side by side, in a city where traditional look is carefully preserved.
Either walking along the walls or through its narrow streets, you can’t see any aggressive signs of modern architecture, breaking the harmony of the city. And that is particularly remarkable, if you think that the recent war (still visible, if you look carefully) forced a strong effort of reconstruction.
First walking tour is available in Dubrovnik 7th summer in a row! All important cities have this - it was about time Dubrovnik gets it too. It is short, sweet and the best deal in Town.
From MAY 1 - OCTOBER 15, 2012
1. Discover the Old town
Daily at 10 am & at 6 pm (In MAY, JUNE, SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER)
Daily at 10 am & at 7 pm (In JULY & AUGUST)
90 kn (around EUR 12)
90 minutes (1.5 hour)
2. Dubrovnik Walls & wars
Daily at 9:30 am & 3:30 pm (In MAY, JUNE, SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER)
Daily at 9:30 am & at 5:30 pm (In JULY & AUGUST)
160 kn (Includes the entrance ticket to the City Walls - 70 kn value) (around EUR 21,5)
90 minutes (1,5 hour)
3. Best of Dubrovnik (COMBO of 1+2)
What I love about the combo option is - you can combine it days apart!
240 kn (around EUR 31,6)
180 minutes (3 hours)
Learn something about Dubrovnik...stories are very interesting, plus #1 on TripAdvisor is not a bad reference http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g295371-d1896076-Reviews-Dubrovnik_Walks-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html. ;)
Beautiful city and great walks around the wall for great views but it's a hit and miss as to whether you might be free to walk around freely or you if you're caught up in the zoo of herded tourists. You have to hope that no cruise ships pull up when you plan to be in the old city.We were there in the first half of October and the day we arrived, there were 6 cruise ships which unloaded a horrific 7,000 tourists into the old city. We were so put off that we cut our stay short and just couldn't wait to leave Dubrovnik. Accommodation in Dubrovnik was also the most expensive thoughout our entire stay around the western Balkans. It averaged 50 euros for an apartment or room but haggle in the off season but expect only a small discount!
A better and less touristy place to be is Zadar (further north) which does far better Italian food than the Italians themselves (a well-kept secret!) and go visit the Kornatti islands from there; or else try Hvar or Korcula islands. Split can be a bit touristy too but it was nothing like Dubrovnik. If you get to Split, the best food is served at a place called Fife. You MUST eat there. We ate there everyday! Great value for money!
Also, be careful in Dubrovnik when you get off the bus and are hounded by people offering apartments. Some a very nice and clean places while others are rip-offs. A mid age, burley looking crew cut guy got really aggressive and abusive with us when we turned him down; he claimed to have nice rooms just a few minutes away with great views over the water. We didn't see it. We stayed in an ensuite right by the square overlooking the water (run by a widow) which was nosy one night. Good value, very clean place but no wifi which was ok because we got free wifi up the road while doing our laundry. We later found out that the abusive guy had been arrested in the past and the Atlas tour booking agency said that everyone knows him because he's quite violent so be careful! Maybe just converse with the females for accommodation or else go through the booking agencies or on-line hostel bookings.
Stolna crkva (Croatian name for the cathedral) was built in the 18th century after almost complete destruction in the eartquake of 1667 of the former 12th century Romanesque cathedral. The former cathedral was magnificent basilica with a cupola, richly decorated with sculpture. The reconstruction works were entrusted to the famous Roman architect Andrea Buffalini da Urbino, who designed the new cathedral as a Roman Baroque church.
The baptistery, however, was built in 1326, and was the only part of the old cathedral to survive the earthquake. It was pulled down in 1830 by an arrogant Austrian military commander because it obstructed the view from the window of his residence.
The Baroque church of Sveti Vlaho (St. Blasius), the patron saint of the city, was built in 1715 on the site of the former Romanesque church which was badly damaged by earthquake in 1667 and completely destroyed by fire in 1706. The Senate commisioned Venetian architect Marino Gropelli, who built the present church on the model of the Venetian church of St. Mauritius. The interior of the church is richly decorated according to the norms of Baroque style. The high altar has a precious Gothic statue of St. Blasius in gilt silver, made in the 15th century by an unknown local master. Besides to its high art value, this statue is also a historical document because in his left hand the saint holds a scale model of Dubrovnik showing the buildings which were later destroyed by eartquake in 1667.
The convent of St. Clare is situated right opposite to the Church of the Saviour and the Big Onofrio's Fountain. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. A home for foundlings was founded in this convent as early as 1434 to care for abandoned illegitimate babies. It was one of the first institutions of its kind in the world. The childern were nursed in this home up to their sixth year and than entrusted to the care of descent families.
During the French rule, in the late 18th century, the convent was dissolved and turned into ammunition depot and later into horse stable.
Today it houses one of the best restaurants in the town.
The Church of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit College (Collegium Ragusinum) was build in the characteristic Baroque style and is probably the most beautiful such a styled church in whole of Dalmatia. In 1555 bishop Beccadelli invited newly founded Jesuit order to establish the college in the city, but the idea was realized only a century after. The famous jezuit architect and painter Ignazio Pozzo was hired for the project and he finished it in 1703. The church was under the reconstruction during my visit so I couldn't see its beautiful interiors.
The Little Onofrio's Fountain is situated close to the Guard House. It was placed at the eastern ends of Placa to supply water to the market place which was in the Luza Square. In the Middle Ages water had a religious significance so this fountain was for the use of christians only. The fountain is nicely decorated and the sculptures were made by Milanese sculptor Pietro di Martino. Next to it was another fountain for the use of the Jewish community, called Zudioska cesma, but was later shifted to the Pile Gate.
The old town area offers many step streets to explore. You can not only find shopping, dining, and living quarters on a walk up the steps, but if you can climb to the top, the view is one you shall always remember.
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