Old City, Dubrovnik
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. ;)
The main street is Stradun ( Placa ) and walking towards the harbour on the left are a number of narrow streets which go up the very steep hill. It is most interesting to walk these streets, to get off the the tourist streets and find little shops and restaurants, houses and apartments where the locals live, to see children in the streets and possible purchase something from one of the shops. We found shirts and souvineers much cheaper than on the main street, we also stopped for coffee and lunch at one of the small restaurants at the top of one of these side streets.
Note in one of the photos the washing line across the street from one of the apartments.
Just by the clock tower in front of St Blaise's church is this historic column. Orlando's Column is probably the most significant symbol of Dubrovnik's independence and freedom. The hoisting of the white flag bearing the insignia of St. Blasius on the column in 1419 marked the beginning of the golden period of Ragusan (Old Dubrovnik's name) history. Its lowering in 1808, when Napoleon's army marched into the city, was the end of this golden era. In later years this column was used as a pillar of shame and today its a focal point for tour leaders.
It's absolutely essential to walk the old wall of the city. The views are extraordinary and change with every twist and turn. There is a small fee to take the 2 kilometer walk. It's not a hard walk but there are many stairs. Take your time. Stop at Buzza Bar along the way (which literally hangs off the cliffs on the ocean side of the wall) and enjoy a beverage and some cool music. Bring your camera. I guarantee you'll be taking lots of photos!
You can try another one, ending in scales. Most are lined up with small restaurants in their lower part. In Summer, the part close to the Stradun is very busy and it might even be difficult to pass when tables of hungry visitors have invaded all available space.
In these alleys, you can wander at any time of the day without being too hot. As they are narrow and the houses high, the sun will not hit directly the street for very long. There are always shaded places remaining. You must wander peacefully into these alleys among bars or just people talking and resting to get the spirit of Dubrovnik.
The walls of Dubrovnik have stood for over seven centuries against attacks. On the placa the main pedestrian street paved with marble. Plenty of cafe's, shops, restaurants and bars. Its very busy the whole of summer and although l thought it was a good idea to go in September there were still hords of tourists around. Inside the city walls you will also find many churches from catholic to orthodox and many weddings. The old city apparently is very romantic place to wed, find tons of restaurants offering all kinds of food especailly seafood. Pile Gate is the western entrance which leads into the castle. Here at pile gate you can also find the main bus station and public toilets along with a supermarket and one or two restaurants.
Dubrovnik's Old Town is amazing. I took this picture from the thick and sturdy city walls that surround the ancient streets inside. The dome in the foreground is that of St. Blaise's Church and behind is the taller dome of the Cathedral of Dubrovnik. I walked around the interior and for the most part, was not blown away. It's a simple structure that is sturdy like the walls that surround it and it becomes more and more majestic when viewed from a greater distance.
The Baroque structure was originally designed in 1672 and finally completed in 1731. Though it has not been proven, it is said that the original church that stood here was destroyed in an earthquake in 1667 and was funded by Richard the Lionheart who is said to have been shipwrecked near here after the Third Crusade.
Passing Gundulić Square you come to this grand Baroque staircase , climb up to reach Bošković Square where at the top is the fine Jesuit Church - Church of St Ignatius. Unfortunately this was one of the few buildings being renovated during our stay and we couldn't see the fine Baroque portal and an imposing facade which were under wraps. Oh and in case you think the grand staicase is familiar it was modelled on the spanish steps in Rome.
At the western end of the Old Town, just behind the Cathedral, you'll find this lively square. I ate at a great restaurant here twice (see my restaurant tips). You'll also find the freshest market in town and in the center of the square, you'll see this statue of Ivan Gundulic whose epic poem Osman, inspired a sense of Croatian patriotism during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is the work of Ivan Rendic and I was especially impressed by the relief carvings at the base of the statue.
From the western part of the wall, it is possible to see at the same time the roofs and most of the old city of Dubrovnik and Lokrum island. Lokrum island is very quiet and is a real must go. Boats are every 30 minutes in summer from the old harbor.
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.
There has been a fair amount of reconstruction in Dubrovnik since hostilities ended in the region almost ten years ago. The city was shelled from the surrounding mountains by Serb forces under the directives of Milosevic and extensive damage was done to the roofs of many buildings. The buildings in the foreground still contain their original weathered terra cotta roofs. Those in the background have new tiles and you can see workers restoring a roof near the front of the photo.
The old tiles are called Kupe Kanalice and were hand made in the shape of a human thigh, a practice dating back to the Middle Ages when human models were used to mould the tiles. Unfortunately, the factory that produced these tiles closed in the 1950s and the replacement tiles come from a factory in France. Although not exact replicas of the Dubrovnik tiles, the new ones are as close as can be attained and after a few decades of weathering, Dubrovnik's original glory should be fully restored. Don't get me wrong - there's still plenty of glory there and the rich orange of the new terra cotta tiles makes for an incredible contrast with the deep blue and turquoise waters of the surrounding Adriatic.
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.
We took a ferry trip to an island and as we left the old city harbour I took several photos of the Walled City. From the ocean the old walls look massive and you can appreciate the sense of security the inhabitants must have felt from the 14th century until the events of the 20th century. The second photo shows the Fort of St John which protected the harbour entrance.