Old City, Dubrovnik
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.
Inbetween the Rector's Palace and the Cathedral is Gundulic square. This is a lively part of Dubrovnik with its morning market and the deluxe Pucic Palace hotel. The square is named after Dubrovnik's renowned poet Ivan Gundulic - whose staute can be found in the centre..
Almost all of Croatia's tourists crowd into the walled old city, which is a real marvel. The buildings are all constructed of polished white stone, rooftops are covered in orange tiles, and around every corner there is another lovely piece of medieval architecture. While the old city is a tourist haven, it's also home for quite a substantial population, who have no qualms about hanging out laundry on their roofs for nosy city wall-walkers to photograph!
The old city of Dubrovnik is a spectacular example of medieval and baroque architecture. Walking along its plazas and narrow lanes to take in all of the sights is a great activity--palaces like this one, churches, fountains, and centuries-old homes are everywhere. The main street is the Placa, a broad avenue that runs straight down the middle of the walled city. Radiating outward from the Placa are dozens of small streets and lanes, many just a few meters wide. If you walk all over the old city, you'll come across dozens of hidden treasures tucked into its maze of small streets. The area is small enough that you can cover the whole place in a few hours.
Dubrovnik, and the old city in particular, was devastated by shelling during the 1991-92 civil war in Croatia. Thousands of shells were blasted into the city, damaging and destroying hundreds of historical monuments and structures. Amazingly, the city has been nearly fully restored since then. The restoration was done extremely carefully, to match the materials and workmanship of the original structures as far as possible. You can see a display of before-and-after photographs in the Franciscan monastery, at the western end of the Placa.
CRkva Spasiteljeva (the Church of the Saviour) was built in 1520 by the order of the Senate in gratitude that the city had been spared from destruction in the earthquake which hit Dubrovnik in that time. The monumental inscription on the front facade testifies to this.
This small votive church, between the Pile Gate and the Franciscan Monastery, was built by the architect Petar Andrijiæ from island of Korèula. As the church was spared in the big earthquake of 1667, it is preserved in its original form and is a good example of Renaissance architecture in Dubrovnik.
Walled Cities are, in general, architecturally splendid.....but Dubrovnik is out on its own. All the original ancient stone walls and ramparts have been lovingly restored. Attention to detail has not been spared.
You enter and leave this part of the city by one of a series of stronghold gates, which have old fashioned drawbridges over the waters beneath. As you walk the streets are of rather shiny cobble and at times I felt as if I were in St. Mark's Square in Venice (especially when it came to the flocking pigeons). You will find yourself surrounded by fountains to equal those of Rome, stately Churches, and converted Palaces.
I was advised that we would "do" Old City Dubrovnik in half a day - but if you are a History or Architecture buff then you wouldn't do it in a lifetime.
I found myself taking pictures of bits of balustrades, stained glass windows etc.
The City fronts onto the sea and boats line up to take tourists for day or hour trips around the coast. In the Summer this area is thronged with pleasure craft.
As we were here in a very cold Spring, I enjoyed sitting outside the streetside cafes, all snuggled up in a fleece jacket and watching the people go by.
Be prepared to be bewitched.
Taken from my intro page
Dubrovnik’s Old Town is Croatia’s most famous and precious jewel. Although plagued by an ever-increasing number of tourists, a stroll through the exquisite Old Town is still a special experience for all visitors.
Dubrovnik’s Old Town has always been a popular destination for visitors but the Balkan Conflict of the 1990’s caused severe damage to Dubrovnik, both physically and economically. Dubrovnik has now recovered from the pointless and strategically useless shelling of its beautiful Old Town and is now welcoming visitors back to enjoy the newly reconstructed splendour and architectural gems which include The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, Dominican Monastery, Jesuit Monastery, Onofrio Fountain, Fort St. John, St. Blaise’s Church and Sponza Palace, not to mention the mighty City Walls which have protected the Old Town and Harbour of Dubrovnik for centuries.
However, as if its architectural treasures were not enough, Dubrovnik is more than just an open-air museum of Venetian, Medieval and Baroque styles of construction and art. The atmosphere of this place is unique. From the overcrowded main drag of Placa to the quieter and more secluded squares and alleys, Dubrovnik’s Old Town has to be experienced to be appreciated and no matter how much you might yearn to be able to enjoy it in unattainable solitude, take solace in the fact that you are somewhere uniquely special. Try to forget the crowds around you and just appreciate that while you are not alone in the experience, you are still immensely lucky to be able to see it at all.
During the 1990's war the Old City of Dubrovnik was bombed and 60% of the city suffered damage. Luckily the damage did not destroy the buildings and was quickly restored after the war with assistance from international groups. Most of the old town roofing was damaged and can be easily seen by the bright new terra cotta tiles. There are some sections undamaged and these photos show how the city was before the war.Walking the city walls enables you to easily ascertain the extent of the damage caused during the war.
You can also, to make a change, walk into one of these narrow alleys that are on both sides of the Stradun. On your right, they climb towards the city walls and the mountain. They end up, very steeply, just at the feet of the city wall.
Dubrovnik's original Romanesque cathedral, built in the early Middle Ages, was wrecked in the 1667 earthquake. This new one was built in its place, in the later Baroque style. This beautiful cathedral is one of the city's main attractions. It's filled with art treasures, including works by Raphael and Titian. Above the main altar is Titian's masterpiece, The Assumption. Another unique piece of work is the Baroque altar of St John Nepomuk, built of violet marble. It was a gift of Nikola Josip Gjivovic, the bishop of Sirmium, who was counsel to the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa.
The Baroque-style Sveti Ignacija Jesuit church was finnished in 1725 on a hill on the southern edge of the old town, next to Gundulic square.
The church is approached via a wonderful baroque staircase modelled on the Spanish Steps in Rome.
The church is open 07:00-20:00 every day.
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.
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.
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 view of the Stradun, or main street of town, from the wall as well as the coastline beyond. The day I walked the wall it was very hot, about 100 degrees. The city was preparing for the visit of John Paul II and the banners were to celebrate his visit.