Sunday, November 08, 2009

Dubrovnik, Croatia November 8, 2009

We arrived in Dubrovnik at 9 AM after sailing from Venice at 1 PM yesterday. The weather was much better today. We are further South; perhaps that accounts for the warmer temperatures. It was cloudy all day, but it never actually rained.

My headache continued today, slightly diminished. We enjoyed sitting on our balcony and watching the approach into Dubrovnik. Our tour left soon after we docked. The Walk around the City Walls was very strenuous but invigorating. I wish I had counted the stairs we climbed and descended -- there must have been at least several hundred. I believe the guide said that the circumference of the old walls is about 2 miles -- certainly not level. the views were spectacular! Our first guide became sick at the end of the walk, so we had another guide for the tour of the maritime museum and the walk through the old city. When we were given free time, I walked back into the city and went into some shops and looked around, but didn't find anything to buy. Jim waited near the busstop and people-watched. I will post some pics when we get home. Old City Dubrovnik is a fascinating city -- it is entirely pedestrian, with narrow little lanes lined with tiny shops. Featured here was intricate needlework - tablecloths, etc. Apparent everywhere was damage from the war in the 1990s - "the aggression of the Yugoslavs" as the memorial signs expressed it.

Jim had left his jacket on the bus (he asked the driver, and the driver said it would be okay; however we think the driver did not really understand him)-- the jacket and long-sleeve shirt were not there when we got back. A couple from Chile that we have met was worse off however, they lost a camera by accidentally leaving it on the bus. They spent most of the time in Dubrovnik trying to track it down.

There is a comedy musician show tonight after dinner was really good. His name is Jon Courtenay, and he was terrific! His piano style was excellent and he was hilarious as well. If you have an opportunity to see/hear him perform, jumpt at the chance.

Here is information I gathered about Dubrovnic, Croatia, before we left home:

The city is in the extreme south of Croatia, is located between the Adriatic Sea and the Dinaric Alps, and is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. It has a population of over 120,000.

DUBROVNIK is a beautifully preserved medieval fortified city. First settled by Roman refugees in the early seventh century and given the name Ragusa. By the mid-fourteenth century, having shaken off the yoke of first the Byzantines and then the Venetians, it had become a successful and self-contained city state and continued to prosper until 1667, when an earthquake devastated the city. Though the city-state survived, it fell into decline and, in 1808, was formally dissolved by Napoleon.

An eight-month siege by Yugoslav forces in the early 1990s caused much destruction, but the city swiftly recovered. Dubrovnik was heavily bombed by the Montenegrin Navy during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995. Almost all of the damage has been covered over, but if you look closely around the pedestrian-only old town you can still see the damage from mortars in the cobblestone streets and bullet marks in the stone houses.

Some things to see in Dubrovnik:

  1. Old City Walls - The Old City of Dubrovnik and its medieval walls have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The walls were completed in the 13th century and encircle the old city with a circumference of more than a mile and a half.
  2. Pile Gate, at the beginning of the Placa Thoroughfare (Stradun) (Old town),The most convenient starting place for your stroll through the City is Pile.
  3. Placa Stradun, (Old town),. The Stradun (Placa) is the central street of the city of Dubrovnik and is the place where the old city comes to life. The uniform Baroque architecture of the houses in Placa, with shops on the street level and their 'knee-like' entrances, got its present-day form in the restoration of the City taking place after the disastrous earthquake in 1667, when a large number of luxurious Gothic and Renaissance palaces had been destroyed. The architectural design of Placa reveals effective solutions and the business sense of the Dubrovnik Republic in those difficult times.
  4. Fort Lovrijenac - The monumental fort rises above 37 meters high rock. The main purpose of its construction was defense, and the main idea was to protect the freedom of Dubrovnik. In order to prevent possible mutiny by the commander of the fortress, the walls facing the city are only 60 cm thick compared to those exposed to enemy fire which were 12m thick!. Above the entrance to the fortress is an inscription that says "Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro" which translates to "Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world".
  5. Dominican Monastery - This is an exceptionally valuable historic complex, which, besides its religious purpose, also represents the important artistic treasury of ancient Dubrovnik.
  6. Nature Park - Take a ferry to the Island of Lokrum, which houses a monastery, a fort with great views of Dubrovnik, botanical gardens, and a naturist beach. This small island is reachable in 10 minutes boat-time from the old city port. It offers unparalleled serenity, beauty and peace.
  7. Maritime Museum - Displays focus on the maritime heritage of the Dubrovnik Republic in the 16th century extending to the present day Croatia.
  8. Roland's Column - A slender stone flag staff of the legendary knight. Also known as Orlando's Column
  9. Bell Tower - On top of the tower are the famous 'Zelenci' (The Green Ones), bronze statues which strike the gigantic bell every hour
  10. Sponza Palace - Gothic Renaissance palace, one of the few buildings that has maintained its form from before the catastrophic 1667 earthquake
  11. Rector's Palace, Formerly the palace of the Major Council, now houses a museum dedicated to the city's history.
  12. War Photo Limited - An exhibition center of war and conflict photography. Exhibits change during the season. Stunning images by world renowned photo journalists.
  13. Church of St. Ignatius
  14. Big Onofrio´s Fountain


debilewis said...

I am glad your headache is better. Hope you continue to feel better each day! Sounds like you are having a good time. Love. .

Lyn said...

Oh, no! I'm sorry Dad lost his coat and shirt! The comedian sounds like fun and the trip sounds like a blast! I'm anxious to hear all about it and see the pictures!
Love you

bathmate said...

very good posting. i liked it. :-)