Dubrovnik, aptly termed the ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’ and a UNESCO world heritage site used to be called Ragusa and is a must-see town. It’s a city in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast and was founded in the 7th century. Croatia used to be part of former Yugoslavia and gained independence in 1991.
Dubrovnik’s old town is a fortified city with its 10th century wall. The wall is the longest intact city wall in Europe. Old town has 4 gates: Pile, Ploce, Buza and Ponte. We entered from the Pile gate, a wide arch that leads to the Stradun, Dubrovnik old town’s main street. The Pile gate has a drawbridge that used to be closed every night. The walls are 1,940 metres long and you can walk all the way around them but you need to get tickets first. If you don’t want to walk the the whole wall you can get off at the many exits along the way. The Minceta tower is the highest point in Dubrovnik old town and I climbed it. The views were unforgettable with the red roofed old town on one side and the sparkling blue sea down on the other. The walk around the wall has quite a few steps can be quite narrow in places. Most of the time I was bouncing ahead of my parents in my excitement. There were canons on the way overlooking the sea. The experience was amazing.
The Stradun, the old town main street, is lined with shops and cafes and is paved with limestone and runs from Pile to Ploce gate. It’s 300 meters long and 30 meters wide. It used to be a marshy channel of water and that's why it is wider compared to the the other streets in Old Town. The other lanes of the old town have long flights of stairs and are like narrow alleys. You can also see a lot of washing hanging outside the houses. The Old Town has around 800 inhabitants. Something unique about the Stradun is that it has main doors and windows under the same arch.
During the Yugoslavian wars, parts of the old town was destroyed and in the places where the bricks are lighter are where the bombs hit and those were reconstructed.
One must also go up mount Srd from where you can see incredibly beautiful views of the city. You can get to Srd are by gondola or by car.
Most people go to Dubrovnik to see the Old Town and walk around the walls. UNESCO has threatened to revoke the city’s status as a world heritage site if more than 8000 people enter the old town per day as it is now getting difficult to maintain the site.
Isn’t it amazing to learn that the concept of ‘quarantine’ was a Dubrovnik invention. In 1377 Dubrovnik decreed that any foreign merchant, sailor or goods went to an island for 40 days to see if they carried any disease. Only if it was proven that a person was healthy would they be released into the city. Dubrovnik is also interestingly home to one of the world’s first orphanages.
I saw many new things in Dubrovnik and the trip was replete with memorable moments. It was fascinating to learn about the city’s history and even better to gaze at its beauty.