Dubrovnik Part I

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dubrovnik, 'The Pearl of the Adriatic', was definitely the highlight of our Croatia trip. Situated on the Dalmation coast, Dubrovnik became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century on. Although it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. It was damaged again in the early 1990's in the Balkan conflict. On October 1, 1991 Dubrovnik was attacked by the Yugoslav People's Army with a siege of Dubrovnik that lasted for seven months. In May 1992 the Croatian Army lifted the siege and liberated Dubrovnik's surroundings, but the danger of sudden attacks by the Yugoslav People's Army lasted for another three years. During this period, many civilians fled the town and left their apartments and shops boarded up, hoping they'd still be there when they returned. They did their best to save the precious historic buildings by covering windows and fragile structures. Tourism stopped completely and the only people that walked the streets within the walls were soldiers. It is now the focus of a major restoration program co-ordinated by UNESCO. The old town of Dubrovnik is on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. We checked out a memorial where we saw photos of fallen soldiers, watched old videos of the attacks, and looked at before and after photos of the town. Damaged parts of the city have since been restored and tourism is bigger than ever. 

One of the first things we noticed about Dubrovnik were the stone walls that wind more than 3 km all the way around the old city. The bold walls give a feeling that this was a mighty city at one point. The walls are 80 feet high at some points, and run from 12 to 18 feet thick on the landward side but are much thinner on the seaward side. When entering through the walls, we crossed an old wooden drawbridge that used to go up every day, denying access to outsiders. Inside these walls sit apartments, shops, restaurants, and many churches, including the fifteenth-century Dubrovnik Synagogue, the second oldest in Europe. 

The palace and city were in much better condition than what we saw recently in Split. We had a great time exploring the Old Town and all it's little allies and hidden passages. The streets have no organization. We've never seen so many stairs within a city center before! When you start the climb, the end is not even in sight. We tried to imagine how fit we'd be if we lived in an apartment that sits in the middle of the staircase. Whether you turn left or right out of the front door, you face stairs. The streets are about the width of hallways and go up and down with no warning, creating a giant maze. In the wider streets, most restaurants set up rows of tables for outdoor dining. It's incredible to see people living in something so old and amazing. You would think everything would be closed off but no, people go about their lives here as any other day, while we tourists stop and stare in awe at everything around us. Maybe if you've lived here all of your life, it'd be hard to appreciate something like this. We woke up at 7am one morning (very early for us since we've gotten used to sleeping in) just so we could go out to the water before the town woke up. The feeling of sitting on the side of an ancient castle wall with waves lapping on the stone under your dangling feet, no person in sight, book in hand, and your love sitting next to you is indescribable. 

- Yuriy

Part II of our photos coming tomorrow.


  1. Wonderful photographs (well, as always) - definitely worth waiting for.

  2. I love the picture of the clothesline! I can't wait to see part 2. :)

  3. oh man this is so nice. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

  4. Hi!
    I really like your photos and it seems that you choose really good places for your trip!
    Can I ask you which photographic camera you use?
    Have a nice day!
    Clémence (a french reader)

  5. woowww! amazing pictures :) i would frame each one and put em around my room. lol. lovely!

  6. Yuriy and Julia,

    Hi you two wonderful people! :) Just wanted to drop you a line and say that I love your updates and seeing the pictures. Both of you have a way of drawing "us" in with your words and pictures. i especially like the last line you wrote Yuriy "The feeling of sitting on the side of an ancient castle wall with waves lapping on the stone under your dangling feet, no person in sight, book in hand, and your love sitting next to you is indescribable." :) so sweet. May God continue to bless your journeys. You are not far from my mind.

  7. ps.

    Nikon should be paying you for all the free advertising

  8. Wow. Your pictures are so descriptive. I have been here and loved every moment of the time spent. I learned so much for your site with a lot of remembrances. Thank you - Cindy - Michelle's Mom

  9. your pictures are stunning. makes me yearn to travel so so so badly! a friend sent me a link to your blog and i'm so glad she did. i love it.

  10. Beautiful photos as always...loving all the adventures you guys are experiencing :)

  11. I am completely addicted to your blog, your pictures are so beautiful! This was how I was introduced to your blog - someone showed me the pictures you took of my home town of Dubrovnik and I was hooked from then on! Absolutely gergous and beautiful photos, truly inspiring.

  12. Hy!
    I am from Dubrovnik and I found your site by accident. You can only imagine how suprised I am!
    Love your pictures...keep on traveling and taking amazing photos so we can all enjoy!

  13. Hi,
    Just found your pictures. I have been to Dubrovnik. I probably saw all the same things. But did I take a picture like that. I had no idea how some plain setting could make such a romantic photo. Every picture is special. Thank you - Cindy B

  14. I love this post. Thanks for sharing

  15. My husband and I honeymooned in Croatia (Dubrovnik, out to the Elaphite Islands and to Hvar) and we loved looking at your photos. Beautiful!