Dubrovnik

Written by Haydn Williams

Becs and I have just returned from a few days in Dubrovnik, “pearl of the Adriatic” and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hotel view. Not bad! © Haydn Williams 2017
Hotel view. Not bad!
© Haydn Williams 2017
Evening view from Bellevue Beach. © Haydn Williams 2017
Evening view from Bellevue Beach.
© Haydn Williams 2017

We stayed about a mile away from the Old Town, which is really the centre-piece of the city. Luckily we also managed to time our visit to coincide with some clear and unseasonably warm weather too.

Old Town from the city walls. © Haydn Williams 2017
Old Town from the city walls.
© Haydn Williams 2017
The medieval walls are up to six metres thick in places. © Haydn Williams 2017
The medieval walls are up to six metres thick in places.
© Haydn Williams 2017

First up was a trip around the Old Town. The walls were first built in the 8th century, with the current layout starting to form around the 14th century.

Adriatic fishing. © Haydn Williams 2017
Adriatic fishing.
© Haydn Williams 2017

In fairness, the walls worked pretty well because the city wasn’t conquered during a 1000 year stretch until they basically handed the place over to the French in return for being saved from a Russian/Montenegrin siege during the Napoleonic wars.

Terracotta. © Haydn Williams 2017
Terracotta.
© Haydn Williams 2017
Old Town rooftops. © Haydn Williams 2017
Old Town rooftops.
© Haydn Williams 2017

While the rooftop photos are pretty stereotypical of Dubrovnik, the presence of relatively new tiles amongst the old hints at more recent conflict when the city was shelled by the Serbs and Montenegrins during the Balkan Conflict of the early nineties. Croatia, along with Slovenia, declared independence from the former Yuogslavia, and were promptly attacked by the Yugoslav army (mostly Serbs) in an attempt to keep the federation together. That’s obviously a precis of quite a complicated situation!

View from Minčeta Tower. © Haydn Williams 2017
View from Minčeta Tower.
© Haydn Williams 2017
Below the city walls. © Haydn Williams 2017
Below the city walls.
© Haydn Williams 2017

Nowadays the city is heaving with tourists, many of whom are here to see the sites where many sections of Game of Thrones were filmed. Whilst the city has been on our ‘places to visit’ list for many years, I’m sorry to report that we weren’t able to resist GoT-itis and did submit to the usual touristy temptation.

Shame! © Haydn Williams 2017
Shame! © Haydn Williams 2017
Shame! © Warner Bros.
Shame! © Warner Bros.

Interestingly, although the “pearl of the Adriatic” quote is used pretty much everywhere I couldn’t actually find who it’s attributed to. Lots of people say George Bernard Shaw or Lord Byron, but the real answer seems to have been lost somewhere in the mists of time.

Inside Fort Lovrijenac. © Haydn Williams 2017
Inside Fort Lovrijenac.
© Haydn Williams 2017
Old Town from Fort Lovrijenac. I don't fancy attacking that! © Haydn Williams 2017
Old Town from Fort Lovrijenac. I don’t fancy attacking that!
© Haydn Williams 2017

Having walked around the walls and ambled around the town within, we spent one day taking the ferry out to the island of Lokrum, just off the coast. Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked here in 1192, and wanted to build a church on the island in thanks for his being saved; the locals wouldn’t let him though. It’s quite nice for a wander around, but watch out for the differing numbers on the signposts / information boards / website PDF, presumably designed to keep you on your toes!

Taken from the ferry to Lokrum island. © Haydn Williams 2017
Taken from the ferry to Lokrum island.
© Haydn Williams 2017

On our final day I ran up to the cable car station at the top of Mount Srd, then back down into the old town via the village of Bosanka. I was out early, so the views from the top were pretty good in the morning sunshine, but the temperature hadn’t yet climbed too high for ginger people.

Sunrise south of the city. © Haydn Williams 2017
Sunrise south of the city.
© Haydn Williams 2017
The view running from Bosanka down towards the Old Town. © Haydn Williams 2017
The view running from Bosanka down towards the Old Town.
© Haydn Williams 2017

During our trip we did try to find the huge ‘UNESCO’ sign which usually adorns each World Heritage Site. However, we didn’t have much success and so I had to make do with one on an information board on Lokrum.

A pretty weak UNESCO sign. © Haydn Williams 2017
A pretty weak UNESCO sign. © Haydn Williams 2017

So that’s it – another UNESCO site ticked off, and a nice vitamin D boost before winter arrives.

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