Becs and I have just returned from a few days in Dubrovnik, “pearl of the Adriatic” and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
So that’s it – another UNESCO site ticked off, and a nice vitamin D boost before winter arrives.