A PEARL THAT SHINES ON THE ADRIATIC: DUBROVNIK

THE GREATEST TEMPTATION OF THIS CITY IS THE HARDNESS OF IMAGINING ITS ESTABLISHMENT. IS IT EVER POSSIBLE TO BECOME BORED OF ITS MARBLE STREETS, BAROQUE STRUCTURES, NARROW AND STEPPED RAMPS, AND THE VAST BLUE OF THE ADRIATIC?

If we were to make a list of the most beautiful cities of the world that are surrounded by walls, the touristic city of Croatia, Dubrovnik would take place near the top without a doubt. No matter how many books you have read or how many photos you have seen, you can never be well prepared for the moment that you see this city for the first time. The mesmerizing coastal settlement that is as shiny as the Adriatic embraces a small harbor that embraces giant stone ramps, towers, houses with orange roof tiles, copper domes, and graceful bells.

A geography that stretches your imagination
When there were not any settlements or roads around it, how did the walls erected from the sea 700 years ago? The greatest temptation of this city is the hardness of imagining its establishment. Is it ever possible to become bored of its marble streets, baroque structures, narrow and stepped ramps, and the vast blue of the Adriatic? Is there an explorer who would become tired of walking along the city walls? The city that had been under siege for seven months in 1991 was born from its ashes, even though it suffered significant damage from shelling. There you can watch the red sunrays that wash the stones and silhouettes of the towers close to sundown; observe its history and the museums that are full of art works; climb to Mount Srđ by a lift to embrace the landscape; discover the small shops and restaurants on narrow streets; dive into the blue waters at the end.

World heritage walls
Your condition must be good to visit Dubrovnik. The city, which takes place in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List, should be seen from the top of the walls that make it famous. The view from the top of these walls is really breath taking. It is also an unmissable opportunity for shutterbugs. At the end of a journey, which can be done on the counter clock wise and can be  completed in 2-3 hours, you can watch the magnificent view of the Stari Grad and the Adriatic, which is especially beautiful at sunset. You can take short breaks at the small cafes surrounded by walls and see the gardens and courts of the houses that lean their backs to the walls. It is not hard to notice the roof damage left by the siege of 1990. The tiles had to be replaced. The first section of the walls had been built in the 9th century. The defense had been strengthened in the midst of the 14th century by adding 15 towers to the 1.5-meter thick walls. The fortress had been secured in the 15th century and more added. At the end, all of the settlement had been surrounded with a stone defense structure, which is 2 km long and 25-meter high. The height of the walls on the landside, where they are the thickest, reach to 6-meter; as the walls on the seaside reach to 1.5 to 3-meter in height. As the Minčeta Tower protected the city against the attacks that came from the landside; the Bokar Tower and Lawrence Tower were situated to face the sea on the east. The Revelin and St.John towers were planned to defeat attacks from the east and the Old Harbor. Entering the inner walls is possible through the Pile and Ploce gates and the Marine Museum. Upon entrance through the crowded Pile Gate, the Onofrio Fountain and the Frensisken Monastery from the 15th century welcome you. The oldest pharmacy of Europe, history of which goes back to 1317, takes place in the monastery.

The crown of the gothic renaissance
While Dubrovnik was the capital of the Republic of Ragusa, the ‘Rectors’ were the administrators. At the Rector’s Palace in the Gothic-Renaissance style of the 15th century, the rector has offices, private rooms, public halls, administrative offices, and a cellar. Rectors were almost imprisoned in the country to protect their impartiality without the Senate’s consent, and they were not allowed to be seen by their families. The building, which is located on the main street Stradun within the city walls and today is the Museum of History of the Cultural Heritage, exhibits works of the city’s stately days. Do not miss to see the fancy staircase and the finely sculpted column headers in the courtyard where the concerts are often held at the Summer Festival. When you are on Stradun Street, you notice that the city is especially crowded in the summer months. Booking for accommodation is a necessity. There are quite a lot of luxurious accommodation alternatives. When it comes to affordable accommodation, it is hard to find such a nice place like the family guesthouse, the ‘Red Dwarf Guesthouse’. Transportation to everywhere is very practical; the rooms are clean; the rooms with view are pleasant and the atmosphere is also very nice; there is no limit to the hospitality. The owner of the place, Nasuf, is a character worthy of getting to know.

Escape to islands                                                                                         
When we look at Dubrovnik’s place in the Adriatic, it seems that the inter-island transportation is not difficult. There are excursions from the Old Town to the three of the Elafiti islands throughout the day (Lopud, Kolocep, Sipan). The second most popular beach of Dubrovnik, after the closest beach Banje to the walled city, is in Lapad Gulf. Lokrum Island with its forests that consist of pine, olive, and plane trees is a real escape. The beaches are rocky but the sea water-filled lake called ‘Dead Sea’ is very popular. There is a medieval monastery in the mystic air of the island. Here, there is a restaurant and an exhibition on the history of the island and on the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, some of which were shot here. In the botanical garden, it is possible to see the palms and giant agaves brought from Brazil and South Africa.

To the Adriatic from the heights
In less than four minutes, you can find yourself on Mount Srđ from the north of the ramparts by cable car. Everything is under your feet here: Tiles of the Old City, Lokrum Island, Elafiti Islands and the Adriatic… Telescopes bring you closer to these beauties. The Panorama Restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner. The city is a fascinating place with its nightly lights from here.

FOR THE FANS
The Game of Thrones jogging tour and the Karaka pirate ship that was used in the filming of the series appeal to the fans.

DON’T MISS
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival that takes place in July and August is highly entertaining.

SIGHTSEEING
“The End of Yugoslavia” exhibit at the photo gallery War Photo Limited is noteworthy.

TASTE STOP
Try a typical Dalmatian dish that consists of black risotto and seafood at the Konoba Lokanda Peskarija located at the harbor.

SHOPPING
The coral jewelry by Clara Stones is popular.