Dubrovnik. Adored by international celebrities, this ‘jewel of the Adriatic’ is considered the Venice of Eastern Europe – without flooding, however. The southernmost city in Croatia, Dubrovnik was one of the centers of development of language and literature in this country and is the place where they many poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians and other renowned scientists used to live. The lovely old city was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage in 1979, and its charm attracts tourists who want to get acquainted to the Mediterranean spirit, but without the overcrowdness in Greece and Italy.
The city is perfect for visitors, beach lovers and those looking for an active nightlife. Although many of the city buildings were destroyed by the earthquake of 1667 and by bombing during the Croatian War of Independence in the 1990s, it was mostly rebuilt and is still considered obe of the best preserved touristic attraction in Croatia.
Roam though Stradun
Enjoy a coffee and a croissant while you wander around through the main street of Dubrovnik, Stradun. Formerly a swamp, Stradun is now a place where locals and tourists alike gather during the days and evenings. With its numerous cafes and restaurants, the street is a great place to relax after a full day of visiting the city’s attractions.
Sponza Palace in Dubrovnik was built in 1522, originally as the customs office where goods were brought by merchants worldwide; they had to pay a fee before selling their merchandise. The palace is a simplistic example of Croatian architecture, which still strikes you at first sight. Sponza Palace now houses the city archives and can be visited free of charge, as a refuge from the sun. Do not overlook the Gothic building with Renaissance windows.
Built in 1438 by Italian architect Onofrio della Cava, the 16-sided fountain was partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1667 but it still remains as a representation of the old rustic architecture of Dubrovnik. The fountain was a part of the water system of the city, built in the 15th century and was considered an architectural masterpiece in its time. Make a stop at this huge fountain, which represented the main water reserve for the Croats during the war in 1992.
For a refuge in the shade and the chance to see a real work of art, just pay a visit to the Cathedral. The current edifice was built in 1673 by the Italian architect Andrea Buffalini in order to replace the original 12th century cathedral, which was destroyed by the earthquake. Here you can admire Titian’s polyptych, depicting the Assumption, and the skull of St. Blaise, locked in a crown with precious stones. When another earthquake struck in 1979, excavations under the cathedral revealed another cathedral under the current, which had been built during the last period of the Roman Empire. Continuing the excavation work, yet another another church was revealed underneath it, dating from the 6th century.
Dubrovnic is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe; everywhere you look, you will admire a slice of history, a legend, the mark left by a historic personality, a work of art and many other surprises that are impossible to be discovered in only one visit.
Photo source: Picture 1: nyourpocket.com; Picture 2: ansharphoto.com; Picture 3: thousandwonders.net; Picture 4: apartmani-bonaca.com; Picture 5: flickr.com; Picture 6: onestep4ward.com; Picture 7: justdubrovnik.com