Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dubrovnik by Margot Justes

Dubrovnik is one of those historical cities, where you could wonder about, and happily get lost in. A walled city in Croatia, on the Dalmatian Coast it is aptly called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.  Dubrovnik dates back to early 7th century. Formed by refugees who named it Laus: from the Latin lausa meaning rock.

From the time of Dubrovnik’s formal creation by the Slavs, who called it Dubrovnik, from the Croatian word dubrava (rock), the town was protected by Byzantine Empire, and after the Fourth Crusade, controlled by the all powerful sovereignty of Venice, and became part of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom, and everything in between. The history is as rich as it is varied. 

Rock as a basis for a name is appropriate for the city. It is a perfect sample of a well preserved and designed late-medieval walled city. Just walking through the narrow, meandering streets surrounded by stone everywhere you turn, gives you a sense of history.

The city was almost destroyed by an earthquake in 1667, but many of the beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, fountains and palaces remained intact. More damaged occurred in the 1990s due to military conflicts, but there is an ongoing restoration program sponsored by UNESCO; it has been one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

The main square in old town is a gathering spot for locals and tourists, along with a church, bell tower, a palace, it is also filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, and coffee houses-they serve an excellent cup of the brew-it is indeed a tourist delight. Our tour guide spoke of the tremendous amount of pride the Croatian people hold for Dubrovnik, and reverence for their history, and survival.  

Dubrovnik is incredibly picturesque, and for a short blog best described through photography. Well worth a visit, and spending a day was certainly not enough, but it was enough to  let me know I need to go back.

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