The first time I came to Croatia, I was hard pressed to find anyone I knew who even had a clue where it was. Maybe it was in Russia, or perhaps the Middle East. There was something about a war, no one was sure if it was safe. Ten years later, Croatia is one of the hottest tourist destinations along the Mediterranean, and nowhere is as hot as Dubrovnik. The ancient city state turned cruise ship magnet has long been famous for its history of mercantile and diplomatic acumen and more recently for the fact that it hosts the cast of Game of Thrones each year to film scenes in “King’s Landing.”
Although Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century, the city suffered a major earthquake in 1667. Much of the renaissance architecture was destroyed and the city was rebuilt in the Baroque style, as you can see in the beautiful houses built along the Stradun below. (Not all was lost, however, and one can still enjoy Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements while in the city.) The Stradun (main thoroughfare) itself used to be a channel separating the Italian island of Ragusa from the Slavic town of Dubrovnik. Eventually, it was filled in and the current shape of the city was formed.
As you can see in these photos, the “pearl of the Adriatic” was not quite the beachside paradise the travel brochures had promised during our visit (it was still late May), but even in the rain the beauty of this historical treasure shone through.
We started our tour with the obligatory walk around the city walls. It wasn’t cheap, but the views of both the city and the sea were so amazing that we barely noticed the sprinkling weather or our lightened wallets.
From the walls, we spotted a few small fishing boats, but the majority of the boats in the harbor were for leisure or were dedicated to hauling tourists to nearby islands.
After our walk around the walls, we spent the day winding our way through the old and narrow streets of the city, ducking in and out of the rain. In our efforts to keep dry, we stopped by divino wine bar, where we tried a variety of Croatian wines and enjoyed some spectacular local prosciutto, salami, and cheese.
On our last evening in the city, we asked our taxi driver if he knew where we could get a good view of the sunset. Of course he knew. (Kako da ne?) He drove us first to a little lookout where we enjoyed the sparkling lights of the city and then to the top of the mountain of Srđ (how do you think that is pronounced?) for a view out over the islands and the sea. It was the perfect way to wrap up a delightful visit to this beautiful city!