Dubrovnik – The Adriatic Pearl!
Lord Byron once called Dubrovnik, Croatia “the Pearl of the Adriatic.” Once you
visit this historic sea coast town, you will surely agree. Its history is colorful, tragic, and heroic! My husband and I have visited the city several times and LOVE it. It’s our favorite Dalmatian Coast city.
Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th Century. For 700 years it was an independent merchant city trading with countries as far away as India and areas of Africa. For centuries Dubrovnik lived in harmony with other countries and merchant cities. Despite all this, the city has been devastated three different times.
Walking around the historic walled city is easy and impossible to get lost. There
is an open gate (with a drawbridge) at each end of the placa. On the placa you walk from gate to gate in just a few minutes. But take some time and wander around the narrow streets; enjoy the many shops; and visit a few of Dubrovnik’s 13 unique churches, each with her own set of bells!
If you have free time in Dubrovnik and want an adventure of a lifetime, “walk the wall!” At either entry gate you can pay just a few Euros (less than 10) and literally walk completely around the small city. On your walk you will enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Adriatic and excellent views of the city below.
And.. if you’re even more adventurous, exit the city by the Pile Gate and climb to the top of the adjacent ancient fort. From the fort you will get even better view of the old City of Dubrovnik! You can purchase a combined ticket, or buy tickets separately. The cost of the fort ticket is 50 Kunas. Note: The ticket booth is half way up the climb, so buy your ticket BEFORE you begin. That is a note from experience!
The Tragic Earthquake of 1667:
Dubrovnik’s tranquility was shattered by a catastrophic Earthquake in 1667. Over 5,000 citizens were killed and a large portion of its priceless Renaissance art and architecture were completely destroyed. Only two buildings survived this catastrophe. The city that we see today still reflects the reconstructed baroque style that occurred after the earthquake.
The Arrival of Napoleon in 1806:
The glory days of the historic merchant city were already declining when Napoleon arrived in Dubrovnik in 1806. When Napoleon’s generals reached the city after they conquest of Venice, the city officials capitulated and handed the the keys to the city. By 1815, like most of the eastern Adriatic coast, Dubrovnik became part of the Hapsburg Empire, where it remained until 1918.
Yugoslavia and Croatia
Following World War II Dubrovnik became a part of the new country of Yugoslovia led by General Tito. General Tito led Yugoslavia was from 1945 until his death in 1980. Tito loved Dubrovnik and often visited his favorite villa their. His rule was a combination of absolute allegiance to Marxism combined with a rather independent and combative relationship with the Soviet Union. Tito was the last of the World War II Communist leaders. He was responsible for amalgamating the six different areas of Yugoslavia into a country, but with his death the country began to fragment.
The Siege of Dubrovnik: 1991 – 1992
Following the death of Tito and his dictatorial leadership, Yugoslavia’s six distinctive areas each began to seek independence. Dubrovnik was the city in Croatia that experienced the most devastation and continual bombardment. The Croatian forces gallantly defended their city against Yugoslav’s Peoples Army for 238 consecutive days. During these days 194 of the Croatian army were killed along with 88 civilians.
This bombardment provoked international condemnation of the Serbs. It became a public relations disaster for Serbia and Montenegro, contributing to diplomatic and economic isolation, for them both. Croatia officially declared its independence on June 25, 1991. During this 20th Century Siege of Dubrovnik, 11,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed; in fact, in present day Dubrovnik over 70% of the tile roofs are new!
Tourism is now the Number One industry in Dubrovnik, and visiting the city today you will see little evidence of a war that occurred less than 30 years ago. Dubrovnik’s proud and tenacious citizens have nearly completely rebuilt their beautiful and historic city! Split and Sibenik are also interesting Croatian Dalmatian Coast cities that are great to visit, but Dubrovnik remains my favorite. You will LOVE your visit here; I promise!!!
I experienced Dubrovnic, Montenegro, and the Yangtze River on Viking Cruises. I have traveled on over 175 cruises and absolutely LOVE Princess. But, Viking stole my heart as well. If you like to cruise, you might want to try Viking!