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Dubrovnik: A Step into History
For many people, a visit to Dubrovnik is like stepping into another world. Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is famous for its views of the Dalmatian Coast and its old city centre. You can enjoy a walk along the marble streets and among the baroque architecture, palaces, and fortifications. There are many late deals you can get for hotels in the city centre or near the airport. Before you know it, you could be walking through history and visiting some of the city’s artistic and cultural events.
Walking the Wall
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, you might recognise some of the areas, as many scenes have been filmed in the city. A good place to start is to take a tour of the city walls. Construction of the walls started in the 7th century but changes were made along the way to improve the walls up until the 17th century. There is a lot to see as you take a trip along the 6,360 feet of uninterrupted wall around the old city. Some of the notable areas include the land walls, sea walls, and forts. The main gates in the land walls are the Gate of Pile, Gate of Ploče, and Gate of Buža. The city harbour, part of the seawalls, has changed over the years, recently becoming a tourist attraction, it is still used as a shipyard today. Minčeta Tower, Fort Bokar, and St. John Fortress are three fortresses that are incorporated into the city walls. St. John Fortress now holds an aquarium and two museums. Gornji Ugao Tower, a part of Minčeta, was recently revealed to have an industrial area and foundry dating back to the 15th century. The Revelin Fortress and St. Lawrence Fortress are detached from the main walls but only a short distance. The St. Lawrence Fortress, also called Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar, features a court and now is used as one of the most impressive stages in Europe. There is a reason why this city was never conquered during the medieval period.
A Tour of Old Town
After you explore the sites along the wall, there is a lot to see in the old city centre. A nice place to start could be The Square of the Loggia. This site includes landmarks like Orlando’s Column and the Loggia of the Bells, the warning system for the city since 1480. The Church of St. Blaise, with its Baroque architecture and collection of art, and the small fountain of Onofrio are also there. The big fountain of Onofrio, one of the city’s most well-known landmarks is closer to Pile Gate. While there you can also see the St. Saviour Church. To continue the tour of religious buildings, the Dominican and Franciscan Monasteries are both worth a visit. The Dominican Monastery features a Gothic style cloister and many relics and paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries. The Franciscan Monastery has a museum with fine art, one of the most interesting libraries in Croatia, and a medieval pharmacy that has been in use since 1317. Two other important religious sites are the Dubrovnik Cathedral, which is said to have a piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on in its treasury, and the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola. To finish the tour of the old city centre, The Rector’s Palace and the Cultural Historical Museum would be a nice last stop. The courtyard of the palace is a relaxing break at the end of the day.
A More Modern Side of the City
For a more modern take on Dubrovnik, the Stradun is a place to walk along the famous white limestone streets and sit and relax at the many bars, cafes, and restaurants along the way. Another place for a taste of the region is the Skar Winery. There you can try the homemade Lekri wine, made from locally sourced grapes. War Photo Limited is a unique photography museum specialising in war photography, while the Museum of Croatian War of Independence tells the story of how Croatia struggled to become the independent country it is today.
Head out of the City
If you are ready to take a break from city life and your hotel, there are many beautiful natural areas in the region. If you want to travel by sea, the islands of Elafiti, Koločep, Korčula, Mljet, and Lokrum are all excellent choices. The island of Lokrum is a popular spot for tourists as it is not a nature preserve and has two monasteries and a botanical garden with a variety of Mediterranean plants. The island of Mljet also has a monastery as well as a national park. Korčula has quite a large town with city walls and beautiful beaches. If you would rather stay on the mainland but still visit the sea, Sveti Jakov Beach is one of the most well-known and best-reviewed beaches. Another way to see more of the Dubrovnik area is from the sky. The Dubrovnik Cable Car travels from sea level over 2,500 foot to the top of the mountain and the Imperial Fort, an amphitheatre, and a restaurant.