27.04.2011 36 °C
Dubrovnik is one of the most fascinating places i have visited
so far and i would go as far as saying it's one of the most
interesting sites in Europe. It has been nicknamed the pearl of the
Adriatic sea and is surrounded by beauty and is full of
history. Dubrovnik remains unconquered after many attempts,
It's past spans over 1000 years and the city has it's scars
but that's what makes it so appealing.
The Old Town dates back to the 7th century and by the 13th
century the city was completely surrounded by medieval city
walls to keep out the constant invaders. There are many forts and
towers built into the wall as well as 120 cannons. The most recent
attack was in 1991 when Croatia declared their independence from
Yugoslavia. This resulted in a war from the Yugoslav federal Army
and Navy that lasted seven months. 114 civilians were killed and 68%
of the city was damaged. The old town was bombed 650 times and
563 buildings were directly hit. By 1999, over $7,000,000 had been
spent on restoring the city and since then it's popularity has sky rocketed.
Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and today
there are 1,000 citizens living within the city walls. You can enter the
city via four entrances, the most impressive is walking across the stone
bridge and in through the Pile gate. Keep an eye out for the honorary
guards in period costume who stand guard at the entrance of the city.
Once inside you will be on the stradun which is the city's main street,
The streets are paved of marble and there are many narrow alleyways
that lead thought the city. You will also notice there are no cars allowed
into the city which makes strolling around alot more enjoyable.
There is also lots to see once inside the old town, the first being the
Onofrio’s Fountain, this sixteen sided water fountain was once the
town's central water supply and was completed in 1438,
This is a good place to fill up your water bottles as the water
is so cold and fresh.
At the opposite end of the main street you will see the Church of
St Blaise which dates back to the 18th century and outside look out
for the Roland statue that stands proud as the city's protector
and has become the symbol of the city's freedom.
We also went to visit the war photo exhibition
which features photographs and multimedia footage of
the 1991 bombings and a memorial to those who lost their lives.
For lunch we opted for the traditional cuisine,
a fresh seafood platter for two which was awesome.
But the most popular thing to do when visiting Dubrovnik is to walk
along the city walls, which is a must do. There is a small charge to
do so but it's well worth the cost of your ticket. The walk around
the whole city is two kilometers but you have several exit points
as you walk around. We went all the way around and entered
into the towers as we passed by.
We then took a ride on the cable car, 450 meters above sea level
to the top of Mount Srd. The cable car re opened on the 10th July
2010 just weeks before we arrived. It was shut down for 19 years
due to damages in the bombings. The view from the top is amazing
and offers a picture perfect view over the old town and out to sea.
This city is so beautiful and very photogenic, it's even more magical
at night when all the city walls are lit up, there is also plenty of
nightlife within the old towns many bars and restaurants.
We next day we stopped in Split for a lunch and took a
little tour of the city as well as a stroll through the markets.
We were than back on the bus and continued driving to
our over night stay in the city of Zadar.
Zadar is the fifth largest city in Croatia and was also attacked
by Yugoslavia in 1991. While walking around we noticed the
bullet holes in the buildings from the war. It was once declared
a part of Italy and the city contains Roman ruins from its days
as a Roman colony. The city has a few main attractions including
the St Donatus Romanesque Church which dates back to the 19th century.
Take a stroll along the Old Town peninsula and check out
the world’s first sea organ, Many tourist come to sit along the
waterfront at dusk and listen to the musical instrument that is
played by the sea, as the waves blow air into the pipes and
produces a smoothing audio show.
A bit further around is the Greetings to the Sun monument which
is a 22 meter round platform made up of three hundred glass
panels, it is lit up diffent colours and patterns and is made from solar
energy from the suns rays. This was installed in 2008 and since
then has been a hit with the tourists.