Friday, May 26, 2023

Visit Dubrovnik the “Pearl of the Adriatic,”

Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) is lined with shops and restaurants.

What’s Dubrovnik famous for?

Popular for its spectacular seafront location on the Dalmatian Coast, coupled with its evocative and historic Old Town district, Dubrovnik is home to Croatia’s artistic and intellectual elite and offers numerous cultural activities and festivals.

About Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, in the extreme south of Croatia, is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic. A rich and powerful city state until 1806, the proud city once known as Ragusa has a population of over 120,000. Structural damage suffered during the siege of 1991 and 1992, at the hands of the Yugoslav People’s Army, has been repaired and visitors once again flock to this tranquil city, nestled between the Adriatic and Dinaric Alps. A wealth of sites lies within the walls of the pedestrian-only Old Town.

Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Dubrovnik

Dubbed the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the beautiful city of Dubrovnik offers a wealth of intriguing attractions for you to explore. Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century and has been ruled through the centuries by the Venetians and the Hungarians, each of which have left their mark. The city enjoyed its greatest growth in the 15th and 16th centuries, a fact reflected in the impressive architecture and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Popular for its spectacular seafront location on the Dalmatian Coast, coupled with its evocative and historic Old Town district, Dubrovnik is home to Croatia’s artistic and intellectual elite and offers numerous cultural activities and festivals.

The Old City Walls

The old city walls of Dubrovnik are one of its best-known features, now more than ever thanks to being featured in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones. Built in the 10th century and modified in the 13th and 14th centuries, these formidable walls–as high as six meters in places, and up to six meters thick–provided a solid defense against invaders. Totaling nearly two kilometers in length, Dubrovnik’s city walls make a great spot for a casual stroll and offer numerous excellent views over the Adriatic and inwards over the old city center.

Highlights along the way include the Bokar Tower (Tvrdava Bokar), Fort Lovrjenac, the Revelin Fortress, and the Minceta Tower (Tvrdava Minceta) explained in greater detail below.

Note that the city walls ascend and descend, so the relatively short two-kilometer distance is deceptively hot and sweaty work in the height of summer. If you plan to do the entire route, which is recommended, be sure to start early before the heat of the day. You’ll also avoid a majority of the crowds. The fee to access the walls is surprisingly expensive but a worthwhile investment.

 Walk through Stradun

The spectacular Stradun–also known in Dubrovnik as Placa–is a place where locals and visitors alike gather day and night to watch the world drift by. Undoubtedly one of Europe’s most picturesque pedestrian thoroughfares, the Stradun boasts many cafés and restaurants and is a good spot to get in some shopping, or to rest weary feet after a day touring Dubrovnik.

Measuring 300 meters in length and famous for its white limestone paving, the street dates back to 1468, although many of the surrounding buildings were built in the 17th century after the devastating earthquake of 1667, when most of Dubrovnik was heavily damaged.

The Stradun’s unique homes are designed to enable residential living upstairs and business activities on the main level, and are notable for having their main doors and windows under the same arch.

Just a few steps away from the Stradum on one of the side streets, War Photo Limited is a fascinating photography museum displaying images from the countless armed conflicts mankind has found itself caught up in.

The City Gates

For centuries, Dubrovnik’s famous Pile Gate has served as the main entrance and is still the most interesting access point to this fabulous old city. Formerly surrounded by a moat complete with a drawbridge built in 1537, the pedestrian-only Pile Gate–one of two entrances to the Lapad area–also boasts a pleasant garden in the old moat.

Other highlights include a statue of St. Blaise located in a niche in the arch and carved by famous Croatian artist Ivan Meštrovic, and, within the ramparts, a door dating back to 1460.

Another gate worth seeing is the 14th-century Ploce Gate, just behind the Asimov Tower. Designed as a “double defense” system, it proved effective in times of trouble. Also imposing and located just across the moat from the Ploce Gate is the Revelin Fortress, built in 1580.

Dubrovnik Cathedral and Treasury

Standing on the site of an older cathedral dating from the 6th century that was destroyed by earthquakes, beautiful Dubrovnik Cathedral–also referred to as the Assumption Cathedral (its full name is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, or Katedrala Velike Gospe in Croatian)–was designed in Baroque style by Andrea Buffalini of Rome.

Notable for its three aisles, three apses, and splendid interior décor, the cathedral includes highlights such as paintings by Italian and Dalmatian artists from the 16th to 18th centuries, including the Virgin of the Chair by Raphael from the early 1600s.

A must see is the Cathedral Treasury (Riznica Katedrale) with its many important relics, the most famous being a portion of the cross that Jesus is thought to have been crucified upon. Other famous relics include the head, leg, and arm of St. Blaise, the city’s patron saint, dating from the 13th century, as well as a splendid display of 138 gold and silver reliquaries from around the world.

Address: Opcina Dubrovnik, 20000

 Stroll around Loggia Square

Loggia Square in Dubrovnik has long been a central gathering point for citizens and visitors alike. Featuring some of Dubrovnik’s most famous buildings and public monuments, this former market square is found in the northeast section of the old city center.

Highlights include Orlando’s Column (Orlandov stup), built and designed by sculptor Antonio Ragusino, as well as the famous Loggia of the Bells, dating from 1480 and used as an early warning system by residents in times of unrest.

It’s here you’ll also find the Church of St. Blaise, of interest for its Baroque façade and priceless collection of works of art. Also of interest on the square are a clock tower from the 15th century; the main guardhouse; the small fountain of Onofrio; and Sponza Palace, now home to the city’s archives.

The Large Fountain of Onofrio and St. Saviour Church

Built between 1438 and 1444, Dubrovnik’s famous Large Fountain of Onofrio is probably the best known of the city’s many historic monuments. An easy stroll from the Pile Gate, this landmark structure is somewhat smaller today than the original due to damage caused by the earthquake of 1667. The fountain was an important part of the city’s original water supply system (also designed by Onofrio de la Cava) that carried water from the Dubrovacka river.

The fountain stands immediately in front of the equally attractive St. Saviour Church (Crkva sv Spasa). Built in the early 16th century in thanks for what city elders believed was divine intervention after the city was spared during an earthquake a few years earlier, it is in fact one of only a few buildings to have survived the devastating earthquake of 1667 intact. Today, this small place of worship is well worth visiting for its fine Gothic and Renaissance features.

Address: Poljana Paska Milicevica 2000, 20000, Dubrovnik

Minceta Tower

Located on the city wall system, the impressive Minceta Tower (Tvrdava Minceta) is well worth checking out. Originally built in 1319 and reinforced in 1461, the tower casts an imposing shadow on the old town below. The tower was also one of the major settings for a pivotal scene in Game of Thrones, where Daenerys goes to search for her stolen dragons.

The Minceta tower, located at the north end of the wall system near the Pile Gate, is the farthest inland of all the towers making it one of the best spots to get that perfect shot out over the old town with its wonderful orange rooftops. Be brave and scale the narrow stairways to the top; the flow of visitors can be tricky at times, so pack a bit of patience on your way up.

Take a Game of Thrones Walking Tour of Dubrovnik

Whether your Dubrovnik sightseeing itinerary is on a tight schedule or you’ve got bags of time in which to explore this amazing Croatian city, you won’t want to miss the chance to catch the best bits that appeared in the hit TV show, Game of Thrones.

The Game of Thrones Walking Tour of Dubrovnik is one of the most popular things to do here, and takes in many of the key locations used in the filming of the show. It includes a running commentary from a professional tour guide well versed in both the real and imagined history of the locale in question.

Highlights include getting some of the best views available over the city skyline that many will know as King’s Landing, as well as the historic Fort Lovrijenac, which featured predominantly in Game of Thrones.

Part of the fun is hearing about the behind-the-scenes tales these guides have gathered, and an optional upgrade includes a visit to Trsteno Arboretum, which featured in the show as the royal gardens.

Ride the Dubrovnik Cable Car

Another fun thing to do when visiting Dubrovnik is to head to the hills–via cable car. The Dubrovnik Cable Car whisks visitors high above the Old Town, up Srd Hill, with the views only getting better and better as you climb (on clear days, it’s said you can see for some 50 kilometers). The journey lasts less than 10 minutes, and once deposited at the top, you’re free to explore the area.

Attractions to look out for include the 19th century Imperial Fortress, built by the French during their occupation of the region and now housing a fascinating exhibit pertaining to the Homeland War of 1991-1995, when the city was defended against hostile forces. There’s also a restaurant boasting spectacular views over the Old Town, along with unique shopping, including a fascinating traditional coin minting blacksmith shop.

Address: Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik

Official site:

The Dominican Monastery

Built in the early 1300s, Dubrovnik’s Dominican Monastery was so large that construction required moving parts of the city walls just to accommodate it. Heavily damaged in the 1667 earthquake, the monastery was completely rebuilt in its present form with special attention given to preserving features such as its splendid late Gothic cloister (the original was designed by Michelozzo di Bartolomeo of Florence in the 15th century).

A particular highlight is visiting the monastery’s museum, with its many 15th- and 16th-century religious paintings in the style of the Dubrovnik (also known as the Venetian) School, along with interesting items of gold and silver and other relics.

Address: Ul. Svetog Dominika 4, 20000, Dubrovnik


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