I feel it almost unnecessary to describe the old town of Dubrovnik – it is that well known and too amazing for words, but I will have to give it a quick introduction and let the pictures do the talking. Being such an ancient city, I would like to add just a little bit of the history that is relevant if looking at the pictures.
Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. The incomprehensible damage done again in 1991-1992 by armed conflict with the Serbians, is what got me stunned! How on earth and why you would in this day and age bomb your neighbours and targeted a UNESCO world heritage site is beyond me! That to me is just insane!.
The evidence is clear in the pictures of the old city. The bright orange-brown roofs are the bombed damaged roofs that has been replaced, where the few dull brown once left are the original roofs. The picture that I have taken of the scale of damage indicates the enormity of it very clearly. The little triangles showed the bombed damaged houses and the circles the direct hits that pretty much wiped out the building.
In spite of the damage done in the past, Dubrovnik remains a remarkably well-preserved example of a late-medieval walled city. The monumental gates to the city and the Town Hall (now the Rector’s Palace), dates as far back as the 11th century! The evidence founded in excavations indicate that Dubrovnik originated from before the 6th century AD.
As we start walking around the old town on its smooth cobblestone paths amongst the fabulous old buildings, oozing detail and character and then up onto the wall to see the city from above, it became clear that it is a living city, with houses and hotels and restaurants and businesses like you would find in any other dwelling. That is what makes it so wonderful. It is not a museum or only a tourist attraction. People live there and the old churches are being used daily.
The view from the wall surrounding the old city is to die for! It feels like you are part of a documentary of medieval times – it is astonishingly beautiful and intriguing at the same time. You cannot help to stare at alleyways and the town square and wonder what kind of activities would have taken place 900 years ago. How they would have dressed and go about their daily rituals. Imagination running wild as we walked around the compacted medieval town.
The second time round, we had Yvonne, Gayle and Quinton, friends of ours from South Africa with us and we went to probably the most amazing setting for a drink or sundowner that I have ever been to! It is on the side of the old city wall…wedged into the steep rocks, overlooking the sea and the little islands around it with turquoise blue waves bashing the limestone rocks 40 meters below us! A magic view to sit and watch the sun set over a glass of wine!!
A day later, we went around from Cavtat to the ACI Marina in Dubrovnik for a day, to get the port water heater checked out, that was leaking. The result was that we need a new one! We got it all replaced and restocked the boat for a short trip out to start exploring some of the Dalmatian Islands.
The ACI Marina in Dubrovnik would be the most spectacular marina that we have stayed in! It partly incorporates an old 14th century estate with its wonderful old Mansion now housing a few speciality shops like the beauty parlour, hairdresser, masseuse etc with a lovely garden and vineyards only on small scale still around it. On the other side of the marina, two wonderful old churches and a mausoleum and cemetery on the hill is forming a perfect backdrop for the picturesque marina.
The rest of the surroundings have typical medieval time houses around with lovely walkways all around the marina on the shore side passing beautiful rosemary and lavender flower beds. I can just imagine the display of purple once summer arrives! A majestic bridge (the Franjo Tudman Bridge – a cable-stayed bridge) makes for a perfect entrance to the marina! What is even more convenient, is that buses are running up and down to the city and old town Dubrovnik every 15 min and are departing from the marina entrance! It is a scenic 15-20 min drive for the price of less than $2 per hour no matter where you are going or how many buses you are using to get there! A brilliant service!
One thing about Dubrovnik that I need to mention to anyone that would like to visit it: it does not matter where you stay…even 10 km way from the old town… it has a wonderful very reliable and regular cheap bus service that take you everywhere in the city! Don’t spend a money on accommodation just to be close to the old city! There are plenty other options that will be as convenient!