Dubrovnik is a beautiful heritage city along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. Due to its romantic charm, Dubrovnik is widely considered as one of the top 10 best places to be during Valentine’s Day. Dubrovnik has evolved over the last 500 years from a flourishing Port on the Adriatic rivaling Venice in the medieval times to the premier holiday destination of Croatia. A few compelling reasons for visiting Dubrovnik in Croatia are the magical Adriatic experience, Gothic Renaissance architecture, Dubrovnik Summer festival and Caving right inside the Airport!
The most practical way to reach Dubrovnik is to fly in as it is located between the mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Croatia Airlines has daily flights to and from Zagreb and other European cities. The Airport is in Cilipi which is 18 KMs from the city center of Dubrovnik and is connected by Buses and Taxis.
Dubrovnik is an Airport where you can pray your flight is delayed. You can actually do Caving right in the Airport complex! Located under one of the runways is a Dubrovnik cave with stalagmites and stalactites. There are plenty of Bronze and Iron Age artifacts around the cave. There is a guided tour available as well.
The best time to visit Dubrovnik in Croatia is between 10th July & 25th August when the famed Dubrovnik Summer Festival is on. The 70+ open air theatres in Dubrovnik dish out an unforgettable cultural fare of music, theater, opera and dance.
Dubrovnik is one of the few surviving medieval walled cities. The wall around Dubrovnik is one of the finest examples of mediaeval fortification. The walls of Dubrovnik are strenghtened by 3 circular & 14 quadrangular towers, 5 bulwarks, 2 angular fortifications and St. John's Fortress. Infact, no hostile army was able to breach Dubrovnik courtesy these walls. The moat around the Wall was equipped with 120 cannons to keep any intruders at bay.
The credit for Dubrovnik having flourished as a sea port despite periodic aggression from Ottoman Empire to its East and Venice from West has to largely go to these Walls!
Sponza Palace is probably the finest example of Gothic Renaissance style buildings in this part of the world. Built in 1516-1522, Sponza Palace was designed by Protomagister Paskoje Miličević. Sponza Palace served as the seat of the Dubrovnik Republic and housed the mint, bank, treasury, and the armory. A couple of spectacular carvings not to be missed in the back wall are a medal with Jesus' monogram and 2 angels. These were sculpted by the famous Beltrand Gallicus.
During the 16th century, Poets of the Members of the Academia dei Concordi used to meet here and discuss literature. Today the Sponza Palace houses the Archive which has nearly 7000 volumes and 100000 scripts.
Sponza Palace has a critical role to play during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Actors and entertainers arriving into Dubrovnik are greeted at the upper porch of the Sonza Palace by actors impersonating the Rector and the members of the Council Minor.
Located in Fort St John, the Marine Museum is a great place to get aquatinted with Dubrovnik the great Maritime power during 16-18th century. Built in 1941, the Dubrovnik Maritime Museum houses models of ship, flags, guns, weapons, nautical instruments, ship logs, maps, documents and books.
Yachtsmen simply love Dubrovnik. The Dubrovnik ACI Marina is well connected by buses to the city center. There are 450 wet- and 110 dry berths available all year round. One of the best ways to experience the Adriatic is by way of a Dubrovnik bare-boat yacht charter. The menu comprises swimming, sun bathing, snorkeling and great food.
A must do while in the yacht charter is to stop at Island of Mljet, perhaps the most beautiful in the Adriatic. Mljet finds a place in Homer’s Odyssey where Odysseus was holed up with the nymph Calypso for seven years! Mljet is also famous for its vineyards. You will do well to sample the local wine.
Lokrum is the other island worth visiting while on the yacht. The main attraction here is a fortress, botanical garden, monastery and naturist beach. Richard the Lion heart was supposed to have been cast ashore at Lokrum after being shipwrecked in 1192!
Trsteno arboretum near Dubrovnik is one of the oldest in the world. The origin of Trsteno arboretum goes back to the 15th century when a local noble family called Gozze requested ship captains to bring back seeds and plants from their travels. Two noteworthy parks inside the Arboretum are Gothic Renaissance Park and a nineteenth century Neoromantic Park at Drvarica.
Dubrovnik is home to one of the oldest pharmacies in the world! Aptly named as the Old Pharmacy and located inside the Franciscan monastery, it has been operation since 1317.
This travelogue was based on Karthik Perumal's trip to Dubrovnic.
For my travelogues on other heritage sites across the world, visit Great Heritage Holiday Ideas