I remember wanting to visit Dubrovnik even as a teenager. I was a well-read child (quelle surprise) and somehow even in the 1980s I was well aware of it. As a near adult, Dubrovnik hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yugoslavia was falling apart and the majority Serbian population were doing their best to bomb, blast and massacre everyone who wanted to leave their federation.
It seems hard to believe now as you walk around this amazing city that the majority of buildings here were damaged or even destroyed. The city is as ancient as it is beautiful, established theory has it that was founded in the 7-8th centuries though modern opinion is that it is much older and was possibly a trading post of Ancient Greece.
Dubrovnik is overshadowed by the great mount Srd which is 1350 feet or 412 metres tall. It used to be heavily wooded with oak trees though sadly the war destroyed most of these. The Croat word for Oak is Dub, hence Duvrovnik. Dubrovnik has always been a trading city and one passionate about freedom and liberty, it ditched soavery around 500 years ago.
As beautiful as the city is, it may have been even more stunning if not for some pretty devastating earthquakes over the centuries but even so, it is still an incredible place. It has some pretty solid looking castles, fortresses and impregnable looking walls as Dubrovnik has always been desired by neighbours and the city had to find a fine balance at playing off the trading super power of the Venetians with possibly the biggest power in the world for some time, The Ottoman Empire who conquered most places from Arabia and North Africa to the walls of Vienna in Austria.
George Bernard Shaw said “those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.” He called it “the pearl of the Adriatic”. Very far sightedly for a member of the Soviet Warsaw Pact, the city was entirely demilitarised in the 1970s so that it would never become a military target. As we know sadly, Serbia and Montenegro did what Russia, The Ottomans and even Napoleon never dared to do, they deliberately targeted this beautiful city.
More on this in a later post but as you can see, they failed and the opposing commander was jailed for 7.5 years for crimes against humanity for actions he admitted were shameful.
Many people would recognise Dubrovnik as being the setting for Kings Landing from Game of Thrones from season 2 onwards and I find myself having these weird geeky flashbacks but really Dubrovnik should be on everyone’s must-see list for all the other reasons.
As with my budget £30 flights, I found plenty of places on Airbnb from about £13 a night so you can see it doesn’t have to be expensive. I remember at University once, I had to read a 500 page and very dry history book on Algeria just to find one sentence… It was somewhere around page 434. The historian Edmund Burke theorised that French North Africa started on a one-way street towards independence when the poor farm workers or Fellahin had been given the odd lift on a farm truck, after which how could they ever go back to walking 15 miles to work every day. I feel that is me with Business Class flights 🙂
Dubrovnik is very popular with cruise ships and many trip advisor reports complain of the city and sights being packed out. Being here in November there is nothing but locals and deserted streets. It’s still 22c 74f degrees and very sunny. I never really understand why people take foreign holidays in the summer when everywhere, even the U.K is hot or very warm. Go in winter people and enjoy bargains and hotspots all to yourself.
Anyway, from tomorrow I will post regular Dubrovnik posts for a few days with plenty of photos but here are just a few tasters.