Dubrovnik: Travel Information and Pictures

 

Dubrovnik: Free Pictures and Travel Information
The beautiful city of Dubrovnik, shown here in these sun-drenched pictures, is one of Europe’s most stunning travel destinations. The images capture the ancient stonework architecture and extensive vistas which makes this town, lying on the coast of the Adriatic in the southernmost tip of Croatia, such a hit with tourists. The photos celebrate the bustling harbour nestling below the mighty walls of the old town, and the magnificent buildings which attract so many film makers. Fans of the popular Netflix series Game of Thrones will be in for a treat! Tourism is now central to the economy of the city and in 1979 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can get to Dubrovnik by land, sea or air, but what you cannot do is arrive by train as the city is not connected to any rail network (it used to be connected to Split by narrow-gauge railway, but that was a long time ago!)

You are most likely to fly to Dubrovnik, depending upon your starting point. It may even prove cheaper than driving from Zagreb. Many budget airlines also run flights from Northern European airports. There are no direct flights from North America, but good deals can be found by changing in the UK or Germany. The airport is located 20km south-east of Dubrovnik at Cilipi, with inexpensive transfers by bus, or you could use a taxi.

If travelling by road you will probably use the coastal road which runs South through Split and goes on past Dubrovnik to Montenegro. Driving this way to the town is a substantial 3½ hour journey from Split, along a spectacularly scenic and occasionally unnerving road. From Zagreb you would need to allow at least 7 hours. A new motorway is under construction, but its reaching Dubrovnik still seems a long way off.

Dubrovnik is a popular destination for cruise companies. Many cruise ships stop at Gruz port, which is only 3 km from the old town and the companies offer a 10 minute transfer by bus. Taxis are also available. If you are coming from southern Italy there is a ferry service from Bari, Spring to Autumn only.

History
The town was originally said to be founded, and named Ragusa, by refugees fleeing the Slavic invasion of nearby Epidaurum in the 7th Century. An alternative theory claims that it was founded by Greek sailors as a half-way port between the Greek colonies of Budva and Korcula.

Whatever its beginnings, it soon came under the control of first the Byzantine Empire, then that of Venice, followed by the Kingdom of Hungary. From the mid-1300s it developed into one of the principal maritime mercantile powers of the region.

In 1806 the city surrendered to Napoleon following a naval siege during which 3000 cannon balls had fallen upon the city. Following the fall of Napoleon, Ragusa was sunk into the chaos of the Habsburg Empire which muddled along for the next hundred years until its final collapse in The First World War.

In 1918 Ragusa was officially renamed Dubrovnik and subsumed in to the Kingdom of the Serbs. Following Nazi occupation in WW2, Dubrovnik became part of communist Yugoslavia with Marshall Tito’s victory. Dubrovnik suffered once again with the violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. More than half the city was damaged, largely due to artillery shelling. By 2005 however the damage had been almost completely repaired, strictly following UNESCO guidelines and the city today has regained its historical beauty.

Sightseeing
There is much to admire, as you can see in the accompanying pictures. A particularly interesting way to get to know the city is to take a walk around the city walls. A full circuit will take about an hour and you can spot the patchwork of colours on the rooftops below, indicating where the shell damage from 1991 has been repaired. The circuit is some 2km long and the walls achieve a height of 25 metres in places. You will notice that the walls are considerably thicker (up to 6 metres) on the side facing inland, highlighting the direction of greatest perceived danger. The sun shines brightly here in Dubrovnik and it is best to avoid the heat in the middle of the day. It is also a good idea to wait for afternoon when the cruise ship tourists have left and you will have a more relaxed walk.

You must wander along Dubrovnik’s main street, Stradun, where you will be transported back in time by the striking architecture, both on the grand scale and the more domestic. Don’t miss the Onofrio fountain, dating from 1438 and still working more than 500 years later! The photograph gives a clear view of its impressive size and shape.

At the Eastern end of Stradun you will find the beautiful St Blaise church, seen here undergoing the refurbishment which has brought it right back to its former glory. Completed in 1715, it was the work of Marino Gropelli, a master-architect from Venice. The external decoration, although restrained, is widely admired. Inside, the treasures include several remarkable statues, most notably that of St Blaise dating from the 15th century, the only surviving relic of the previous church, destroyed by fire.

A particular highlight of the city is the Rector’s Palace. In times past the wealthy and powerful city of Ragusa was ruled by a Rector. He had to have a residence which reflected the importance of the city, and the palace was the result. Repaired and restored several times over the centuries, often as a result of unfortunate accidents concerning the storage of gunpowder, tourists today can admire its mixture of gothic and renaissance architecture. It achieves a harmony most pleasing to the eye, as the pictures demonstrate.

If you like the idea of escaping the imposing main buildings and charming narrow streets of the city, why not take the cable car to Mount Srd? The views of the city, as you can see from the photographs, are magnificent. In fact it is said that you can see for 60km, right along the Croatian coastline and out to the off-shore islands. The cable-car, destroyed by the war in 1991, was rebuilt in 2010 and now whisks you to the top of the mountain in less than 4 minutes! It’s a lot better than attempting to walk up in the midsummer heat!

Dubrovnik has luxury hotels to match those anywhere in the world. Why not try the Villa Dubrovnik, set into a cliff with magnificent sea views? Or, for romantic couples, try the Villa Orsino with those unequalled views and the privacy of discreet service, with only 13 rooms. For a stay in a 16th Century building in the heart of the Old Town, look no further than the St Joseph’s Hotel.

For cost-conscious travellers the Hotel Adria is well-regarded, located in Gruz 2.5km from the Old Town. If you are after hostel accommodation, Hostel 365 for U is a similar distance away and has the benefit of air-conditioned rooms. For those keen on camping there are many sites in the surrounding area, Autokamp Kate just down the coast in nearby Mlini is well-regarded by visitors, with good public transport to Dubrovnik by bus and also by boat.
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