Picking back up where I left off with our Croatian Vacation recap, after Mostar we drove a couple hours to Dubrovnik, Croatia. As I seem to be saying a lot this trip, the drive was LOVELY. Picture perfect. Gorgeous. Amazing. Stellar. Unbelievable.
We stayed in Ivica's Dubrovnik apartment that I found on airbnb.
I have been to many-a-city with partial bits and pieces of walls, but never a town with a completed wall around the entire city. This makes Dubrovnik super unique to me and thus I give this city a 10 out of 10. There's more to this city of course, but this is the most awesome part.
Our walk began in front of the west entrance to the Old Town, the Pile (PEE-leh) Gate. We walked to the edge and could see the Bokar Fortress on the left and the Fort of St. Lawrence across the cove on the right.
Next to the bell tower is the City Hall and Rector's Palace. In the Middle Ages the Republic of Dubrovnik was ruled by a rector (similar to a Venetian doge) who was elected by the nobility. To prevent any one person from becoming too powerful the rector's term was limited to one month. Most rectors were in their 50s - near the end of an average lifespan and when they were less likely to shake things up. During his term a rector lived upstairs in this palace.
We stepped inside the courtyard which is a venue for the Summer Festival, hosting music groups ranging from the local symphony to the Vienna Boys' Choir.
Apple break! | Chris and the kids playing on Onofrio's Little Fountain - the little brother of the one at the other end of the Stradun.
When Fox climbs, Jane tries to climb too. | Statue of Marin Držić (considered the finest Croatian Renaissance playwright and prose writer) who apparently has a lucky nose cuz it's been rubbed raw.
Behind the statue of Orlando is St. Blaise's Church dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik.
There are statues and paintings of St. Blaise all over town, always holding a model of the city in his left hand. According to legend, a millenium ago St. Blaise came to a local priest in a dream and warned him that the up-and-coming Venetians would soon attack the city. The priest alerted the authorities who prepared for war. The prediction came true. St. Blaise has been a Dubrovnik symbol - and locals have resented Venice - ever since.
Looking straight up as we entered St. Blaise.
Inside St. Blaise. | Stained glass.
Inside is a painting from Titian, a treasure with three locks on it (the stuff inside was so valuable three different VIPS: the rector, the bishop, and a local aristocrat, had to agree before it could be opened), and several of St. Blaise's body parts...
Looking down the street to Luža Square from the steps of the Cathedral.
While Jaylie looked for a bathroom, we exited out the East part of the walls to the Old Port, stopping to listen to some singers.
View of Dubrovnik (outside of the walls) from the port.
Lots and lots of boats, red-roofed houses, and people!
Jane sitting on a cannon. | Fox had so much fun finding fish in the water. They were easy to find because the water is clean and clear!
Then we ascended to the town walls - Dubrovnik's best attraction! It's a scenic mile-and-a-quarter walk around the city with a sea of red roofs on one side and the actual sea on the other. There have been walls here almost as long as there's been a Dubrovnik. As with virtually all fortifications on the Croatian Coast, these walls were beefed up in the 15th century when the Ottoman navy became a threat.
We took Rick Steves' advice and entered by the Ploče Gate and Dominican Monastery. This entrance is least crowded and goes up the steepest part first.
Snapshots from our walk around the wall. So so so so so so cool.
We reached the Minčeta Tower that we saw as we were walking in and climbed to the top...
Looking back towards Mt. Srđ and the section of the wall we'd already walked. You can only go counterclockwise and if you exit you can't get back in unless you buy a ticket. We were all in for the full loop!
Across the little cove we could see the Fort of St. Lawrence which worked in concert with these stout walls to make Dubrovnik impenetrable.
That concluded our wall walk! We were starving so we found a little pizza place behind St. Blaise's Church for a late lunch.