One of the best medieval walled cities in the world, Dubrovnik, Croatia, is located on the Adriatic Sea, and is a wonder to behold. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located at the very southern end of the Croatian coast, and was founded by Greek sailors looking for a place to stop. Dubrovnik’s nickname is the Pearl of the Adriatic, and for good reason. It’s a seaport, with many beautiful buildings, an island in the bay (Lokrum) where Richard the Lionheart was shipwrecked, and several beaches. As writer George Bernard Shaw once said, “If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik.” Tourism is the #1 industry in Dubrovnik. There’s so much to see and do, including the oldest arboretum in the world, ancient walls, orange-roofed buildings, shopping, great food, and more.
- Take a look at one travel writer’s photo essay of Dubrovnik, and then watch Rick Steves share the best of Dubrovnik. What surprises you about this little-known city? If you were to go, what would you do and see first?
- The Walls of Dubrovnik are well-known defensive bulwarks, and were first built in the 7th century (and added to ever since – many invaders have tried to conquer Dubrovnik). They are over 6,000 feet in length, and circle most of the old city. The highest point is over 80 feet tall. There are several towers along the walls – 3 circular towers, 14 quadrangular towers, 5 bulwarks, and St. John Fortress. These walls even survived the earthquake of 1667. There are two gates that lead to the harbor, and two that lead to the mainland. You can walk on the city walls today, with great views of the city and sea. Follow along with one travel writer as she explores the walls, and then watch this video of walking the walls. What are some of the great walls in the world? Why do you think Dubrovnik has escaped such global popularity and overtourism of some walled places (such as the Great Wall of China)?
- The main street in Dubrovnik is called Stradun, and it is an iconic walkway that is recognized around the world. After the 1667 earthquake, Stradun came into its own, as there was a new law specifying how buildings should be constructed. The ground floor of buildings opened onto the street with an arched doorway, and housed a small shop, with a storage room in back leading onto an alley. The first floor housed the living area, the 2nd floor the same, and the kitchen was in the loft to prevent fires spreading (that’s a long walk down the stairs to serve the food!). Explore Stradun with this 360 camera, in different events (doesn’t Candlemas look beautiful?). Reflect upon how cities with architectural standards look today – and how we can’t imagine the cities being different. Is this uniformity worth the hardship – whether earthquake or planned destruction (as in Paris) – that the citizens have to live through?
- Located on Stradun is War Photo Limited, a photo gallery/museum that shares the horrors of war, through powerful images. There are rotating exhibits from war-zone photojournalists around the world, as well as a permanent exhibit on the war in Yugoslavia, which deeply impacted Dubrovnik. It’s important to recognize the impact of war, on both people and the land. Take a look at some photos from past exhibits at War Photo Ltd, and then discuss how people pull themselves back from war. In the video from Rick Steves (above), we heard from a man that took out a bank loan, fixed his bombed house, and now earns money by running a B&B in his home. These small stories are hope personified. Do you know anyone that has lived through a war?