Over the centuries people have tried to put their finger on what it is that makes Dubrovnik special. “The pearl of the Adriatic” wrote George Bernard Shaw. Which he followed with “Those who seek paradise on Earth should come and see Dubrovnik”, yes Bernard we understand your sentiment. More recently we’ve heard “The Mediterranean as it once was” and “A city for all seasons.” Try as we might to express Dubrovnik through the power of words alone is an unforgiving task. This is a destination and a city you need to see, to feel and to live.
Dubrovnik, at the far south tip of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, is a historic walled city that enchants visitors with culture, architecture, tradition and beauty. Formed in the 7th century, the city was a Republic for centuries and its people are rightly proud of their roots.
With its diplomacy and maritime strength, the Republic prospered for almost five centuries and even today these noble beginnings can be seen. In 1979 Dubrovnik was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The walls that imposingly encompass the entire Old City run unbroken for just over a mile. Over the years their role has changed, whereas in the times of the Republic they were designed to protect, today they offer visitors panoramic views over thousands of terracotta roofs. In 2012 alone almost 800,000 tourists walked the walls making them the most popular tourist attraction in Croatia.
Walking through the Old City of Dubrovnik you have the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time. Cobbled streets, a labyrinth of tiny passages, historic buildings, grand churches and an old port, all kept safe and sound by the city walls. This is not a museum, far from it; the exquisiteness of Dubrovnik is that it is a living, breathing city. The Stradun, the main street through the Old City, runs as straight as an arrow through the heart of the city and was, and is still today, the main meeting place for the city’s inhabitants.
Modern day Dubrovnik owes much to its rich heritage and delights guests with its vibrant feel and traditional values.
Tourists from all over the world flock to this international city, with its favourable Mediterranean climate, breathtaking natural landscapes and laid back way of life. For there is no need to rush here, Dubrovnik is about taking the time, taking the time to talk with friends, to relax over a coffee, to unwind on a beach and to let Dubrovnik wash over you and wash you away to a time long forgotten, a simpler time. Unique is just too small a word. Come and see for yourself, make your memories in Dubrovnik.
Mark Thomas – Bio
Mark was born and raised in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He writes for numerous publications, mostly on his second home, and spends his time travelling Croatia discovering its hidden gems. He is the editor of an English language newspaper in Dubrovnik as well as writing for his website An Englishman in Dubrovnik. He jumped, feet first, into life in Dubrovnik, which puts him in a unique position to compare and contrast the two societies.