EUROPE´S MOST FAMOUS CITY WALLS
Welcome to Dubrovnik! One of the most beautiful and famous cities in Croatia. Known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic" or "the Athens of Dalmatia", it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
This beautiful city by the sea has always been a walled bastion and its walls, built in the XIV century, are Dubrovnik´s hallmark. Getting to know the city "from above", from the top of its walls, is one of the best ways to do so. This is why we invite you to take this essential tour, as you will be able to observe the historic centre from another point. You will also have the opportunity to see the famous orange roofs tiles on houses, take countless wonderful photos and admire some of the best shots that have appeared in the second season of the famous series Game of Thrones, which has been watched all over the world and has reached every corner of the planet, making these fantastic views known by people who did not know them yet.
Without a doubt, walking along these walls is one of the city´s main tourist attractions. Thanks to them, Dubrovnik was an impregnable city until the arrival of Napoleon´s army in 1806. They were built in such a way that they were not even affected by the terrible earthquake of 1667. In some sections, they are 6 metres thick and up to 25 metres high, with a total perimeter of 1940 metres.
As there are 3 entrances, you are not obliged to walk the entire 2 kilometres, you can use any of these 3 entries to get in or out, which makes it a highly recommendable route for everyone. For those who have more difficulty walking, it would be suitable, for exam-ple, to enter through the St. Luke’s Tower and descend through the St. John Fortress, as both are very close to each other and next to the Place area. You can also go in through the Pile Gate in the north and go down through one of the other two access-es/exits mentioned above. Fans of the Game of Thrones series will recognise places where different sequences and scenes from season 2 "King´s Landing" were filmed, such as several sections of the walls themselves, the Pile Gate, the Lovrijenac Fortress, or the small bay close to the fortress.
Address: St. John Fortress, Unnamed Road, 20000 Dubrovnik
Pile Gate, Ul. Vrata od Pila, 20000 Dubrovnik.
Depending on the time of the year the opening hours change, so it is recommended that you check. In high season they are open from 08 h to 18 h. The price is 150 Kunas, ap-proximately 20 Euros. Tickets can be purchased at the tourist office next to the Pile Gate.
LET´S TASTE THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF CROATIA
A meal declared intangible National Cultural Heritage? You read that correctly, because the “Soparnik” was declared as such, in 2016 by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Croatian people. It can also be called soparnik, zeljanik or uljenik, but we will use the name Soparnik, which is apparently easier to remember and pro-nounce. It is so famous and important in the country, that we will discover what is all about this highly valued "Soparnik".
Soparnik is a savoury pie, like pizza, filled with chard. It has its origins in Ottoman times and is actually a very simple food that was eaten by the poor at first, and later became popular as one of the meals used during Lent. On your visit to Dubrovnik, you can buy it and have it whenever you are hungry and want something to snack on, either during your walk around Stradun or if you decide to do the challenge we invite you to do in the last tip.
This type of pizza is very famous in the Dalmatia region, so popular that in the town of Dugi Ratk, near Split, a festival has been held every year since the beginning of the year 2000, especially dedicated to this food.
As we mentioned, it is very easy to make, as it is a kind of pizza stuffed with chard. The difficulty in preparing it at home is that we do not have the Croatian ovens called Komin where these delicacies are baked in special oven pans and then, are covered by ashes.
It is best to clean the chard and prepare it the day before so that it loses its water for a few hours and dries well, because if we prepared it with wet chard, the dough would get wet. Once the chard is dry, mix it with the finely chopped onion and parsley, salt and olive oil and leave it to rest so that the aromas come together. Then make the dough with flour, salt, oil and a little water. Prepare two parts in a circle shape, one of them will be the base where we will distribute our mixture of chard and onion and then we will put the other circular dough on top of it to assemble it as if it were a pizza with two layers of dough.
The edges of the dough are rolled up, leaving the soparnik closed on the sides. When it is ready, we put it in the komin (oven) for a few minutes, but if you prepare it at home, you can bake it until you see that the dough is ready. Once it is cooked, it is coated with olive oil and garlic for extra flavour and left to rest. To serve, it can be cut like a pizza and can be eaten as an appetizer or as a starter. The magic of eat-ing it in Dubrovnik, or in any of the Dalmatian cities, is that you will taste the authentic Soparnik cooked in their ovens with embers and that will give it a very special touch.
Dobar tek! Enjoy your meal!
GOING SHOPPING ALONG THE MOST BEUTIFUL STREET IN THE CITY, STRADUN.
The pedestrian street Stradun, also known as Placa, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and most photographed streets in the walled city of Dubrovnik. Whichever way you walk, it will be a must-see at some point or another.
This famous pedestrian street did not exist in medieval times. A marshy canal ran through it separating the city of Ragusa from the village of Dubrava. The reconstruction of the city after the earthquake of 1667 turned this street into the beautiful place it is today.
Entering from the famous Pile Gate, you will come directly into this street, which is only 300 metres long. The first thing you will find on the left-hand side is one of the entranc-es to the famous city walls. On the right, is the famous Onofrio fountain, which is used as a reference and meeting point for tourists and locals. Then, following the way of all kind of restaurants and shops you reach the Church of St. Blaise, Orlando´s Column and the clock tower. Stradun ends at the entrance to the old harbour (Gradska Luka).
In terms of shopping, you will find numerous stores in this street, as well as in the small alleys on either side of it.
In Stradun you will find gift shops with typical souvenirs such as magnets, postcards, dolls in traditional costumes etc. There is also a bookshop with a good variety of books on the history of the country, the former Yugoslavia and the Balkan conflict. On the other hand, there are also stores where you will find gastronomic products such as cheese, sweets, local salt or the famous Dalmatian wines, red wines such as Babic, Dingac or Postup, or white wines such as Pošip. Croatia also produces some delicious brandies, so a good souvenir could be a bottle of herbal liqueur called "travarica" to take home and enjoy while you look at the photos of your trip.
There are also numerous jewellery shops in Dubrovnik selling handcrafted Adriatic coral jewellery, so you will find some truly unique pieces. While it´s worth a look and compare prices, there are smaller, hidden stores on the street parallel to Stradun, possibly with more reasonable prices.
Address: Stradun o Placa 20000 Dubrovnik
OLD TOWN PORT
Dubrovnik or the Republic of Ragusa was for a long period an independent republic that enjoyed freedom and economic splendour despite being one of the most desired cities by both the Venetians and the Ottomans.
Thanks to the efforts and hard work of its inhabitants, was one of the most important maritime forces in the Adriatic and the Mediterranean, which is why we believe that one of the essential photos, for its historical value and the views it offers, is undoubtedly a picture of the old port with the walled city.
Nowadays, the old harbour is the place from where some boats leave for tours along the coast to see the city walls, little boats can take you to the island of Lokrum in front of the city and others go in the direction of the Elaphiti Islands. In some of these small islands there are sandy beaches where you can have a quieter swim than in Dubrovnik. Some of the old fishing boats also leave from the old harbour.
In the pier there are many options for lunch or dinner, with varied and rich options, and the views are unbeatable. At night, the lights and the little boats give it a very romantic touch.
For the best photo of the entire harbour, with the backdrop of the Adriatic and the city walls, we recommend going to the Ploce Gate. This gate was built almost a century af-ter the city gate (Pile) and provides an entrance from the eastern side of the walls. At the Ploce Gate you will again meet the patron saint of Dubrovnik with a model of the city in his hands, and this gate is protected by the Revelin Fortress. From here you will certainly get a beautiful picture of the whole area and the walk will give you another view of the historical centre.
Address: Ul. Vrata od Ploca, 20000, Dubrovnik.
A TRIP TO THE RENAISSANCE WITH MARIN DRŽIC.
In this section we would like you to know a little more about Croatian culture, so we would like to tell you about one of the country´s most famous writers and playwrights, Mažrin Držic.
This Renaissance writer was born in 1508 in the Republic of Ragusa, now Dubrovnik and died in 1567 in the Venetian Republic. He is considered to be the greatest drama-turgist and prose writer of the Croatian Renaissance. The year 2008 was the 500th anni-versary of his birth and the Croatian Parliament declared this year "The Year of Marin Držic".
Some of his most representative and valuable works were written around 1550. Some of them are entitled "Pomet", "Novel od Stanca", "Dundo Maroje" and his best-known play called "Skup" and his comedies are considered true jewels of the Renaissance in Europe, reaching the level of writers such as Lope de Vega or Moliere.
In Dubrovnik you will have the opportunity to visit the House Museum of the country´s most important playwright, opened in 1989 in a house that was next to a church de-stroyed in the earthquake of 1667, where Marin was the rector. This institution allows us to travel back to the time when Dubrovnik was one of the most important Maritime re-publics in the Mediterranean, called the Republic of Ragusa during the city´s greatest cultural and artistic splendour time. The museum house represents the writer´s family atmosphere and immerses us in his works with costumes and objects of that time. A visit to this museum will allow us to travel into the past and go back 500 years at the same time we get to know one of the cultural and literary landmarks of Croatia and Europe.
As a curiosity, years ago a statue of Marin Držic was placed on Luza Square next to the Rector´s Palace in which the writer is seated. Many tourists take advantage of this posi-tion and sit on his legs to take a photo, and most of them are unaware of the importance of this character. It is said that if you touch his nose, it will bring you luck, which is why all the tourists who pass by do so and the sculpture has a completely golden nose.
Address: Siroka ulica 7
ASCENT TO THE SRD MOUNTAIN BY CABLE CAR OR HIKING?
In recent years, the climb to Srd Mountain has become one of the must-see places in Dubrovnik, especially since 2010, when the city´s cable car was reopened, making it ac-cessible to everyone.
The history of the cable car dates back to 1969, when it was decided to connect the old town of Dubrovnik with the Srd Mountain. Unfortunately, due to the bombing of the city during the War of Independence in the 1990s, the cable car was largely destroyed, making it impossible to visit until 2010. It was in this year that people had the oppor-tunity to enjoy this magnificent tourist attraction and to "fly" over the city of Dubrov-nik. The Dubrovnik Cable Car stop is only 10 minutes from the Pile Gate or less than 5 minutes from the Ploce Gate.
When the funicular railway was closed, the mountain was still visited, as there has al-ways been the opportunity to climb this high place to enjoy the indescribable views. In this case, the challenge we propose is for the intrepid, adventurous, sportsmen, nature lovers or simply those who are used to hiking and breathing fresh air and need to stretch their legs and take a walk in a natural environment away from the mass of tourists. There is a trail called "Staza Prema Utvrdi Imperial" which starts at the Jadranska Cesta about 20 minutes from the tourist office at the Pile gate from where we take Ulica Zim-edu vrta street and at Ulica Zrinsko Frankopanska street we turn right, until we reach Ulica Gornji Kono which leads us to Sumetska Ulica which leaves us practically at the Jadranska Cesta where this beautiful trail begins. The path is practically signposted and it is a zig-zag path of less than 4 kilometres that takes us directly to the top of the Srd mountain.
For those who decide to do it, we must remind you to bring comfortable shoes, a drink and snacks. The afternoon is a perfect time to do it (be careful with the heat in summer) as from the top you will enjoy a spectacular sunset over the walled city and a very com-plete view of the Adriatic Sea together with the island of Lokrum.
Another suggestion is to take the cable car up and walk down. Do you dare?
Dubrovnik Cable Car: Ulica Kralja Petra Kresimira IV. Dubrovnik. Check opening hours at the tourist office.
Start of the hiking route - Staza Prema Utvrdi Imperial: Jadranska Cesta 4. Dubrovnik
THE RELICS OF SAINT BLAISE
Croatia is a very small country in size but in reality, it is a giant in terms of culture and monuments. Proof of this are the 9 places declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is also one of the countries in the world with a long list of UNESCO Intangible Cul-tural Heritage Sites, such as the Two-part singing and playing in the Istrian scale, the Sinjska Alka, a knights’ tournament in Sinj, gingerbread craft from northern Croatia, silent circle dance of the Dalmatian hinterland, the Klapa, the Mediterranean diet and many others.
The festivity of St. Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik, also has the honour of being de-clared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. This festival includes the eve or feast of Candlemas on 2 February and 3 February, when the relics of the saint are carried around the city in a very special ceremony. Saint Blaise is one of the most fa-mous figures of the Dalmatian city to whom we dedicate this space. The inhabitants of Dubrovnik have been venerating St. Blaise since the X century, as according to tradition it was St. Blaise who helped the population to safeguard their freedom from the hands of the Venetians. Since then, this patron has been a symbol of peace and freedom, and he is often depicted holding a model of the city in his hands (see the entrance to the Pile Gate).
There are two emblematic temples worth visiting. One is the St. Blaise church (Cvrka Sveti Vlaho), built in 1715 and considered one of the jewels of the city´s baroque style. Entrance is free, although it is only open for the celebration of Holy Mass. The other one is the Katedrala Marijina Uznesenja or Cathedral of the Assumption where you will admire the relics of Dubrovnik´s patron saint. This harmonious Baroque building was built between the XVII and XVIII centuries. From the outside, its blue dome stands out from the rest of the orange-red roofs as you walk along the city walls. Inside, the Treas-ury of the Cathedral stands out, which still conserves the relics of the patron saint, San Blaise. Among the relics are the skull, whose reliquary has an imperial Byzantine crown shape, and the right leg and arm. Admission is free, but there is an entrance fee to enter the Treasury.
A curious fact for fans of the Game of Thrones series: do you remember when Jaime Lannister returns to the series in season 6 with only one hand and a custom-made golden arm was forged to him? It could be that the directors and scriptwriters of the series knew the story of Saint Blaise and even visited the Cathedral and its relics, perhaps they were impressed by the story and this patron saint has inspired them for the character of Lannister. Who knows!
The old town of Dubrovnik is within the city walls and considering that the perimeter of them is two kilometres long, it is quite manageable and easy to visit as the main monu-ments are located around the main street Stradun.
As soon as you enter through the city gate or Pile Gate, you will see one monument after another: the Onofrio Fountain, the Franciscan Monastery, the Sponza Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the Rector´s Palace and the Cathedral of the Assumption. Once visitors have seen these places, they think they have seen the Pearl of the Adriatic, but we be-lieve that Dubrovnik has hidden little streets and less crowded places that are worth seeing. This is why, we invite you to take a stroll through the less crowded streets of this World Heritage City and discover little treasures that will make you enjoy your stay in this Croatian jewel even more.
To guide ourselves, we will start at the entrance to the old city from the Pile gate, once we are in Stradun street and we have left behind the Franciscan Monastery, where there is one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, we will turn left to enter the Ulica Od Sigurate street. In front of us we will have a street that we must go up through its steps to reach the Prijeko ulica which is parallel to Stradun but in the upper left part of the walled enclosure. In this road we will find numerous restaurants, we can continue along it until the end enjoying the views that it offers in each of the narrow lanes that descend to Stradun or those that go up to the highest part of the wall, at the end will find the St. Nicholas Church. Before you get there, on Zudioska Ulica street you will find the old Synagogue, as this area where you are walking was once the site of the Jewish quarter. When you reach St. Nicholas, you can go down the stairs and you will be arriving at the Sponza Palace. From here you take Ul. Pred Dvorom St., which leads to the Gundu-liceva poljana vegetable market before the Cathedral, and then take Josipa Juraja Strossmayera St., which runs parallel to Stradun. You will discover all kinds of houses, restaurants and small shops until you reach the Ethnographic Museum and the house-museum of the playwright Marin Drzic. From there you will take Siroka St., which will take you back to the famous Stradun and you will have discovered a different Dubrov-nik. A different way of getting to know this lively and touristic city.
Addresses: Pile Gate – Stradum – Prijeko ulica – Synagogue (Žudioska ul. 5) –St. Nich-olas Church (Zlatarska ul. 15) –Sponza Palace (Stradun 2) - Ul. Pred Dvorom – Gundu-liceva Poljana Market - Josip Jurja Strossmayer – Ethnographic Museum (Ul. od Rupa 3) –Marin Drzic House (Široka ul. 7) - Stradun
A BREAK ON THE CLIFFS OF DUBROVNIK
A break at the wonderful Buza Bar. Although this bar is one of the most sought after and expensive in the city, we highly recommend you visit it because the views are breath-taking. Years ago, it was more unknown but over time and good publicity has become one of the places where it is difficult to find a spot to take a break, either during the day or at night, it is certainly one of the sites worth visiting.
This bar has an exceptional location on the cliffs of the Dubrovnik city walls, where the tables and chairs are laid out to take advantage of every little space on these terraces, with the incomparable backdrop of the city walls behind us and the Adriatic Sea in all its splendour. The place is idyllic and open all day long. If you bring your towel and bathing suit, you can take a dip in the sea, as there are access points for those who wish to dive into the crystal-clear waters.
If you have decided to take a tour of the walls at some point you will notice which bar we are talking about and exactly where it is.
It may be a bit difficult to find the entrance as you have to walk through the streets be-hind the Assumption Cathedral and the bar is not signposted. Look for the Church of St. Ignatius which is famous for its staircase, then follow Od Margarite Street until just before you reach Od Kastela Street, follow the walls and look for a small gate which leads to the Buza Bar.
Address :Buža Bar: Crijeviceva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik.
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