Dubrovnik, in Croatia, is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. Its origins are disputed, but it’s thought that it may have been founded by Greek sailors in about the 6th or 7th centuries. During the Middle Ages, it developed as a maritime trade centre, and was an independent state, under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. Later, it became part of the Austrian-Hungarian ‘Hapsburg’ Empire, and when that fell in 1918, Dubrovnik was incorporated into the newly formed kingdom of Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia, under the name of Yugoslavia, which became a Communist state.
Just over 20 years ago, war broke out between the newly independent states of Croatia and Serbia, and Dubrovnik was under siege by Serbia for over 9 months. The city was shelled and over 50% of its buildings were damaged. Most of the damage in the Old Town has now been repaired, although in some lights, the newer roofs can be spotted because of their brighter colour.
|The main street n the Old Town|
I was only in the city for the day, and we had a tour guide who rushed us round from place to place in temperatures of over 90F. The sun reflects off the marble paving which makes it even hotter – so my main memory of the city is the heat. Nevertheless, there were several interesting buildings and churches, and off one of the streets were a dozen or more narrow and steep cobble-stepped streets, which look to have been unchanged for centuries.
|One of the stepped streets|
After our trek around the main sights, it was good to take a boat trip around a nearby island in order to cool down, and also to get a good view of the medieval walls which encircle the Old Town.