Dubrovnik is one of world’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities. The walled city center is called Old Town. It’s filled with medieval streets and historical monuments set in a sun-kissed Adriatic setting making it a perfect Vino con Vista destination. In 1979, the old city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Hit once by an earthquake in 1667 and then again by the bombardment of 1991, Dubrovnik still has preserved its architectural harmony. The entire Old Town is under UNESCO protection.
I love the Medieval Walls of Dubrovnik. You can sign up for a City Wall Walk where you will stroll along 1.5 miles of medieval stone walls that encirvle Old Town. The main entrance is the Pile Gate that originally had a drawbridge to keep out invaders. Above the gate is a statue of Saint Blaise the patron saint of the city. His significance is similar to that of St. Mark the Evangelist to Venice.
Once you are inside the entrance, follow the the main pedestrian walkway called the Stradun, Dubrovnik’s Stradun crosses the city from the Pile Gate on the west side to the Rector’s palace, the bell tower and Orlando’s column on the east side just beside the port.
Situated on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, and palaces. Some of the impressive monuments of Dubrovnik include: St Blaise’s church is Dubrovnik’s cathedral, the Rector’s Palace, the Sponza Palace, the Dominican monastery and the Franciscan monastery.
Top: old city of Dubrovnik, Second left: Sponza Palace, Second right: Rector’s Palace, Third left: city walls, Third right: Dubrovnik Cathedral, Bottom: Stradun, the city’s main street
Dubrovnik’s most beloved church is St Blaise’s church, built in the 18th century in honor of Dubrovnik’s patron saint. Dubrovnik’s Baroque Cathedral was built in the 18th century and houses an impressive Treasury with relics of Saint Blaise.
Here are some more pictures of the Cathedral:
The HBO series Game of Thrones used Dubrovnik as a filming location, representing the cities of King’s Landing and Qarth. Many Game of Thrones market scenes take place near the Dominican monastery. St. Dominic Street is where the Gold Cloaks kill one of King Robert’s illegitimate sons, it’s also where Tyrion and Bronn witness a protest speech in season two. In season five, Cersei Lannister will walk naked through this street, as a sign of penance.
Old City of Dubrovnik
The Neapolitan architect and engineer Onofrio della Cava completed the aqueduct in Dubrovnik with two public fountains in 1438. Close to the Pile Gate stands the Big Onofrio’s Fountain in the middle of a small square. Water jets gush out of the mouth of the sixteen mascarons. The Little Onofrio’s Fountain stands at the eastern side of the Placa, supplying water the market place in the Luža Square. The Big Onofrio Fountain is pictured below.
Visit the Dominican Monastery (built in 1301) to see a fine collection of Renaissance paintings. The city’s Dominican Monastery resembles a fortress on the outside but the interior contains an art museum and a Gothic-Romanesque church.
Paintings, triptychs, silver church vessels, and a reliquary purportedly containing the skull of King Stephen I of Hungary are part of the museum’s rich collection.
Especially notable among the paintings is ‘St Mary Magdalene, St Blaise, the Archangel Raphael with Tobias and the kneeling Donator’ dressed in black (shown below). It was painted by Tiziano Vecellio around 1550. After several repairs and an attack on the painting during 19th and 20th century, this valuable work was properly conserved in the Zagreb workshop of the Croatian Conservation Institute between 2001 and 2006. There is also a 16th-century Annuciation by Niccolo Ragusino of the Dubrovnik school.
Like so many buildings in the city, the monastery was extensively rebuilt after the earthquake of 1667. Over the centuries, the monastery has played an important role in cultural activities in the city.
Festivity of Saint Blaise, the patron of Dubrovnik was Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
February 3rd is the feast of Sveti Vlaho (Saint Blaise), the city’s patron saint. Every year the city of Dubrovnik celebrates the holiday with Mass, parades, and festivities that last for several days. Parish banner bearers flow into the city in folk costume for the festival, a procession attended by bishops, ambassadors, civic leaders, visiting notables and the people of Dubrovnik.
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The evening before the festivity of Saint Blaise in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as all the church bells in the city ring and white doves are released as symbols of peace, worshippers gather for a ritual healing of the throat to preserve them against illness.
“The festivity embodies many aspects of human creativity, from rituals to folk songs, from performance to traditional crafts (including the making of the historical weapons fired in celebration). The ritual dates back in some form to at least 1190 and has reinforced a close identification of Dubrovnik’s residents with the city’s patron, Saint Blaise. Over time, the festivity has evolved as Dubrovnik and the world have changed. Each generation adapts it slightly, inspired by its own ideas and needs to make the ritual its own. On Saint Blaise’s day, Dubrovnik gathers not only its residents, but all those who pay respect to tradition and the right to one’s freedom and peace.” UNESCO
Follow my posts to learn more about my globe-trotting adventures.