Dubrovnik – A Compact Walled City

I have a good look at the Dubrovnik old city using Google Earth. It gives a bird’s eye view of the city and I can zoom onto any part of it, demanding a street view or some detail information about the places of interest. I happily  re-lived my journey using this wonderful tool.

While I am happy with what I find; I also notice that there are not much of vegetation or large open spaces within the old town. Even from a mile up above the city, the whole city seems to be orange color- from the orange colored roofs jam packed together. My trip up the hill Srjd behind the city also confirmed this (see my previous post of Dubrovnik – From a Distance).  I guess that in the past many people wanted protection within the four sided castle walls and fortifications of Dubrovnik. Most open spaces are ultimately utilized for housing people within the confines of the wall. The city finally could not longer grow organically within the confines of the walls ; the city was left with that compressed feel as common for other former capitals such as Toledo, Spain.

The place is built up and gives one the impression of  being “hard”.   As Jan Morris in her “The Venetian Empire” describes  it as . . . .  “A hard city it remains too, to my mind, when you cross the bay and land upon its quay, beneath its high fortifications. It is very beautiful but hard. It lacks the yield or leniency of Venice. Built of a glittering and impermeable marble, enclosed within superb city walls, tilted slightly with the lie of the land and corrugated everywhere with battlements – tightly packed there within itself it has acquired non of the give-and-take of great age, but seems in a way a perfectly modern place, dogmatically planned and didactically displayed to visitors, like a model town in a trade fair.” Indeed, it is a city in which residents have to live under the eyes of tourists all year round.

Here is that street today called Stradun. Once the left side was the edge of the mainland and the right was an island,  separated by a waterway. In the Roman days, they were developed into two towns, the one on the right of Stradun was known as Ragusa and the left the Slavic Dubrovnik.  An extraordinary feat of 12th century civil engineering filled in the water channel and left space for the long Stradun and the wide expanse in front of the Rector’s palace. This is the only wide street in the ancient city where every tourist have strolled admiring at the historical buildings and churches.
Nearby is the Big Onofrio Fountain.  It’s a 16-sided water fountain and is considered a masterpiece of engineering for the early 1400’s. Water fills the basin that surrounds this domed structure through spouts at the center of the decorated emblems. The water that serves it is 20 kilometers away.
While walking on the high walls, we found ourself walking  close to residential buildings.
Some of the houses were destroyed in the civil war of the 1990s and were left there untouched.
Sometimes we are viewing the backyard of people’s houses.
The sun is our best device for drying up clothes. In our several days here, we never fall short of finding examples where clothes and bed sheets were hung from the windows. .
Although the old town is densely built up, it still has a lot of charms and beauty and the views from the Dubrovnik seawalls were just breathtaking.
In our several days in Dubrovnik,  it was hot and the temperatures were almost up to 30 degrees. We passed by this roadside cafe which sold drinks and fruits and decided to take a rest here. The vintage radio reminded us that we were back in time. . . . . . . . . . . .

61 thoughts on “Dubrovnik – A Compact Walled City

  1. I visited Dubrovnik last summer (and it was VERY hot then as well) and totally fell in love with the city. I wouldn’t live there for long, because, as you say, it’s so packed in and full of tourists peering into windows, but I’d love to go back there and stay a while. Thanks for your beautiful post!

    • Croatia has the highest number of hours of sunshine per annum in Europe. If I am to revisit it again, I would prefer spring or autumn. Thanks for the kind comment, Michael

  2. Michael, you’ve been writing great posts on Croatia. I love this one in particular because I’ve always dreamed of visiting such an old town with packed houses with bright-colored roofs.

  3. It’s a truly beautiful town … and romantic. Your photos have captured both. My pick of them are the on from above with the balconies and the small photo in the end with a stair, hanging laundry and flowers – everything talks to me in that photo – that would look good all blown up and framed on one of my walls.

    • Hi adinparadise, they also have a vintage sewing machine which I have been thinking whether to include in the post or not. Things like this made me think I was travelling back in time. Regards, Michael

  4. It’s a fantastic city! I just love it, I have been there last year and it’s a must go! Top destination in Croatia, and also had the chance to visit Split, another wonderful place of this country, that you might consider to travel! Great post and photographs 🙂

    • Hi Gabriel, we have the chance of spending some time in Split, Hvar and Plitvice, they were just wonderful and I have included them in my blog. Thanks for the kind comment! Michael

    • Hi Sarah, the weather was so good that I have taken every opportunity to photograph; I did some night photos too. It was a trip that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks for the comment! Regards, Michael

  5. Absolutely stunning photos! Very interesting descriptions. And I admire you for writing in such perfect English, when it is not your mother tongue (if I have understood you correctly!). Excellent! Have a wonderful weekend, Michael 🙂

    • Hi happyface313, Chinese is my mother tongue and I do not have much opportunity to write in English. Thanks for the encouraging comment and have a great week! Michael

    • Hi lifebythemn, thanks for the kind comment. I am really pleased to learn your feedback. . . . I always wanted to know whether readers feel that they are able to travel vicariously through persusing the blog! Regards, Michael

  6. Pingback: Being Appreciated: The Reader Appreciation Award | Travel. Garden. Eat.

  7. My friend from Croatia really recommends this Dubrovnik. And from your photos, I can see why. I’m already falling in love with the place and I haven’t even been there yet. Thanks for suggesting I look for these posts on Croatia. I really enjoyed “traveling” through your photos! Of course, I can’t wait to visit it personally!

    • Haven’t seen those old radios for decades, I was glad to see it. Bounded by the walls, it is understandable that Dubrovnik have fewer and fewer vegetation as the city grows. Regards, Michael

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